Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hindraf-HRP to be neutral in Merlimau

Seeing no difference between Pakatan and BN with regard to the Indian community, P Uthayakumar says a decision has been made to stay out of the contest.

GEORGE TOWN: The Human Rights Party (HRP) – Hindraf Makkal Sakti political axis will take a neutral stand in next month’s Merlimau state by-election.

HRP pro-tem secretary-general and Hindraf legal adviser P Uthayakumar said the stance was adopted due to the indifferent attitude shown by Pakatan Rakyat towards the Indian community.

“We will not participate in the campaign to woo Indians for Pakatan. So long as we are not there, Pakatan will never secure the majority Indian votes,” he told FMT, adding that HRP-Hindraf would never back Barisan Nasional either.

The Election Commission fixed nomination day for the Merlimau by-election in Malacca on Feb 26 and polling on March 6.

The seat fell vacant after the death of its BN assemblyman Mohamad Hidhir Abu Hasaan, 54, on Jan 20. In the 2008 general election Hidhir defeated PAS candidate Jasme Tompang with a majority of 2,154 votes.

Merlimau has 10,679 registered voters consisting 64.69% Malays, 21.11% Chinese, 14.16% Indians and 0.04% others.

Indian support has shifted

Uthayakumar pointed out that the Bagan Pinang, Hulu Selangor and Sunday’s Tenang by-elections showed that Indian support had shifted from Pakatan.

He warned that the trend would continue in Merlimau unless Pakatan worked with Hindraf–HRP.

He insisted that Hindraf–HRP would never work with the Umno-led BN due to its “racist policies and massive discrimination” of the Indian community for the past 53 years.

But he said that did not mean Hindraf – HRP would support Pakatan blindly without securing any political and socio-economic concessions for the Indian community.

He said Pakatan had so far refused to acknowledge the strength of the Hindraf–HRP axis to galvanise Indian support.

Therefore, he said that Hindraf-HRP would continue to work on its own 15/38 political agenda and not help Pakatan to regain lost ground among Indian voters.

“We won’t back anyone in Merlimau,” said Uthayakumar.

Referring to the Tenang by-election in Johor, he pointed out that 62.6% of Indian voters moved from Pakatan to BN.

His calculation was based on balloting results in the Indian-dominated Ladang Labis Timor, in which only 40 voters backed Pakatan on Sunday, a huge dip from 107 in 2008.

He claimed that the Ladang Labis Timor voting trend was a reflection of current Indian sentiments nationwide.

He stressed that only the Hindraf–HRP political axis could check and reverse the trend, as in 2008.

“But Pakatan leaders are not interested because they know we will never become their mandores,” he said, adding that there was no difference between BN and Pakatan with regard to Indians.

“If this attitude continues until the next general election, Pakatan can never end BN’s reign,” he said.