Call on the PM, Cabinet
Ministers, Police and Attorney-General to stop treating Hindraf leaders and
ordinary Malaysians who attended the 30,000-strong Hindraf demonstration as
“terrorists” just because “somebody” had lodged a police report that Hindraf
has contacts with LTTE
by Lim Kit Siang
I call on the
the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, the Inspector-General of Police
and the Attorney-General to stop treating Hindraf leaders and ordinary
Malaysians who attended the Nov. 25 30,000-strong Hindraf demonstration
as “terrorists” just because “somebody” had lodged a police report that
Hindraf has contacts with LTTE.
Just because “somebody” has lodged a police report making an accusation
against an organization cannot be the basis for any public policy as the
government, Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney-General will
surely not treat UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders and members as
“terroriss” just because “somebody” has lodged an unsubstantiated police
report that they have connections or links with terrorist organizations.
The Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail was the first to raise the
alleged Hindraf links with terrorists when he deployed it as the “star”
argument at the Shah Alam Sessions Court on Wednesday to oppose the
application for bail for the 31 persons charged for the “attempted
murder” of a policeman. What was the justification for the
Attorney-General leading the attack on Hindraf for its alleged terrorist
Yesterday, Gani said his linking Hindraf to the LTTE in his argument at
the Shah Alam Sessions Court on Wednesday was based on a police report.
He said: "Somebody lodged a police report that there is ground that
these people have been going out to (establish) contact with this LTTE.’
Surely, this is too flimsy a ground for the Attorney-General to found
his whole court strategy to virtually regard the 31 ordinary Malaysians
as if terrorists out to wreck the country and too dangerous to be
allowed bail pending their trial.
But this is exactly the line which the Prime Minister, Cabinet
Ministers, the Police and the Attorney-General have adopted with regard
to the Hindraf leaders and the ordinary Malaysians who had gathered for
Nov. 25 rally to peacefully, democratically and constitutionally send a
clear and unmistakable “cry of desperation” of the long-standing
political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious
marginalization of the Malaysian Indians into a new underclass to serve
as a wake-up call to the Barisan Nasional Government.
The Prime Minister has led the attack on Hindraf for its allegations of
“ethnic cleansing” and genocide of Indians in Malaysia, but can the
government, police and Attorney-General, with the vast resources at
their command, be unaware that the 30,000 Malaysian Indians who had come
to Kuala Lumpur from all over the country were completely unconnected to
these allegations and their support of the Hindraf demonstration was for
one and only one purpose – to call the attention of the government to
the decades-long marginalization of the Malaysian Indians?
Has the top Barisan Nasional leadership decided on a harsh and even
cruel response to the “cry of desperation” by 30,000 Malaysian Indians
on behalf of two million Malaysian Indians for an end to their
marginalization as Malaysian citizens, explaining:
• the demonisation of Hindraf leaders and creating the conditions to
prepare for their detention under the Internal Security Act, with
growing chorus of demand for the invocation of the ISA by BN Ministers
and even with the Prime Minister publicly discussing the ISA option; and
• treating those who attended the Hindraf demonstration as “terrorists”
and grave threats to national security who cannot be allowed bail when
they are ordinary Malaysians who have nothing to do with the allegations
of “ethnic cleansing” and genocide and only wanted their legitimate
grievances about the marginalization of Malaysian Indians to be heard
and addressed by the government.
The Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional government must be
forewarned – that a harsh, insensitive, cruel and high-handed response
to the 30,000-strong Hindraf demonstration on the marginalization of the
Malaysian Indians, demonizing the Hindraf leaders as terrorists and the
two million Malaysian Indians who want an end to their marginalization
as grave national security threats will only aggravate the sense of
alienation, deprivation and marginalization of the Malaysian Indian
It will have grave short-term, mid-term and long-term repercussions.
Short-term, there will be further alienation of the Malaysian Indian
community aggravating racial polarization and national division,
undermining our international competitiveness.
This will also have electoral consequences for the forthcoming general
election, as there are 58 parliamentary seats and 140 state assembly
seats in Peninsular Malaysia where the Indian voters account for more
than 10% of the electorate – not enough to singly decide the outcome of
any constituency but able to influence as to which party and candidate
will get elected.
There are 13 such parliamentary and 29 state assembly seats in Perak –
with Indian voters comprising as high as 26% for a parliamentary
constituency and 45% for a state assembly seat.
If the Malaysian Indians continued to be marginalized, and their “cry of
desperation” on Nov. 25 by 30,000 people on behalf of two million
Malaysian Indians result in further marginalization, then Barisan
Nasional candidates cannot depend on the Malaysian Indian votes as a
captive vote bank as in past general elections and by-elections.
In the higher interest of national unity and greater international
competitiveness, sanity and good sense must prevail and I call on the
Prime Minister to provide the leadership to respond positively,
constructively and in a statesmanlike manner to the “cry of desperation”
for justice of the Malaysian Indian community to end their long-standing
marginalization with two measures:
• Establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Hindraf demonstration
on Nov. 25, the police handling and conduct as well as allegations of
terrorist links of Hindraf; and
• A National Conference of all political parties, NGOs and stakeholders
to deal with the root causes of the Hindraf demonstration – the
marginalization of the Malaysian Indians – but with a larger national
ambit and term of reference: a New Deal to end the marginalization of
the Malaysian Indians and all marginalized groups in the country.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman