Sunday, June 19, 2011

HRP launch in PD disrupted by authorities

The police and local council personnel have failed to bring down a canopy set up by the HRP but party leaders expect more harassment before the official launch this evening.

PORT DICKSON: A Human Rights Party (HRP) event in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, was today disrupted when local council officers and the police “raided” the venue and ordered its members to disperse.

However, HRP leader P Uthayakumar said despite the “harassment” by the authorities, the Indian-based party would continue with the event, which is the official launch of HRP’s Teluk Kemang operations centre later this evening.

At about 11am, some 20 police personnel and local council enforcement officers arrived and told the HRP leaders to dismantle their canopy that was being set up at Batu 2 1/2, Jalan Seremban, Port Dickson.

However the HRP members managed to stop the enforcement officers from tearing down their event tents.

Uthayakumar said the authorities have backed out for the time being but were still in the area. He expected the authorities to continue to harass the HRP event during the official launch at 5pm today.

“The police are still here with M16s and some 30 of their plainclothes personnel, saying we don’t have a permit eventhough our Negeri Sembilan HRP chief P Sivakumar applied for it and was rejected without reason.

“Just opposite the road there are food stalls operating without permits,” said Uthayakumar.
He said HRP members told the authorities that they would call off their event if the enforcement personnel took action against at least one illegal food stall operator.

“However, it’s clear that we’re being harassed here. Why? Because we are going to contest in Port Dickson in the coming general election. This is one of our front line seats in the 13th general election. This is our first major presence here.

“And Barisan Nasional is afraid of us… seeing us as a threat to the political equilibrium. BN fears Negeri Sembilan would fall to the opposition,” he said.

Uthayakumar said the yet-to-be-registered HRP has set up GE13 operations centre in Kedah (Lunas), Penang (Prai), Perak (Buntong), Selangor (Kota Raja), and Johor (Tebrau).

“In Perak, we willingly complied when the police stopped our speeches midway and physically stopped our official launch.

“But today, we won’t back down until the launch at 5pm. If they come to stop us, we will not give in because it is our right to assemble peacefully without harm under the Federal Constitution,” said Uthayakumar.

Hindraf: End religious ‘persecution’

Failing which the government faces the risk of the international community applying sanctions against Malaysia, says Waythamoorthy.

PETALING JAYA: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, an NGO in overdrive since late 2007, wants Malaysia to end all forms of religious persecution in the country or incur the wrath of the international community on the issue.

They fear that Malaysia will end up as an “international pariah state and outlaw like some other countries run by rogue regimes”.

The NGO warns that religious persecution is a serious offence under the United Nations Charter, of which Malaysia is a signatory, and under international law. Religion should not be brought into the public sphere, it added, to clobber anyone with it.

“This (religious persecution) has been going on long enough in the country and we want to see an end to it,” said Hindraf chair P Waythamoorthy in a telephone call from political asylum in London.
“Enough is enough. Don’t play politics with religion.”

He was commenting on the on-going polemics on the incidence of apostasy (murtad) in the country following conflicting statements from Selangor mufti Tamyes Abdul Wahid and Islamic Affairs Minister Jamil Khir Baharom.

The minister, in particular, has allegedly contradicted himself by telling the press something different from what he told Parliament.

Waythamoorthy refuses to be drawn into the polemics which, according to him, is being politicized by the mufti and the minister.

Instead, the Hindraf chair wants the authorities to buck up on the issue of religious persecution or risk the international community applying sanctions against Malaysia.

“We must not think that it (sanctions) will not happen. It will once the international community decides that the country has lost credibility on the issue of religious persecution,” said Waythamoorthy.

“If enough people in Malaysia stand up on the issue, things could get very hot quickly for the government.”

New umbrella body

Asked for his definition of religious persecution, Waythamoorthy cited, as an example, that the country was not allowing freedom of worship as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

One aspect was “the authorities forcing non-Muslims to embrace Islam against their will when they married Muslims”.

