Hindraf, Communitarianism and the Made-In-Malaysia Dilemma

By Farish A.Noor

Well, well, well… . Now it appears as if the proverbial chickens have come home to roost. Following the less-than-welcomed but to-be-expected reaction from some Indian politicians and political parties in neighbouring India in the wake of the recent demonstration in Kuala Lumpur organised by the Malaysian Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), it would appear as if some of those who walk the corridors of power in Malaysia have gotten a little flustered and hot behind the ears. But are we really surprised by the global reaction that has come in the wake of the Hindraf rally, and should we be surprised if this spins into a regional, if not international issue that brings into the fray representative groups of the Indian global diaspora?

That the reaction of Hindu groups based in India was so fast should not be seen as novel by anyone. After all, similar reactions were seen when the Chinese minority were singled out in the bloody racial pogroms of Indonesia in 1998, when hundreds of Chinese homes and shops in cities like Jakarta were put to the torch by hordes of racist right wing Indonesians looking for a scapegoat to blame for the economic crisis on 1997-98. (The cause of which, we should remember, was the economic mismanagement and corruption of the Suharto regime between 1970 to 1998.) Then, as now, the minority that was persecuted and victimised turned to the global diaspora for help, and surely it came: Millions of Chinese from China to the United States join in a global campaign to defend the Chinese of Indonesia. Though what this did was offer only temporary respite for the victims of the race attacks then. What it really did was divide Indonesian society even further, pitting the Chinese against the indigenous Indonesians, and worse of all underlining the fiction that the Chinese were somehow a community distinct and apart that were ‘alien’ and ‘foreign’ to the norm. Sadly, what the reaction did was to add to the erasure of the long-term presence of the Chinese in the Indonesian archipelago, many of whom had been there for at least five generations and who were as Indonesian as the next person on the street…

Now to turn to what happened in Kuala Lumpur last weekend, we see some disturbing parallels at work:

It has been raised by others (in numerous blogs and articles available on-line) that the language used in the Hindraf memorandum was somewhat inflammatory and not exactly calculated to endear the group to the other communities of Malaysia. One is struck by how, yet again, a simplistic oppositional dichotomy of ‘Us’ against ‘Them’ was used to galvanise support and mobilise people on the street, on the basis of a singular theme: that the ‘Indians of Malaysia’ are ‘under threat’ from a host of factors that range from Malay supremacy to radical Islamisation. Understandably the hottest issues then appeared to be the recent controversial cases of marriages and divorces between Muslims and Hindus, and the shameful and wanton destruction of so many Hindu temples across the country.

One could, however, argue that there are deeper issues at stake, which are socio-economic, structural and institutional ones, and these should not be re-interpreted and twisted at will to present the matter in ethnic light with racial overtones. The fact remains that the community in question — Malaysians of South Asian origin — remain among the poorest and least represented in fields like education, the civil service, private sector, media and even advertising. It is the economic marginalisation of the community, made worse by structural imbalances in the system and compounded by the divisive communitarian politics of Malaysia, that has made their lot
a particularly sorry one.

But surely to correct these problems that are structural and institutional, we also need structural and institutional remedies? To call on greater Indian-Hindu solidarity may serve as the bonding capital needed to bring a political constituency together, but it also denies them the bridging capital that is vitally required to make theirs a national concern and goal for all of us.

Many prominent writers and activists who reside in cyberspace have stated their reasons for not supporting Hindraf or attending their rally. Primarily most of them have stated that they did not wish to endorse any campaign that further divides Malaysian society along sectarian religio-racial lines, and we can only concur with their opinion on the matter. No, Malaysia doesn’t need more racist politics of this sort, even if it is couched on a vocabulary of collective victimhood.

But let us all note one thing at least: While the leaders and supporters of Hindraf may have resorted to the politics of race and religious-based communitarianism to further a specific goal in mind, we should not really be surprised if they had done so. This is Malaysia, remember: the same multi-culti country that has been run and governed by the same tired and worn-out coalition of ideologically bankrupt right-wing communitarian race and religious-based parties for half a century. Those fellow Malaysians who marched on Sunday are the children of a nation-building project that has failed utterly and miserably, and they merely reflect the racialised mindset of so many Malaysian politicians today who are no better.

So while we may disagree with the tone and tenor of Hindraf’s communitarian political-speak, let us not miss the wood for the trees. Hindraf did not invent racialised communitarian politics in Malaysia, it was the component of the Barisan Nasional parties that did, and continue to do so.

Hindraf did not begin a new trend of race and religious-based political association and collectivism in Malaysia: it was the older race and religious-based parties and movements like UMNO, PAS and ABIM that did, and continue to do so.

Hindraf did not invent the language of racial and religious identification in Malaysia, for these terms were already hoisted on them and the minority communities of Malaysia by the state, the mainstream media and the conservative reactionary forces in this country long ago. It was the politicians, political analysts, media commentators and communitarian activists who referred, for instance, to the Hindu temples of Malaysia as ‘Indian temples’; and who continue to refer to Malaysians of South Asian origin as ‘Indians’ or the ‘Indian community’.

For the information of all and sundry, those temples that were bulldozed were not ‘Indian temples’ but Malaysian temples, built on Malaysian soil, frequented by Malaysians, paid for by Malaysians and they were part of the Malaysian landscape. There are no ‘Indian Temples’ in Malaysia – Indian temples exist in India and if you don’t believe me then fly to India and check them out yourself. Likewise the only ‘Indians’ in Malaysia are the tourists, expats and workers who come from India and happen to be Indian nationals bearing Indian passports. Those Hindus who marched in the streets of Kuala Lumpur on Sunday happen to be Malaysians like you.

For the sake of the Hindu Malaysians, and all other minority communities in this country, one hopes that such simple ground rules and facts would be borne in mind as we try our hardest to win back this country for all of us, the Malaysian people themselves. The gallery of amateurs who make up today’s government may bemoan the fact that significant sections of the Malaysian public have lost all confidence and trust in the system that they have helped to create, but no amount of spin can alter the fact that the Hindraf demo was a symptom of what has gone wrong in this country. If Hindraf is to be accused of communitarianism and exclusivism in its politics, then we need only to look at the mould from which it emerged: a cauldron of racialised, divisive and exclusive politics that clearly bears the made-in-Malaysia stamp, a symptom of the ills of our times and the failure of the state.

  1. #1 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 7:39 am

    Excellent article.

    Perhaps the HINDRAF realised if they demonstrated directly against the Malaysian authorities, it would be too direct an approach.

    This way they get international coverage and can highlight their problems without the direct confrontation.

    Whether or not they succeed with the Queen’s petition is a small consideration. Notice it was timed to coincide with the Commonwealth meeting?

  2. #2 by Count Dracula on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 7:42 am

    “…hot behind the ears.”???

    “Wet behind the ears” and “hot around the collars”?

  3. #3 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 7:47 am

    (This is a re-post from the earlier thread)

    “Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been urged to take immediate action concerning the state of the Indians in Malaysia. The premier’s intervention was sought by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and other politicians…” Malaysiakini

    India is just as equally guilty of marginalizing its minorities – and worse. The treatment meted to her minorities especially the Sikhs since Independence is legendary. The world has not forgotten the massacre of Sikhs following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Ghandi, the genocidal attacks against Muslims especially in Gujarat. Whenever the Sikh community sought its rights, it “faced bullets, detention and hardships. Freedom of expression and the right to dissent were always denied”.

    What has India done to stop the harassment and discrimination against Hindu minorities in Bangladesh since 1947? Nothing! When killings of Hindus occurred in 2001, the Indian government reacted by repatriating hundreds of thousands of Hindu refugees fleeing persecution back to Bangladesh. The reaction of the Indian government and Hindu fundamentalist organizations to the atrocities on Hindu minorities in Bangladesh is contemptible.

    Now for the Indian government even to express concern for the continued marginalization of the Hindu community in Malaysia is hypocrisy at its height. The Indian government has been guilty of oppressing and marginalizing its own minorities and has not only ignored the plight of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh but by sending oppressed and persecuted Hindu refugees back to Bangladesh it has contributed to their sufferings.

    The record of human rights abuses by the Indian government is perhaps only surpassed by that of the Chinese government which currently is in first place.

  4. #4 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 7:50 am

    Would it be possible for YB Kit to post here extracts perhaps if not the full version of the HINDRAF memorandum?


  5. #5 by dawsheng on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 7:53 am

    “Many prominent writers and activists who reside in cyberspace have stated their reasons for not supporting Hindraf or attending their rally. Primarily most of them have stated that they did not wish to endorse any campaign that further divides Malaysian society along sectarian religio-racial lines, and we can only concur with their opinion on the matter. No, Malaysia doesn’t need more racist politics of this sort, even if it is couched on a vocabulary of collective victimhood.”

    But all these prominent writers and activists have to proactive init? The habit of residing in cyberspace and all the while says this is right and this is wrong is kinda lame excuse for not taking part in the Hindraf rally. For all we know hiding in cyberspace and concur with this or that will not help Hindraf to become a Malaysian problem, when the fact is Hindraf’s plight is a Malaysian problem to begin with. Farish, you are spot on, respect!

  6. #6 by dawsheng on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 8:00 am

    “So while we may disagree with the tone and tenor of Hindraf’s communitarian political-speak, let us not miss the wood for the trees. Hindraf did not invent racialised communitarian politics in Malaysia, it was the component of the Barisan Nasional parties that did, and continue to do so.”

    Some of us disgree with Hindraf rally because we think it is an Indian only problem. DAP and PKR (forget PAS) has missed the boat to be the leader for all Malaysians. The fact that DAP’s hesitation to be fully involves in the rally made the “Malaysian First” motto seems like a farce!

