Abdullah should not just rage
over the Hindraf allegation of “ethnic cleansing” but must pay heed to the
“cry of desperation” of 30,000 Indians from all over the country at last
Sunday’s Hindraf demonstration over the marginalization of the Malaysian
by Lim Kit Siang
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi flew into a royal rage yesterday at the Hindraf
allegation that the Malaysian Government was carrying out “ethnic
cleansing” of the Indians in Malaysia.
Abdullah was referring to a Hindraf memorandum to the British Prime
Minister, Gordon Brown asking for the intervention of the UK government
over the “ethnic cleansing” of Indians in Malaysia.
This Hindraf memorandum to Brown was dated 15th November 2007, the same
day as the demolition of the Mariaman temple in Padang Jawa, Shah Alam,
I did not know about this Hindraf memorandum until I read about it on the
http://rockybru.blogspot.com/, on Monday, 26th November 2007 and I do
not agree with such an allegation. I have no doubt that the overwhelming
majority of the 30,000 Indians who rallied to the Hindraf demonstration in
Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 25th November 2007 were not aware of Hindraf
memorandum to the British Prime Minister and that they would not have
agreed with the term.
Abdullah should not just rage over the Hindraf allegation of “ethnic
cleansing” but must pay heed to the “cry of desperation” of 30,000 Indians
from all over the country at last Sunday’s Hindraf demonstration over the
marginalization of the Malaysian Indian community – political, economic,
educational, social and cultural.
I recommend the heart-searing email by a Malaysian Indian, Ananthi, who is
currently a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford University reflection by the Prime
Minister, Cabinet Ministers and all Barisan Nasional leaders for them to
understand why law-abiding and peaceful loving Malaysian Indians have
rallied in support of the Hindraf demonstration – not over any accusation
of “ethnic cleansing of Indians in Malaysia” but to call for an immediate
halt to the long-standing marginalization of the Malaysians Indians which
have reduced them into a new underclass in the country.
Ananthi did not fully agree with all the things said and done by Hindraf.
She said however that “it would be duplicitous” for her not to support
last Sunday’s Hindraf rally, adding:
“Because I, like many of
you, know that that is not what this rally was about.
“It was about being neglected, about not having a seat at the table to
bargain, about having a national and communal leadership that we do not
trust and is utterly discreditable. It is about saying no to being the
forgotten Indians, and not enough of us in our comfortable houses, those
of us who managed to work the system to our benefit - stood with the other
Indians, who are not so different from us.”
Ananthi’s agony was the agony
of the 30,000 Malaysian Indians from all over the country who congregated
in Kuala Lumpur last Sunday to send a clear and unmistakable message to
the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Parliament and government – which they do not
want to continue to be the “forgotten” and marginalized Malaysians.
It is sad and tragic that a week after the 30,000-strong Hindraf
demonstration, there seems to be neither awareness nor consciousness in
top government circles that this unprecedented and largest gathering of
Malaysian Indians must be treated as a “wake-up” call by the Cabinet and
government policymakers to adopt immediate measures to formulate to a New
Deal for Justice to Malaysian Indians to end their marginalization from
the mainstream of national development.
The government response to the “cry of desperation” of the Malaysian
Indian community to end their marginalization is one so rooted in denial
or so puny that they have only aggravated the sense of alienation and
deprivation of the Indians as a forgotten and marginalized community.
MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said on Thursday that the Prime
Minister had asked the MIC to set up a special committee to analyze and
address socio-economic problems faced by the Indian community. He also
announced that the MIC will set up a hotline as soon as possible to handle
all problems faced by the Indian community.
These responses are so ridiculous and laughable that they only illustrate
the continuing government irrelevance and MIC impotence in ending the
marginalization of the Malaysian Indian community in the country.
Samy Vellu would have set up scores if not a century of committees to
study the problems of the Indian community in his more than 28 years as
MIC President and Cabinet Minister – and if they had been totally useless
in checking the marginalization of the Indian community, how is another
MIC committee going to make any difference?
The whole idea of a hotline to resolve the problem of the Indian community
is utterly absurd as what is needed are structural, institutional and
policy changes in government and nation-building strategies – which no
number of hotlines can achieve.
Tomorrow, the MIC Cameron Highlands Member of Parliament S. K. Devamany is
to appear before Deputy Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional chief whip,
Datuk Seri Najib Razak for his remark in Parliament that the Hindraf
demonstration, which he put at 50,000, reflected government failures in
I had berated Devamany for his Aljazeera interview the day before during
the Hindraf demonstration in belittling and questioning the bona fides of
the tens of thousands of Malaysian Indians who had gathered in Kuala
Lumpur to convey their “cry of desperation” for justice to the government.
I had told Devamany that he should apologize for the contemptuous language
he had used when referring to the tens of thousands of Indians who had
turned up in Kuala Lumpur to support the Hindraf demonstration to prove
that he was not being opportunistic.
However, if Devamany is prepared to stand by his parliamentary remark that
the Hindraf demonstration was proof of the government’s failures in
nation-building and “a cry of desperation” by the marginalized Indian
community which must be heard and acted on by the government, then he must
be supported by the MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and all other
MIC members of the administration – whether Deputy Minister, Parliamentary
Secretary or MP.
In fact, Samy Vellu and all MIC members of the administration should
accompany Devamany to meet Najib to demonstrate that they support Devamany
that the Hindraf demonstration showed the government’s failures and was a
“cry of desperation” of the Indian community for justice and that the
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz was
wrong in labeling the demonstrators as “crooks” (penyangak).
Furthermore, the MIC team should extract a commitment from Najib that
Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting will give top priority to address the “cry of
desperation” of the 30,000 Indians at the Hindraf demonstration by giving
top priority to the agenda for a New Deal for Justice to end the
marginalization of the Malaysian Indians.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman