Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Press statement on HINDRAF March on 27/2/11 and Letter to IGP

IGP REQUESTED TO PROVIDE SECURITY FOR THE 27TH OF Feb 2011 Peaceful People’s March in Solidarity against UMNO’s  racism 

We are planning a march of justice and democratic minded patriots of our country to show our united opposition against the unjust racist system that pervades every aspect of life in Malaysia. This system creates situations like we have on our hands today with the introduction of the Interlok novel into the SPM curriculum.

 On the 11th of February, Hindraf representatives have made an application for a police permit for this People’s March from KLCC to the Dang Wangi Police Station. We have done this even though we consider the Police Act to be contrary and ultra vires the Federal Constitution, so we give the Police no reason to avoid their responsibilities.

Knowing how the Police have responded to such applications in the past, we now feel that the Inspector General of Police has to personally get involved to ensure that the marchers are given the security they need. This is an entirely lawful act and as the senior most public servant in the security service of the nation, he is personally obliged to ensure that no untoward incident occurs during the march. We expect 3rd party agent provocateurs who may be likely employed by UMNO, like the known  3 LINE  and Pekida  underworld gangs and  UMNO’s outsourced  far right extremist wing the Perkasa to cause trouble on the said day.

However if he refuses to do the necessary, we will hold the IGP of Malaysia responsible for any untoward incidents that may occur during the march and he will be liable for negligence in failing to provide protection to innocent civilians protesting peacefully on this first SOLIDARITY MARCH AGAINST UMNO RACISM.

We attach the letter we have sent to him to this effect.

P.Waytha Moorthy

Interlok: Bishop calls for wisdom of sensitivities

(Malaysiakini) There is an urgent need for the wisdom of sensitivity to override other imperatives in the controversy over the literary textbook 'Interlok', said the head of the Roman Catholic Church of Melaka-Johor Diocese.

Bishop Dr Paul Tan, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference, speaking as the bishop of Melaka-Johor Diocese, said a literary text that is commended for the edification of youth in a multi-racial society should adhere to supra-partisan, supra-racial standards and values.

bishop paul tan"By those standards, 'Interlok' won't qualify as a recommended text because there is legitimate cause for concern that it gets its history and sociology wrong," opined Bishop Tan, in comments made to Malaysiakini.

"'Interlok' has got its history and sociology wrong in much the same that a local preacher of the Muslim faithhas got her facts wrong about St Valentine's Day and its supposed connection to Christian lifestyles," he elaborated.

"The ease with which some with a pedagogical role in Malaysian society get their historical and sociological facts wrong is a symptom of the gulfs that prevail and the difficulty that people of goodwill face when attempting to bridge them," he remarked.

"In situations such as this one, if you persist with a text like 'Interlok', you will only freeze people in the mental and cultural ghettoes they find themselves in and as consequence, you will make racial stereotyping easy and the desire to discover the difference between appearance and reality that much harder to promote," he expatiated. 

Novel's subliminal message 

Tan said he found in conversations with Hindu Malaysians a sense of their being selected for cultural and religious pummeling as a consequence of the results of the 12th general election of March 2008.

"There is a feeling that a minority is being specially selected for psychological punishment as a result of the way the vote went in the last general election.

"The book 'Interlok', in its historical and cultural miscues, is seen as a text that was selected for the goal of conveying the message that a subject people ought to compare their current status with the servitude they supposedly endured in the past," commented Bishop Tan.

He held the subliminal message of the novel was that the Indian minority in Malaysia ought to compare their plight in the light of times past and times present.

"This is a highly subjective ethos which is not suitable for the edification of youth who at the school-leaving stage ought to be fed with reading material that projects universal values and themes," he said.

He also said putting one's religion, culture and ethnicity above others goes against all sense of a desire to dialogue, understand and accept others as they are, which is the foundation of the unity of a people. 

For that reason, Bishop Tan said the Education Ministry should reconsider the selection of 'Interlok' as a literary text for Form 5 students and replace it with a choice that elevates rather than estranges our youth.