  7. #7 by Jefus on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 8:26 am

    I do not think India would want to open a can of worms for them selves. I remind readers that Indian origin Fijians, African, Caribbean are all part of the Indian diaspora history (thanks to the British)

    On our own turf, Hindraf succeeded to bring attention to its issues / grouses. The claims made on the memo do sound far fetched. But would a mediocre memo stand out in today’s hyped media?

    Would 1 billUSD do the trick? Would any one have paid attention to that? All level headed Malaysian know that the Malaysian Indians have had a shoddy deal for a long time, it is time they stood up for themselves.

    Like what someone else posted elsewhere, in politics you need to make coalitions with the devil at times to get a common goal achieved. And this unfortunately is one of the times.

    But the end reult is the same, attention to your grouse.

  8. #8 by Jimm on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 8:34 am

    Something unique about Hindraf and the recent rounds of political ‘unfriendly’ environment in Malaysia.
    I believe that Malaysian should stand together in all matters pertaining to unity and the country’s future in regardless of level, color,background,roots and whatsoever that stopping all of us to arrive to that one destination.
    The current government system and policies may be very much based on full economic growth and country wealth reserves, yet still, the most precious asset that the government keep missing out here are human capital.
    Though enough evidence of biased in trying to make a balance as always argued according to ration of the people race breakdowns, there are also concern over the truth behind all these.

  9. #9 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 8:37 am

    While in ideal, I don’t disagree with Dr. Noor view that further racialization of issue is not good, I diasgree with him that Hindraf had any other choice but racialization of the issue to take it anywhere. His hesitancy is based on one single faith – that his fellow Malays, the average apathetic Malay voters, would care to demand for the higher ideal of equality for all, to give up their privillege. No these privilleges would not be removed without causing a bigger problem i.e., that the cost of the privillige becomes too much and that way is by racialization.

    Put it another way, we are lucky that Hindraf made the issue primarily about race. If they move on to religion, we would have had an exploding bomb. This is what the stupidity of the the PM, BN right-winger and drone-like media don’t get it. Their mediocre intellect and abilities caused them not to see that they are now pushing them to further radicalization.

    Lets remember, its not up to opposition/critics to find solutions to issue. Yes, opposition should contribute with positive criticism and solution but that does not mean everything they do have to be so. Their role is challenge to raise problems even if it makes things worst at first. Its the sitting government that must solve the problem otherwise why should they be sitting on the government?

    Critics of Hindraf racial overtone and radical words are elitist idealist and if they stay that way great but no, their suggestion of non-action because of the choice Hindraf made, has little to stand on.

  10. #10 by Samuel Goh Kim Eng on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 8:53 am

    When people are truly happy they won’t bother to march
    If they’re not really happy, may we ask by how much
    When people are fully satisfied with enough to munch
    Then they won’t take to the streets with issues to punch

    (C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng
    Thu. 29th Nov. 2007.

  11. #11 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 9:04 am

    If there were fence-sitters among conservative Malays re-thinking whether to continue to vote BN in the coming general elections or to vote Opposition, recent events like the HINDRAF demonstration have pushed them back into the arms of UMNO and BN.

    A huge mistake in terms of electoral strategy by the Opposition. The grassroots among Opposition members (as opposed to the Opposition leadership) distanced themselves if not deserted them completely – thus making the demonstration look as if it was an Indian affair rather than a Malaysian one.

  12. #12 by mata_kucing on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 9:10 am

    We should look at the Hindraf rally beyond the Indian or Hindu perspective. It is clear that the petition to Queen Elizabeth ll is only a ruse to fool the power-that-be. In view of the rally being so successful inspite of muscle flexing by the authorities, the handling of the memorundum is just a mere formality. The reality of it is that the rally was to highlight the suffering of our fellow Indian Malaysians. On that alone, they should be supported by all races. Because it could happen to us next. I heard someone mentioned last night the Education Minister was quoted by Bernama that the Malays don’t need the other races to stay in power. If that being the case, are we going to see Buddhist temples and churches being systematicaly destroyed next?

  13. #13 by cancan on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 9:47 am

    Well written Farish.
    How I wish we have more intellects like you in this bolehland.

    It is the Umnoputras that are dividing the country through threats and its ketuanan melayu policy.
    Racial politics started from them,so don’t blame others who follow suit.

    We know and the whole world knows.

  14. #14 by Jong on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 9:50 am

    It’s a Malaysian problem, a serious problem with discontentment bursting at the seams 50 years on.
    Ethnic minority Indian Malaysians are crying for help today, tomorrow it may be the Chinese, Kadazans, Muruts and the ‘lain-lain’.

    This corrupted BN government has failed us. Their arrogance is intolerable. They must be removed, let’s send them packing at the next General Election.

