Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hindraf wants two-year ban lifted

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today,

GEORGE TOWN: The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) wants the federal government to lift the nearly two-year ban on the human rights movement. In an open online letter posted today, UK-based Hindraf supremo P Waytha Moorthy said it was time the ban be lifted to allow the movement to address pressing issues pertaining to the marginalised Indian community in the country.

He alleged that the Indians have been subjected to state-sponsored discriminative policies for more than half a century.

He urged Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein to repeal the ban to pave the way for the registration of Hindraf, which was outlawed on Oct 15, 2008.

“Once registered, Hindraf can pursue its struggle lawfully,” said Waytha Moorthy, who left the country during the government crackdown on the movement in the aftermath of a mammoth rally on Nov 25, 2007.

Waytha Moorthy’s Malaysian passport was also revoked by then Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar.

Since then, Waytha Moorthy has been living in London under British political asylum.

He said the ban was ineffective as it did not stop Hindraf from carrying out its social responsibilities and domestic and international campaigns for betterment of the Indian community.

He said that Hindraf was a consistent movement championing and protecting human rights of the community.

Arbitrary power
Waytha Moorthy, a UK-trained lawyer, criticised Syed Hamid for wielding his arbitrary power vested in the ministry under the archaic and draconian Societies Act 1966.

He said although Hindraf had attracted 70% of the poverty-stricken Indians to its cause in a peaceful manner, Syed Hamid had abused his vested power by silencing the movement.

Nonetheless, he claimed that all efforts carried out by the home ministry to curb the movement have been futile.

“Hindraf has grown over the years as witnessed in its recent inaugural national convention,” he said.

Some 1,000 delegates from across the country attended the convention held on Aug 8.

Following two years of international lobbying, Waytha Moorthy said Hindraf was now a recognised human rights movement.

He said the government must accept reality and formally engage with Hindraf to address human rights violations suffered by ethnic Indians.

UMNO: 17 years to get Birth Certificates, 35 years to get I.C and a life time for most of 450, 000 stateless Indians.

No.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245
Website: Email:

Your Reference :

In Reply             : MISC/09/2010

Date                  : 03RD September 2010

(Press Release-03/09/2010)
The Human Rights Party Malaysia’s Proposals to eliminate Statelesssness among the Malaysian Indian poor

The problem of statelessness among Malaysian Indians is a serious problem, not only in numbers, which we estimate could very well run into several hundred thousands, but also for what this continuing problem implies. What has been constitutionally guaranteed has been systematically and procedurally denied to these poor and vulnerable people. This has contributed to their marginalization and continuing dispossession from mainstream Malaysia.

One of the major objectives of Hindraf/HRP is to bring these marginalized Indians into the mainstream of national development and an early and enabling condition for this is the elimination of this endemic problem of statelessness among them. DSC_0160

The main causes, as we understand for this current state of affairs are:

1) Extreme poverty and resultant life norms of the affected.
2) Racial and religious bias in the system that works against them.
3) The complicated and outdated procedures of the National registration system .
4) Birth registrations not handled in a manner consistent with Malaysian Federal Constitution.

Given that understanding of the root causes of the problem we make the following proposals to the Government Department and we hope that they will take this up seriously for implementation.

1) The Government should set up a special unit in the Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara to address this Statelessness problem among the Indians. This unit should  be adequately resourced all the way from field workers to Department Director. Their charter will be to:

a) Identify all Indian Malaysians who do not have a Birth Certificate (BC)
and/or an Identity Card (IC) or have some problems with their status.
b) Create a database of them and establish appropriate programs to clear them one
by one by the 31st of December 2011.
c) Simplify the procedures for applying for delayed BCs and ICs. Make the
process “poor friendly”
DSC_0166 – do not require the applicants to fill out so many forms
- do not require them to provide so much and often redundant
documentary evidence
- do not require them to come to the JPN offices so many times
- do not reject their applications because they did not cross their ‘t’s or
dot their ‘i’s.
- treat them with more respectat the JPN counters and support them
through this process
d) Authorize Senior and respected members of the community to certify birth and parentage where a hospital is unable to do it.

2) Religion, race and marriage should not be made non- Constitutional barriers to birth registrations.

3) Parents must be empowered to decide the religion of their children on the basis of equality of all religions.

4) The JPN or other religious organizations should not impose the Syariah law on non-Muslims. Mixed marriages are one of the major reasons for the stateless Indian problem.

5) Empower this newly set up special unit within JPN to address this problem without interference from any religious bodies.

6) The JPN should upgrade their procedures employing technologies like the National database and DNA profiling. All, that is really required, is for the hospital where the child is born to be made responsible for the registration of the birth. The birth then goes into the national database of births . The birth is registered – a birth certificate should be issued. For deviations from the normal case, like for births at home or for abandoned children – a similar simple enough alternative procedure needs to be established.

7) The Government should extend the e-Government system to cover this crucial need.

8) The Government needs to set up a mechanism to monitor and report on this effort to eliminate statelessness in the JPN website.DSC_0173

9) The special unit in the JPN must be authorized to work with the Health Ministry, the Education Ministry, Welfare Ministry and the Human Resources Ministry to resolve any associated problems pertaining to those Ministries.

These proposals are what we consider a minimum for correcting the problem and for preventing future recurrence of the problem. We hope all this will yield some fruitful results from JPN.

The family we present to you – that of Mr.Thayalan, is but one live example of how this problem of statelessness perpetuates in the country after 53 years unabated, the destructive effects of it on the young, the possibility for expeditious resolution of the situation when there is a will, given that the seven children were issued birth certificates in about 3 weeks from our intervention.

The UMNO led government has ignored this problem for far too long. Now, it is time the government picked up the will needed to resource the effort to eliminate STATELESSNESS among the Indian poor in the country. The Human Rights Party will not let up in its campaign till we see a complete elimination of this problem.

DSC_0175We are taking this campaign nationwide and we will step up the campaign as we go along, unless we see a psotive move by the government on this problem.

On Sunday the 5th September we are gathering 40-50 stateless people in our HRP Perai office to begin the documentation of their application to the JPN for BCs and ICs. We invite all those in the North to come to the HRP Operations Center at 1st Floor, 15 Jalan Perai Jaya 5 ( Along Pacific Mall), Perai from 10.00 amd to 4.00pm . The following people can be contacted Kalaiselvan – 0174107244, Devendran – 012 5409943, Ganesan – 012 480 3284.

For those in the Central region and Southern Region please contact the HRP HQ office NO.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245. Contact Persons – Ms.Jeevita or Mr.Sambulingam – 010-2774096, S. Thiagarajan-019-3085944


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