Malaysia arrests Indian activists over book ban (HindustanTimes)

Interlok 2
Malaysian police arrested 65 members of a Indian rights group who want the government to drop a textbook from the school curriculum over a reference to the caste system, an activist said on Monday. “Sixty-five people were arrested on Sunday inthree states for demonstrating and handing out pamphletsagainst the use of the book “Interlok,” S Jayathas, from the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) said.
“We were detained unlawfully,” he said, adding that police had freed most of the protestors Sunday but were still holding 28 in the southern Negeri Sembilan state.
Jayathas said the arrests will not deter Hindraf from organising a February 27 rally outside the iconic Petronas Twin Towers to demand the textbook is dropped from the curriculum.
A police spokesman said that 59 people were arrested for taking part in an illegal assembly and all had been released on Sunday.
The book is now compulsory reading for high school students in multiracial but predominantly Muslim Malaysia.The Malay-language novel has prompted angry protests from elements of the nation’s Indian community, who say it is offensive.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in January moved to end the row, saying the book will be used in schools but with amendments so as not to hurt the feelings of the Indian community.But the controversy stirred by the book points to the country’s strained race relations.
“Interlok”, written by a national laureate, covers the history of relations between of Malaysia’s three main ethnic groups — Malays, Chinese and Indians — from the 1900s until independence in 1957.
The Malaysian Indian Congress party, the third largest component party in the ruling coalition, has called for the novel to be withdrawn or to remove the passages touching on the caste system and other areas deemed offensive.
The caste system divides Hindus into four main groups according to their work and social status and is banned in India but still pervades many aspects of daily life, especially outside the cities.
Ethnic Indians make up less than 10 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million population and have long complained that they are disadvantaged by policies helping majority Muslim Malays.

Muhyiddin doubts HRP gaining traction from ‘Interlok’

(Bernama) - JASIN, Feb 14 — Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today that attempts by the Human Rights Party to exploit the Interlok novel issue was not getting the support of the majority in the Indian community.

“I see that the attempt by this splinter of Hindraf (the banned Hindu Rights Action Force) to rouse the Indians is not getting support,” he told reporters after meeting Barisan Nasional campaigners for the Merlimau by-election on March 6.

Also present were Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam.

Asked about the arrest of 59 leaders and supporters of HRP in several states yesterday, he said that it was a security matter being handled by the police.

“We understand the problem and we will handle it appropriately,” Muhyiddin said.

Hishamuddin said police had acted professionally and that the 59 were arrested for breaking the law. — Bernama

Surendran: Press Release On HRP Arrests

We are gravely concerned over the arrests of 65 members and supporters of the Human Rights Party (HRP) by police on 13.2.11 for having participated in a peaceful convoy event. These were planned and concerted arrests which took place nationwide and intended to persecute and intimidate HRP members. These arrests are unlawful,oppressive and in breach of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees the Rakyat’s right to freedom of assembly and expression. Once again the government and police have displayed blatant disregard for the rule of law and democratic freedoms.

We are also disturbed that among those arrested were 5 children who were also detained and interrogated by police. This action by police is in bad faith and gross disregard of laws protecting minors. No access to lawyers was granted to any of the detainees including the children. The arrests were also carried out with excessive force and vulgar abuse was heaped upon some of those arrested. It is reported that a Malaysiakini citizen journalist was also assaulted by police.

To make things worse, 24 arrested HRP members are still being held at IPD Seremban simply because they had objected to the unlawful confiscation of their Hindraf Makkal Sakthi shirts. To continue to detain them for this reason is in complete breach of the law and demonstrates the arbitrary conduct of the police.

We call for the immediate release of the 24 persons being unjustly held at IPD Seremban. We call upon the police to release and discharge all of those arrested unconditionally. We call upon the IGP and Home Ministry to respect the Federal Constitution and the people’s right to peaceably gather. We call upon the government to cease using police powers to stifle political dissent and to persecute legitimate opponents of the Government. Finally, we demand that the Government establish the IPCMC immediately to prevent the Home Ministry and police from continuing to abuse their powers. The Malaysian Government must pay close regard to the march of democratic and civilised norms as seen in the great events in Egypt, and cease to trample upon the rights of the people.


‘Racism good for the elite’

The Hindu rights group accuses Umno of manufacturing racism to protect the rich and powerful.

GEORGE TOWN: Hindraf has accused Umno of deliberately fanning racist sentiments to safeguard the interest of a powerful elite made up of individuals of various ethnic origins.