  15. #15 by greenacre on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 9:58 am

    The last , which last! not sure but I stood on a podium to the inform and educate the students (was an educator) why celebrate National Day and the significance of being merdeka. I posed this question to the students gathered in front,”why raise the flag?” Someone in the crowd said that the government will be angry if we don’t? there were other insignificant answers. I informed them that ” we can’t a raise country by the rope on a flagpole and precisely why we raise a flag instead.’

    The moment we raise and sing the Negaraku we are the citizens of this motherland and nothing must show otherwise.

  16. #16 by Libra2 on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 10:08 am

    It is Malays like Farish that give this country HOPE. Oh, yes we have Azmi Sharom, Bakri Musa, Azly Rahman, Din Merican, Rustam Sani and many more. Very often I look at them as my brothers. No, I am not Malay.
    The ugliest Malays I have seen are in UMNO and they are real ugly – mind, body and soul. These are the Malays who will eventually destroy this very country which they call their motherland.
    Their megalomania has reached immeasurable proportions, made possible by 50 years of unbridled power.
    These have ceased to be human beings with a conscience.

  17. #17 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 10:24 am

    The law (Police Act) – never mind the morality of it – is against unlawful assembly for which the Constitution provides no reprieve. People marched – the lawyers first to the Palace of Justice, then Bersih to Istana and now Hindraf to the British High Commission. They risked arrest for breaking the law. Indeed many were arrested.

    Malaysians fed up with the political leadership have come to the cross roads with the road sign boards pointing two diametrically opposite ways to go.

    One way is play by the rules and system and whilst not flagrantly breaking it, work within it and by dialogue, representations and pressure from various sides representing various interests, seek to effect change for the better where Malaysian and his children will be accorded equal opportunities under the Malaysian Sun and where the munificent wealth of the country will be more equitably distributed based on merits rather than frittered and dissipated by a long staying and self serving oligarchy.

    The other, is more forceful, a plan, action backed and not just words backed – via demonstrations and street protest for specific causes and interests. It is of a higher profile; it gets more attention because it leverages power against the oligarchy; it promises faster change where the first route, at least to many, has got us nowhere after 50 years. Such demonstrations aspire in the short term to get the attention on issues brought to the fore; for the medium term galvanise more broad based support and longer term force the oligarchy to either reinvent itself and change for the better and being forced and booted out by the power on the streets. It is a course riskier and costlier – skating on the edge of a massive retaliation and clamp down by the ruling elite backed by the law, the police and the army….To some, he promise of benefits outweigh the costs. They believe all change must come through force and action. Change via civil discourse and dialogue – about rights based on logic and fairness – will take millenniums, of which the first 50 years evinced little progress by that way! Forget the law (something Socrates would not approve – he took the verdict of guilt against him, for corrupting the minds of youth by his Socratic logic and drank hemlock in order that the law, no matter how unjust, might been seen upheld) : how do you dialogue with people whose logic is only self-interest and vested interest backed and perpetuated by power? This is the position the marchers and their organizers (guided by the unseen hand of DSAI) take. It is a position that is not bereft of sense. There is much force in the argument.

    So which way of the two to take?

    Without thinking to deeply on the matter I would say, rather perfunctorily, it logically has to be the way that most likely guarantee success. Don’t need a rocket scientist to figure this one out! The implicit assumption also is that the oligarchy in power is totalitarian and dictatorial, entirely impervious to any dialogue and will relent on language of raw power. It also assumes all law including institutions and the Constitution are stacked in favour of this oligarchy within which there is no avenue for redress. It also assumes that the electoral process is so rigged that the traditional ballot box offers no democratic expression.

    This is where the communal issue of Hindraf comes to sharp focus. It is true that Hindraf as Farish says did not invent communalism : it is the political system that foists communal considerations on it.

    But in terms of weighing the probability of success which is also based on the numbers game, how successful can such a campaign be in galvanizing huge numbers for the oligarchy to relent if it is merely backed by Malaysian Indians and not broad based backed by other Malaysians?

    It is true many of Hindraf’s grievances (racial marginalisation) intersect with other Malaysians’ grievances but how do other Malaysians back and join Hindraf’s demands backed by demonstration when by terms of reference others are excluded?

    Like it or not the temples demolished – which is challenged – are Indian temples and it is a leap of faith than reality for Farish to say it should be viewed as a “Malaysian temple”! Do you expect devout PAS supporters to agree with this?

    To be broad based, and attract the numbers, the issues championed for cannot be parochial but have to be embracive of the different communities in the country who can identify with them regardless of race, religion and creed.

    Otherwise, in a show of strength and contest of wills, they will eventually be slammed down so hard by the show of force by those in power that will make the clamp down on Reformasi protest marches for DSAI a few years back a stroll in the park.

    Oh by the way Bigjoe’s remarks “that his fellow Malays…” in reference to Farish assumes he is a Malay. He is only a fractional part thereof. He is very very mixed – Pakistani, Chinese etc perhaps and some people think that he is also Japanese, so he said. (The crossing of genes maybe make him that smart). I know because I had exchanges with him before both face to face as well as exchange of correspondence/views sometime way back.

  18. #18 by pkrisnin on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 10:36 am

    What the hell saying Hindraf using religion and race statement, did anyone watch the UMNO general assembly. These guys keep talking crap enraging other races.
    Now want to blame Hindraf for its statements.

    I blame gov. (aka UMNO) for the racial tension in Malaysia.
    Come up with stupid petronas adver. using kids to encourage racial integration. (etc Tan Hong Ming and Umi Qazrina.)

    But having laws to discourage Inter-faith marriages.
    Blame the Chinese for mandarin preferred job adver. but at same time looking at companies like Jabil stating Bumiputeras preferred
    What kind of BS is that.

  19. #19 by sani on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 11:34 am


    The year started out with a bang, announcing, “Visit Malaysia Year” + “50 Years Of Merdeka” (or was it 44 years?). As planned, many World Class events cumulated in November + December, to end it with even a bigger bang. Little did we know, more had happened than scheduled.

    The stupidity of the Barisan Pencuri had got most Malaysians that can think, thinking. Thinking about, is they life after after BN?
    The answer to that is definately YES.

    It got alot of Malaysians talking, about race issues + so on. Though discrimation is every where but underneath the depth of the skin, we are all the same. Our pondans in the BN had been talking about racial issues for 50 years. Thinking + talking about it is hard, doing it is much easier.

    It got alot of Malaysians walking. Mind you, it was not only good for your physical health, but also for the mental health as a people. The lawyers who used to talk, they stared to walk. The public in general who only walked away from “sensitive issues”, we started to talk.

    Now, many countries are successful, because they are multi cultural. It only get complicated, when they are Crooks who try to make it complicated. Malaysia is infront of a traffic light. Doesn’t matter wheather if it is the, Red, Orange or Green light. We need all those color lights to function properly, for the traffic to flow well. It is those guys, who for the last 50 years , whom had been complicating us, not only with the colors of the traffic lights, but with right turns, left turns, u turns, 45 degree turns + so on, that got us into this bad traffic jams.

    So, fellow human beings whom happen to be Malaysians, Think, Talk + on that day, Walk, to the polling station……make it a memorable 50 or 44 years……for ourselves as a nation which finally butt out those penyangak.

  20. #20 by Rocky on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 12:03 pm

    Hindraf need to change the way they fight for their cause and involved more malaysians from all races. The rest of the races will support cos the malaysian indians do have have an issue be it economically or in education. This problem needs to be settled in Malaysia. India can’t do much other than cancel a few contracts that were given to Malaysia or ban Malaysia from any contracts.

    Pak Lah wake up and ask Nazri to shut up. Fix the problem not make it bigger.

  21. #21 by digard on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 12:21 pm

    Most extraordinary piece of writing. Very well done, Farish!
    Are you really the last and only one left, who identifies himself with an idea instead of a race?
    Most of the comments in here as well as outside (including Haris Ibrahim, unfortunately) have by now taken the stance of their adversaries and – despite of speaking to the opposite – categorise world and sundry firstly from a racial perspective. And usually being unaware of this fact.

    I love your formulation “those temples that were bulldozed were not ‘Indian temples’ but Malaysian temples, built on Malaysian soil, frequented by Malaysians, paid for by Malaysians and they were part of the Malaysian landscape”, because this is how world and sundry needs to perceive this; but seem inhibited to.

    Haris wrote about himself being ‘half Malay’. mata_kucing “On that alone, they should be supported by all races”. What should that mean? Are we not Malaysian individuals to decide on, (political) parties, poor people, whatever, to support this? Why should one support fair elections or fair distribution of wealth on the concept of being an offspring of specific ethnicity instead?

  22. #22 by cheng on soo on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 1:03 pm

    add to pkrisnin, mandarin vs bumiputera preferred cannot be compare, a person who don’t know mandarin can learn it in 12 months, but a non bumiputera cannot become a bumiputera in 60 months,
    mandarin vs english or french or tamil or japanese or thai is more appropriate. it is a skill or knowledge that can be acquired ! Not all chinese malaysian know mandarin !

  23. #23 by People on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 1:26 pm

    That’s right. Not all chinese know Mandarin and I believe it’s not our fault because there are lack of chinese schools and teachers in the first place. Therefore current MCA leaders should not diffrentiate its own chinese community just because they don’t know mandarin. Otherwise don’t call themself MCA!!

  24. #24 by k1980 on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 2:33 pm

    Hindraf should now get itself registered as a political party and contest against the MIC in the GE. Based on the 30,000 protestors who turned out, it will give Samy Veeloo a good fight

  25. #25 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 2:50 pm

    The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown
    Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
    10 Downing Street, Fax: +442079250918
    London, URGENT
    SW1A 2AA

    Dear Sirs,




    We refer to the above critical matters in Malaysia but which
    generally gets the least attention locally even by the Opposition
    parties, NGO’s, the Malaysian Human Rights Commission and the media
    for this community is generally regarded as politically insignificant,
    do not draw local or international funding and are deemed not
    press worthy. To the contrary the Malaysian government has successfully
    projected itself to the world as a modern Islamic thinking country
    which is not true.

    The ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia were brought in to
    Malaysia by the British some 200 over years ago. Since independence in
    1957 the Malaysian Indians have been permanently colonials by the
    Islamic fundamentalist and Malay chauvinists UMNO led Malaysian

    Among the recent atrocities committed by this government are as

    1.100 over Indians were slashed and killed by the UMNO controlled
    Malaysian government in the Kampong Median mini genocide. Despite
    numerous appeals, the Malaysian Human Rights Commission has refused to
    hold a Public Inquiry. The UMNO controlled Malaysian courts struck off
    a victim’s public interest civil suit for a Public Inquiry to be held
    without even the said UMNO controlled government having to file in
    their defense. The UMNO controlled Attorney General and the Inspector
    General of Police refused to investigate and / or initiate an inquest
    into the death of at least six Indians in this tragedy despite.

    2. Every week one person at average is killed in a shot to kill
    policy and in every 2 weeks one person is killed in police custody.
    About 60% of these victims are Indians though they form only 8% of the
    Malaysian population.

    3. In every three weeks one Hindu temple is demolished in

    The latest being the demolishment of the Maria man temple in Padang
    Jawa, Shah Alam, Selangor early this morning (15.11.2007) and the next
    being the (Mutaiya) Hindu temple in Sungai Petani scheduled for the

    A violent armed pre down attack at 4.00a.m this morning was
    launched by the UMNO controlled Malaysian government backed by about
    600 police, riot police, Islamic extremist and armed terrorists which
    completely destroyed this temple.

    In an attack two weeks ago, uniformed police, riot police and city
    Council officers hurled rocks and attacked unarmed Hindu devotees with
    knives, sticks and iron rods.

    At least 20 Hindu devotees were seriously injured and 19 arrested
    including 4 of their United Kingdom trained lawyers in direct
    violation of Article 5 (Right to life) Article 8 (Equality) Article 11
    (Freedom of Religion) Section 295 (defiling a place of worship),
    Section 296 (disturbing a religious assembly), 298A(causing racial
    disharmony) and Section 441(criminal trespass) of the Malaysian Penal

    These authorities are plagued by an above the law mindset and in
    fact liberally take the law into their own hands. These atrocities
    however does not happen to almost all Islamic places of worship.
    Please visit http://www.policewatchmalaysia.com for further and better

    4. State sponsored direct discrimination against the Indians in
    Public University intakes, Indian (Tamil) Schools, skills training
    institutes, civil service and private sector job opportunities,
    business and license opportunities and in almost all other aspects of
    daily life.

    Despite our hundreds of letters, appeals and pleas to the
    Malaysian King and Sultans, the Prime Minister, Attorney General,
    Inspector General of Police, Ministers, Chief Ministers and the latest
    being our letters to the Prime Minister dated 29.10.2007 and
    30.10.2007 and to the Attorney General dated 1.11.2007 the Malaysian
    authorities are only proceeding with greater ferocity and with
    impunity with very little regard for the Federal Constitution and laws
    of Malaysia. So please help us.


    We fear that this peace loving Indian community of Tamil origin
    having been pushed to the corner and the persecution getting worse by
    the day may be forced to into terrorism in a matter of time as what
    has happened to the Sri Lankan Tamils.


    On our part we are committed to a peaceful and lawful struggle and
    pray and appeal that the Government of the United Kingdom:-

    1. Moves an emergency United Nations resolution condemning these
    state sponsored atrocities and persecutions of Malaysian Indians in

    2. Refers Malaysia to the World Court and the International
    Criminal Court for Crimes against it’s own ethnic minority Indians

    Thank You,

    Yours Faithfully

    Legal Adviser

  26. #26 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 3:24 pm

    Thanks TheWrathOfGrapes for the posting.

    They will charge the author for sedition under our Sedition Act.

    They will say that the contents (circulated via the Internet) intend to bring the administration /government into hatred and contempt of the Indian community and to incite the community to rise against it ways otherwise than lawful means.

    The words –“We fear that this peace loving Indian community of Tamil origin having been pushed to the corner and the persecution getting worse by the day may be forced to into terrorism in a matter of time as what has happened to the Sri Lankan Tamils” – will be cited as proof of incitement.

    Whoever the author, he is in big trouble.

  27. #27 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 3:41 pm

    The author will of course defend himself. He’d say, “no I am raising all this so that the situation does not in an un-remedied state regress to the point of Sri Lankan Tamils, and that I’m pointing this out now for every one to avert it; because I support peaceful change to unlawful means and that’s why the memo has this mission statement, “On our part we are committed to a peaceful and lawful struggle….”

