ISA release of Hindraf 5 – test whether Najib will be PM for all Malaysians

I was interviewed by Australian Broadcasting Corporation this morning on the recent BBC interview of Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak who said that he will do more to address the grievances of minority groups when he becomes Prime Minister in March.

Najib acknowledged that Malaysian voters would want to see changes when he took office and that he needed to regain the trust of non-Malays in particular.

He promised “further measures to tackle the problems of the ethnic Indian minority” but “warned that the Hindu activist network, Hindraf, which has organised large public protests, has complicated attempts to tackle the problems of ethnic Indians”.

Najib said:

“I would like to separate the genuine concerns and the concerns exploited by Hindraf, because some of their demands are totally unrealistic.

“We cannot pander to those kind of demands, but if they are legitimate grievances we will take steps to address them.”

If Najib wants to be a Prime Minister for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, he must admit that while the Hindraf allegations of “ethnic cleansing” or genocide are excessive, irresponsible and unfounded – and I had made this stand openly in Parliament – the 30,000 Malaysian Indians from all over the country who rallied peacefully to the Hindraf demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 25 last year were making a valid, justified and legitimate “cry of desperation” for an end to the long-standing marginalization of the Malaysian Indians into a new underclass in the country.

Regrettably, the Barisan Nasional government refused to heed the “cry of desperation” of the Malaysian Indian community.

Instead of thanking Hindraf for the “wake-up” call to the Barisan Nasional leadership to stop its marginalisation of the Malaysian Indians, the five Hindraf leaders, P. Uthayakumar, now DAP Selangor State Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah M. Manoharan, V. Ganabatirau, R. Kenghadharan and T. Vasantha Kumar were detained without trial under the infamous Internal Security Act (ISA) – egged on by MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and the MIC leadership!

If Najib is now prepared to concede the legitimacy of the grievances of the Malaysian Indians at their political, economic, educational and social marginalisation in Malaysia, then the first thing that must be done is the immediate and unconditional ISA releas of the Hindraf 5 from the Kamunting Detention Centre and the immediate abandonment of the mindset regarding the 30,000 people who supported the Hindraf demonstration on November 25, 2007 as trouble-makers or even terrorists.

The Hindraf 5 would be reaching the full year of ISA detention on December 13.

There is no reason why the Hindraf 5 should mark their full year of ISA detention in Kamunting and cannot be released before it.

Is Najib prepared to secure the release of the Hindraf 5 before December 13 or is all his talk in the BBC interview just sweet but empty words and he is not prepared to “walk the talk” of taking the first step to reach out to the marginalized Malaysian Indians followed by a comprehensive programme to re-integrate them into the mainstream of national development?

  1. #1 by monsterball on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 9:12 am

    Najib has a track record of being the most insincere UMNO politician.
    If you believe in Mahathir…than you can believe Najib.
    If you trust Mahathir…than you can trust Najib.
    Yes..release the Hindraf 5…and talk less.
    Will Najib dare to walk the talk?
    I think 6 months before the 13th election….he may do that…to tempt Indian voters for BN.
    That’s how sincere he may be.

  2. #2 by lee wee tak_ on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 9:18 am

    “I was interviewed by Australian Broadcasting Corporation this morning ….”

    – funny is that our own media black out our opposition figure head while Uncle Kit is being acknowledged ourseas. Maybe that’s why so many Malaysians went overseas to pursue a better life with varying degree of success and failure

    “Najib acknowledged … he needed to regain the trust of non-Malays in particular… ”

    – a latent admission that BN lost the trust of non-Malays in particular
    – get Ahmad Ismail to head your hearts and mind campaign. It would be a good learning curve for the Bukit Bendera celebrity
    – don’t forget your zero sum game, mate

  3. #3 by k1980 on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 9:28 am

    Real pity Kuala Trengganu has only a few Hindoos, or else the Hindraf 5 would be released by now in view of the coming by-election there. The umno-nites would sell their own mudders and dotters just to gain votes

  4. #4 by madmix on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 10:07 am

    It is wrong to ask for more to be done for a non-malay race. They should be grateful that they are even granted citizenship and continue to be grateful forever. To question Ketuanan Melayu is not allowed and either you get detention under ISA or you pay compensation of a few million ringgit for being given citizenship. Hindraf should be grateful just to have enough to eat and a roof over their heads.

  5. #5 by alikim on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 10:11 am

    “Real pity Kuala Trengganu has only a few Hindoos, or else the Hindraf 5 would be released by now in view of the coming by-election there.”
    If this is the only way for the “Hindraf 5” to be released, then let us further hope this will come true soon.

  6. #6 by malimdeman on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 10:12 am

    Let’s wait and see, whether this is cakap-cakap saje!

  7. #7 by melurian on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 10:34 am

    this is a joke! if he releases those “rebels”, it means he’s weakling, bow to oppos (not public coz majority approves locking up hindraf) and indecisive just like his predecessor (or worse).

  8. #8 by AhPek on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 11:02 am

    What can one say about a man who has to sumpah in the mosque to establish his credibility and innocence?
    Would you believe him if he says he is prepared to be a Prime Minister for all Malaysians,YB and for that matter any non Malay Malaysian?