Other examples, he said, were rampant incidents of body-snatching by Islamic Religious Department officials, difficulties in getting official permission to build places of worship, indiscriminate demolishing of places of worship, religious establishments being forced to take down the symbols of their faith and discrimination against one on the basis of faith.

“The worst form of religious persecution in Malaysia is the encroachment of the Syariah Court into the domain of the civil courts,” fumed Waythamoorthy. “The civil courts are the last bastion of civilization in Malaysia.”

Unfortunately, he added, there were too few non-Muslim judges in Malaysia to defend the judiciary from insidious attack by the Syariah Court.

The Hindraf chief conceded that his ad hoc apolitical movement had not been vocal enough on religious persecution in the country. However, he vowed that things will be very different from now on under the UK-based Human Rights Foundation Malaysia which was recently set up to work closely with all human rights NGOs in the country.

“Religious persecution will top our agenda in Malaysia, at the United Nations and in international forums,” said Waythamorthy.

“We have already raised the issue of Islam being imposed illegally on Sabah and Sarawak as the official religion and the Orang Asli Christians being persecuted for their faith.”

Opting out of Islam

Another sore point, continued Waythamoorthy, is the establishment of religious rehabilitation centres all over the country to re-brainwash apostates in Islam and force them to abandon their original faith or reject their new non-Islamic faith.

He reckons these centres as akin to the re-education camps set up by the communists during the Cold War years.

“The Islamic religious authorities in Malaysia are treading the same path as that taken by the communist bloc since 1917,” said Waythamoorthy.

“The Free World would sooner or later have to fight yet another global Cold War, this time against religious intolerance and the lack of respect for democracy, human rights and women.”

The Selangor mufti, Tamyes Abdul Wahid, has since disclosed that many new converts to Islam in the country applied to renounce their new faith and return to their original beliefs once their marriage to Muslim partners fell apart. He denounced the tendency among non-Muslims to embrace Islam only when they married Muslims.

Tamyes was elaborating on Jamil Khir’s recent statement in Parliament, as recorded in the Hansard, that 168 applications had been approved in recent months to opt out of Islam.

Jamil Khir has also been reported as saying by Bernama, the national news agency, that the Syariah Court had not approved even a single case of “opting out” todate. - FMT

Racism in disbursement of gov't scholarships charge

(Malaysiakini) The Human Rights Party has filed a police report in Penang against the government over what it described as "race based" disbursement of Public Services Department (JPA) scholarships, study loans and seat allocation for students of higher learning.

Ganesan Penang Human Rights Party HRPIn his police report, HRP advisor N Ganesan (far left) urged the police to investigate Prime Minister Najib Razak, his deputy and Education Minister Muyhiddin Yassin, Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khalid Nordin, and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz over the issue.

He also urged the police to probe the Umno-led government, especially the violations of Article 8 and Article 12 of the Federal Constitution for denying the Malaysian Indian students of their basic right to education.

"This level of racism, religious extremism and supremacy do not exist in any other part of the world except in Najib Razak's One Malaysia," he told reporters after filing his report at the Jalan Patani police station last night.

Much hand wringing over issue

"Today Malaysia is the most racist and supremacist country in the world," he charged, asking the force to reply to him in writing within two weeks, failing which he would assume the contents of his police report to be true.

Ganesan said the government has committed a "gross abuse of executive power" by not revealing the details of the scholarship recipients', terming it a flawed process of "implementing transparently".

Later, Nazri had reportedly said that there was "no concrete evidence" when the proof itself was a state secret, he added.

He was referring to Nazri's June 14 statement, where he had said "It is the government's policy not to reveal the marks of the recipients to the public to protect their individual rights and privacy."

Nazri added that " there is no further concrete proof of abuse of power in awarding scholarships, looking at the fact that the implementation was done transparently and in order as dictated by the cabinet decision of 14th Jan 2009."

The Malaysian Indian-rights party views the issue of scholarship disbursement and seats allocations in institutions of higher learning for students from the community as contradicting the Federal Constitution.