  28. #28 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 3:52 pm

    And Nazri would say, “no, a sentence of disclaiming words will not ameliorate effects of the rest of contents of memo making false allegations that violent acts were perpetrated by connivance if not sponsorship of the government against the community (why else the suggestion refer “Malaysia to the World Court and the International Criminal Court for Crimes against it’s own ethnic minority Indians) all the effect of which is to excite disaffection amongst the community. It is not only seditious by our laws but traitorious for a Malaysian citizen to appeal to the PM of the very foreign government (against whom a Petition was supposed to be forwarded and a class suit instituted) disparaging the government of one’s own country, the national affairs and controversies of which ought properly to be confined between Malaysians, whether for quarrel or mediation, negotiation or resolution…”

  29. #29 by patriotic1994 on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 6:17 pm

    Well said. Many of us have lost our direction. Thanks for pointing out.

    We have Indian Malaysian, Chinese Malaysian, Malay Malaysian, etc. We are all Malaysian! How blind can we be if we continue to see ourselves as just Indian, Chinese and Malay?

    We can maintain our culture, but we must accept, collectively, that we are all Malaysian.

    The 9th Dec 2007 Festival of Rights in SOGO, 8am, is a good to go place to witness the multicultural Malaysians. Please take your time to go, all of you.

  30. #30 by despin on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 6:40 pm

    I empathize with Hindraf’s cause but disagree with its memorandum. Yes, the Indian community, in particular those in the lower strata, has been largely marginalised by the ruling party but the contents of their memorandum as posted by TheWrathOfGrapes is rather wild and not properly thought through. The timing of Hindraf’s protestations is poor – coming right after the groundswell of pressure generated from the Walk For Justice and Bersih. It was clear that Pak Lah’s sidekicks (penyangak) were clearly rattled by the Bersih demonstration but they have been given a breather by Hindraf. We should re-focus our energy to support the Bersih initiative because if Bersih is successful, we might just deny them their two-third majority.

  31. #31 by Godamn Singh on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 7:32 pm

    Hello Uthaykumar,

    The Indians and Pakis in the U.K. were also a marginalized lot lar! You should know that! So are the minorities in France and Germany and in south-eastern Europe today.

    It is perhaps more relevant to appeal to the Indian Government. But there the Hindus government and Hindu fundamentalists marginalized minorities like us – Sikhs! Or have you forgotten?

  32. #32 by Count Dracula on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 7:50 pm

    Uthayakumar could well be complaining about the MIC leadership – a totally domestic issue. You don’t expect the U.K. to interfere in the domestic affairs of another sovereign state, do you?

    The MIC leadership failed to protect the Indians. You need to address this issue in the upcoming elections and have these traitors booted out – by first booting out BN.

    Writing this letter to the executive head of a sovereign state and then follow that up with an overt threat (Indians in Malaysia are going to arm themselves and battle this racist government, resorting to terrorist tactics perhaps much like the now defunct MCP did etc) shows you’re delusional, paranoid and misguided.

  33. #33 by Libra2 on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 7:56 pm

    Jeffrey said ,”Whoever the author, he is in big trouble.”

    But they have to produce the original document as they did for the Lingam video clip. They have to prove that so and so wrote it.
    It could have been placed on the net by anyone.
    Legally, there is no case to answer.
    One of the three members of the Inquiry Committee into the Lingam tape wanted the video clip issue closed. If such an explicit video complete with a famous actor on the phone is not accepted, how could this internet letter be accpted by the court.
    Ironically, UMNO members can say what they want and are never cited for sedition. Two sets of laws.

  34. #34 by DiaperHead on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 8:17 pm

    “…(we) may be forced to into terrorism in a matter of time as what
    has happened to the Sri Lankan Tamils.” Uthayakumar, Legal Advisor to HINDRAF

    Wow! I can now visualize the Tamils in Malaysia dressed up in black Ninja uniforms, armed to the teeth with knives and spears on their roofs looking to shed first blood at whoever threaten them – while their leaders wait in the dark of night for the submarines from the U.K. and the U.S. to surface in the Malacca Straits, and transport planes from the USAF and US Navy from their Pacific Fleet to drop their paratroopers and Black Hawk helicopters from bases nearby filled with Rangers. Not to mention promises of more troops to come, Bush re-deploying troops from Iraq and Afghanistan amidst uproar in Congress! The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown too faces a mutiny among members of his Party for his decision to re-deploy some 1,000 of his troops from Iraq to help the Tamils of Malaysia.

    The United Nations Security Council summons an emergency meeting to pass a resolution to condemn the ethnic cleansing in Malaysia.


  35. #35 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 8:30 pm

    Per what is displayed on the Net, letter to Gordon Brown was from Hindraf signed on its behalf by its legal advisor P.Uthayakumar. There is, as far as I know, no denial from either Hindraf or P.Uthayakumar that the letter atributed to them was not authentic. P.Uthayakumar was already arrested today I believe in in connection with the letter. Authorities would not arrest him – a lawyer who knows his rights – unless they were at the very least certain of the existence of the letter and its authenticity.

