Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Anti-Indian Interlok campaign will backfire

Plans by two NGOs to campaign against Indian reps in the coming polls will cost Barisan Nasional dear, says Klang MP Charles Santiago.

KUALA LUMPUR: If the Malay Consultative Council (MPM) and National Writers Association (Pena) go ahead with their plan to campaign against Indian candidates in the 13th general election, then it will be Barisan Nasional which will suffer.

According to DAP’s Klang MP Charles Santiago, since MPM and Pena were aligned to BN, the coalition’s Indian-based parties would receive the worst brunt of the campaign.

“It is the Indian BN parliamentarians who would be more affected, especially the MIC. MIC would suffer more.

“It is the first time that organised groups within BN are going against its framework.

“In the recent by-election, the Malays did not vote Pakatan Rakyat Indian leaders because of the Interlok controversy,” he told FMT.

Santiago was commenting on MPM and Pena’s statements vowing not to support any Indian candidates in the upcoming election.

Their assertions were part of two memorandums which were handed over, albiet separately, to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Both MPM and Pena had reportedly felt that Indian leaders had successfully manipulated and convinced the government to bow to the demands of the Indian community over the Interlok book.

Respect decision

Meanwhile, Hulu Selangor parliamentarian P Kamalanathan, who could not be reached, wrote in his blog that he stood by the government’s decision on the Interlok issue although “it did not please everyone”.

“It is imperative that the leadership makes a decision that is firm, fair and addressed the fundamental role of the government to uphold peace and unity in the nation at all times.

“We are all aware that no decision will please everybody but we must respect and believe in the wisdom of our leaders chosen in a democratic process,” said the MIC man.

Kamalanathan also pledged to serve his constituents “without any bias on their religious, political or social standings”.

Selangor state councillor Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, meanwhile, has called for the issue to be looked at from a Malaysian perspective.

He said it was the responsibility of all races to maintain harmony in the country.

Warning groups not to “play the racial game”, the Selangor state exco member said Indians were not challenging the free will of the author Abdullah Hussein.

Instead the community merely wanted the Form Five book replaced with another one that promoted racial harmony.

The Interlok book has been shrouded by controversy over the usage of the term “pariah”, which is considered deragatory to the Indian community.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had on Jan 27, announced that an independent panel would be set up to amend the book.