In a strongly-worded statement calling for support for a “solidarity march” on Feb 27, Hindraf Makkal Sakti advisor N Ganesan said racism in Malaysia was “Umno-manufactured” and was being used to the advantage of a rich and powerful few.

“Umno perpetuates racist policies merely to safeguard and enhance the elite, comprising the politically powerful and rich individuals from various ethnic communities,” he said.

The Feb 27 march will begin at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre. It was originally meant to be a show of protest against the use of the controversial novel Interlok as a literature text for Form Five students, but it is now advertised as “People’s March: Solidarity Against Umno’s Racism”.

Ganesan called on “all patriotic Malaysians who are for social justice, equality, democracy, fairness and rule of law” to join the protest.

He said they must leave behind their “partisan minds” and show “defiance and determination to break the stranglehold the greedy elite have on the country”.

“It is time to bury racism in Malaysia and it is time to take the bull by its horns,” he added.

He said Umno fed the Malays with “synthetic insecurities” to enable it to continue with its divide-and-rule policies and that the use of Interlok in schools was the latest manifestation of these policies.

Meanwhile, he added, “the elite just sit back and enjoy”.

He said any nation that was essentially multicultural nation must to be driven by a governance paradigm that appreciated its diverse strengths.

“Do we see that happening in our country? It’s a big no.”

51 Hindraf supporters freed

PETALING JAYA: Fifty-one Hindraf Makkal Sakthi members who were arrested for participating in the People’s March for solidarity against the Barisan Nasional (BN) were released yesterday.

The movement’s pro-tem secretary-general, P Uthayakumar, said the release was carried out in stages.

“The first batch was freed in Ipoh at 3pm, followed by those in Jalan Travers in Kuala Lumpur at 8.30pm and the others at the Gombak and Seremban police stations at about 11pm,” said Uthayakumar.

However, 24 others – 18 men and six women – are still being detained at the Seremban police headquarters.

Yesterday morning, the police moved in to stop the Hindraf 16-car convoy which started in Negri Sembilan, Perak, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, with each convoy ending in another destination in the respective states. The police claim it was an illegal event.

The protest was aimed at Umno and also to pressure the government to remove the controversial Interlok novel from schools.

Among those arrested in the nationwide swoop were the movement’s information chief, S Jayathas, who was detained in Gombak, and four school-going children.

Jayathas had since been released together with the children.

Illegal interrogation

Uthayakumar said that the children, who were released at 12.15am today, were questioned by the police till the wee hours of the night.

“They were interrogated without the being accompanied by their parents, which is illegal,” said Uthayakumar.

He also refuted reports that the police arrested only 59 in the crackdown yesterday.

“According to our records, 75 were detained,” he said.

Uthayakumar also criticised the Seremban police headquarters for not providing medical assistance to Negeri Sembilan Hindraf Makkal Sakthi coordinator, R Sivakumar.

Sivakumar is said to be suffering from viral infection on his feet and his wife had lodged a report on the matter at the police headquarters.

“His wife also told me that Sivakumar’s feet are now swollen and he is unable to walk. However, the police have yet to send him to hospital; they are planning to extend his remand.

“If the police do not release him and the remaining detainees, we will hold a candle-light vigil at the Seremban police headquarters at 7pm today,” said Uthayakumar.

Uthayakumar also said that Seremban police had threatened to extend the remand of the remaining detainees to another seven days if they do not hand in their Hindraf T-shirts.

“The detainees refused to do so as the police had taken pictures of them in the T-shirts.

“The police can use the photographs as evidence in court. There is no need for them to hand over their T-shirts,” said Uthayakumar, who claimed it was an abuse of power.

When contacted, an officer from the Seremban police headquarters, who claimed anonymity, denied threatening the detainees.

“We are following all procedures in dealing with this case,” he said, adding that they have obtained the shirt from the detainees voluntarily.

Hindraf Orange t-shirt Victory Over Racist UMNO Malay-sia Polis Raja Di Malaysia

Photos: Victory for HINDRAF People Power!!!! Hindraf Shirts return!!! 22 HINDRAF activist coming out from IPD Seremban waring Hindraf orange revolution shirt one by one with their head held high!