  36. #36 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 8:45 pm

    “Authorities would not arrest him – a lawyer who knows his rights – unless they were at the very least certain of the existence of the letter and its authenticity” Jeffrey QC

    Knowing your rights or being lawyer is no guarantee that you will not be spending two years of your life at the hospitality of His Majesty’s government – not when the law is stacked against you.

    He must have known that. It is obvious he wants to make himself a martyr to the cause – the question here is whether it is the right cause and the right way.

  37. #37 by Godamn Singh on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 8:50 pm

    “…letter attributed to them was not authentic. P.Uthayakumar was already arrested …” Jeffrey

    You mean they are going to form another panel to look into the authenticity of the letter? In that case the purpose of the panel is to find that the letter is not authentic and therefore they’ll have to release him.

  38. #38 by Godamn Singh on Friday, 30 November 2007 - 12:14 am

    Samy Vellu bares it all! See here http://tunkuaisha.blogspot.com/

  39. #39 by HJ Angus on Friday, 30 November 2007 - 6:07 am

    I think it would be hard to prove a charge of incitement to violence in the letter in a proper court.

    Whoever wrote the letter is merely suggesting the feeling that that group may be inclined to more drastic measures and not threatening to do so.

    Unless the standard of English is that bad these days.
    But if the words had been
    “If we don’t get these demands, we are going to ………”

    Then it is definitely a positive and direct threat.
    But under ISA the judge is not part of the process of justice.

  40. #40 by undergrad2 on Friday, 30 November 2007 - 6:29 am

    I can see multiple charges on the charge sheet in addition to what is already obvious.

    The UMNO dominated government has now found itself between a rock and a hard place. To back off would send the wrong signals and to proceed would not be the best thing to do!

  41. #41 by shamshul anuar on Monday, 3 December 2007 - 10:41 pm

    I refer to comment by Farish Noor with regards to the Hindraf issue. Farish in his comment put the blame on UMNO, PAS and ABIM for promoting racial based politiking.

    UMNO of course is a Malay based political party. It is as simple as that. The very existence of UMNO is to protect the interest of Malays. Vast majority of Malays have been benefitting from UMNO’s policy.

    That is the reason why it continues to hold appeal on the Malays. Farish may not want to accept the reality that despite whatever people like him said about UMNO, it is the dominant political party for the Malays. The reason is simple. Vast majority of malays( the silent majority) concludes that UMNo delivers.

    It maybe a racially based political party. However, I honestly believe that it does not play the racial card like other political party that claims to represent “malaysians” but in reality promoting the interest of one race only like DAP. Worse still, I found that behind the “democratic” face of DAP lies the anti-Malay attitude.

    I can conclude that Farish actually put the blame on UMNO( meaning the Govt) for all the racial issue raised by Hindraf. If I were to be the Prime Minister, I also would not have allowed such a gathering.

    Whatever grievance by Hindraf, it must understand that it must be channelled into proper manner. Imagine if the crowd becomes uncontrollable. A simple mistake can result in a racial clash. Of what good such a gathering will bring if it resulted in racial clash.

    To say that temples “bulldozed” is misleading. Proper measures are taken in this matter. Perhaps Farish also would want to highlight to the world about surau being demolished in Selangor. I told my Indian friends about incidents of surau being demolished. They were surprised. Suddenly the anger receded.

    I mean no disrespect to Farish but many feel that he really looks down on the Malays and UMNO. Is UMNO that bad. Is the only political party that can rule Malaysia on is own but choose to include Chinese, Indians into politics that bad. Is the political party that allowed Indians to win in Malay majority area that bad. Is UMNO that bad when all Indian politicians needs its support to win in constituents like Ijok, Lunas, Semberong, sungai Siput. Is its “forte”, humility that resulted in a Chinese representing BN in heavily populated area like Gunung Semanggol not reflecting its willingness to forge genuine partnership with other races.

    Is UMNO that bad when Malaysia is the only country in the world that funds extensively vernacular schools. Farish may not want to accept reality on how other political parties also play to the racial card. Just drive along Jln Maharajalela when one can see clearly how A Chinese Chamber of Commerce proudly highlights the number of days a Chinese school Closed( actually relocated).

    Hindraf claimed to deliver a petition to The Queen of England to ask the British Govt ( of which she is the sovereign monarch) to pay trillion of ringgit to malaysian Indians ( and if paid bacrupting her Govt). Good luck.

    As for the lies about “UMNO ” people killed in Kampung Medan, may this old saying be remembered” Kerana mulut badan binasa”. Hindraf simply lied. Do remember that Malays were also killed in the racial clash.

    This is my advice to Hindraf. Stop lying. Indian community of course has some genuine grouses, just like the Malays and other communities. But Hindraf needs not play the racial card to get the message across.

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