Monday, February 7, 2011

Malay NGOs to withhold support for Indian leaders

(Malaysiakini)More than 100 NGOs under the Malay Consultative Council (MPM) coalition have vowed not to support any ethnic Indian leader from any political party in general elections after this.

This is because, according to the coalition, Indian leaders and activists have distorted and influenced the government into bowing to threats and pressures over the 'Interlok' novel controversy. 

“This is our first step in spreading awareness of this movement so that Malays do not give their support to any ethnic Indian leader, whether in the BN or the opposition, starting this general election,” said the coalition in a memorandum they submitted yesterday to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Yesterday, MPM and National Writers' Association (Pena) submitted by hand a memorandum each to Najib in Kuala Lumpur in protest against the government's decision to direct that certain parts of the novel, by national laureate Abdullah Hussain, be amended following objections by MIC and Indian NGOs.

Among those present when the memorandum was submitted were Pena president Mohamad Saleeh Rahamad and two steering committee members of MPM, Kamaruddin Kachar and Helmi Ismail.

In the memorandum, the coalition of 138 NGOs - made up, among others, of artists, intellectuals, businessmen, students and teachers - also said it believes following the pressure affected on the government that it would from now on be swayed by all manners of threats and influence.

“This shows how weak the government is, that it has overly compromised with these people to the point of setting aside rational analysis in order to blunt their threats and demands,” said the seven-page memorandum.

However, the coalition insisted, their's is not an incitement to racial hatred but an expression of disappointment with the weakness of the government in cowing to blackmail.

Unfortunately, no action has been taken against those that had burned copies of the Interlok novel and pictures of its author, which they said suggested of sedition, the memorandum read.

Mohamad Saleeh, meanwhile, was reported to have said their requests expressed the "voice of the Malays” and is not ill-motivated or a threat against the government.

“We are only upholding the interests and dignity of the Malays as a sovereign people (pemilik ketuanan), and (the dignity) of this country and land of ours,” Berita Harian quoted him as saying.