  9. #9 by Navinda on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 11:43 am

    Najib says that the activities of Hindraf, or rather their actions complicated the concern of the government to address the grievances of the Indians. Laughable quote as the last 50 years the plight of the Indians has been getting from bad to worse. It was Hindraf that drew attention to this issue and the result was the detention of the 5 leaders under ISA. If the government had been sincere in addressing the issues raised, than the proper action would have been dialogue with Hindraf and remedial action.
    Now that they have performed badly in the elections, mere lip service will not bring back the Indian votes to the current government.

  10. #10 by frankyapp on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 1:49 pm

    I always find it extremely deficult to swallow why malays said we the malaysian chinese should be grateful to them for being granded citizen. I always think that before Malaya becomes independence from the British,the chinese in the then Malaya were automatically granded citizenship by the British government with the concent of the Tunku and the chinese and indian leaders.I am a Sabahan chinese.Why should I be grateful to the malays for being a malaysian citizen ? Sabah joined Sarawak,Singapore to form MALAYSIA in 1963 and we are all automatically are citizen otherwise why the heck we joined Malaysia for. You think we are NUTS. You are DEAD WRONG . Please don’t ever tell us we should be grateful to you, ok !. You guys always talk about the Malaya and treat us Sabahan and Sarawakian as if we didn’t exist. Now I see the reason why Singapore left us and Brunei not joining the group in the first place.I feel very much regretted,why because we the chinese in Sabah and Sarawak suddenly becomes the minority when we co-formed Malaysia .You guys further added insult to injury to me when you keep saying we should be grateful to you. On the other hand I think you guys should be grateul to us Sabahans and Sarawakians for being loyal and steafast if not I suggest you guys to SHUT UP cause you are creating disunity in the country.

  11. #11 by frankyapp on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 1:51 pm

    sorry the word should read granted not granded.Thanks

  12. #12 by k1980 on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 2:49 pm

    Sabah and Sarawak should had joined Brunei in 1963. Then the people there would be as rich as the Singaporeans today and don’t have to pay income tax. And so such nonsense as ketuanan melayu

  13. #13 by Evenmind on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 6:42 pm

    Najib is nothing but Nato, (No Action Talk Only) , hipppocrate to the greatest degree., and the next PM of M’sia, O God,Allah the almighty , have mercy on M’sia, as the rot is gonna be even greater, with the greatest pretender as the leader.

  14. #14 by chengho on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 7:19 pm

    Why only Hindraf why about others ISA detainees?

  15. #15 by mendela on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 8:36 pm

    Wow, March 2009 is only 4 months away!

    All my friends are getting very scare seeing Rosie will come to power very soon!!!!

  16. #16 by rubini on Wednesday, 3 December 2008 - 12:31 am

    Ketuanan Hamba. I cannot but be amused @ the ketuanan melayu concept. The constitution says everyone is equal before law. The Malays are not even masters of their own destiny (except for a small minority). In these day & age, Ketuanan Melayu can only be described as nostalgic.

    Malaysia practices parlimentary democracy, the Sultans have no inherent powers to rule the state. The only reason the sultans exist due to articles in the constitution.

    The Malays have become TUAN HAMBA to UMNO politics because they are easily manipulated & handled. While the other races put in their time & learn to overcome obstacles.

    As a Malaysian and non Malay, i never came across any Malay who actually can practice the “Ketuanan” concept. The fact is its the non Malays who feel superior to the Malays, because they don’t owe anything to anyone or need to placate the Malays.

    Unfortunately, in my 20 years of working life, the majority of the working class Malays (including graduates) suffer inferiority complex. Very rarely will a Malay fight for a higher ranked position in corporate world with another guy, not that they not talented or less intelligent, simply because they lack the will power, persistence & preserverance of others.

  17. #17 by kenghuei on Wednesday, 3 December 2008 - 11:25 am

    We shall see how effective is this special committee of Indian affairs in the near future, this will tell us whether BN or Najib is really sincere in resolving the marginalisation of Indians over 50 years since independence…. or is this just a ploy to win back their support for GE 2013. So far, I’ve seen no concrete proposals and action plans yet..only talk. The most basic thing that can be done (release the Hindraf 5) has not been taken. If Najib is reallyserious about this, he should put down his ego and release the 5, then initiate a dialogue with them. This is what I call sincerity.

  18. #18 by Hapygreen on Thursday, 4 December 2008 - 10:56 pm

    I could hardly imagine or never expect a person, who had involved in countless scandals to be our Malaysians’ next PM. Has our “temporarily” ruling party been running out of qualified candidates for it?
    In a situation that is sadly all too real, majority of Malaysian Indians supported and rallied to the Hindraf instead of MIC. Why? This phenomenon clearly explains that MIC was no longer a competent committee which can convey the sounds, cries or grievances of Indians to cabinet and parliament in order to tackle their problems that has lied in great heaps. Once more and more problems (including those resulted from unfair policies) are reluctantly heeded by government, Malaysian Indians felt there is a must for them to stand out for launching a large-scaled protest against government. Logically, it can’t be simply considered “unlawful” or ‘wrong’ to express their “cry of desperation” in such peaceful demonstration.
    BN leaders have long been infamous of giving empty promises, but as if he really determines to become a PM for all Malaysians, he is necessary to take prompt curing actions and measures (together with current PM) to tackle the outstanding problems faced by minority groups now, but not by the day when he takes office.

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