Monday, December 31, 2007

My fast outside the Malaysian High Commission 31 Dec - 05 Jan

Posted on behalf of Seelan Palay.

I, Seelan Palay, am going to undertake fasting in my personal capacity for a period of 5 days calling for the release of the 5 Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) leaders, legal adviser P Uthayakumar, lawyers M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and organizing secretary T Vasanthakumar, who were arrested on 13 December 2007under the Malaysian Internal Security Act (ISA) on unfounded charges of incitement to rebellion and for having links with terrorist organizations. Detention without trial under the draconian Internal Security Act is unjustified for the HINDRAF 5, who only struggle for the marginalized 8% of ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia.

The fast, in which I will only consume water and no food, will be carried out outside the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore, 31 Jervois Road. It will begin at 9am on Monday, 31 December 2007 and end at 9am on Saturday, 5 January 2008. Each day of my fast is in dedication to each of the 5 detainees.

My action is both a personal commitment and a plea for the international community to pay attention to this serious human rights issue. I am calling for greater global commitment to bear pressure on the Malaysian Government for the release of the HINDRAF 5 and to prove any allegations made against them in an open Court process. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch USA, the Federation of Human Rights Organizations of India (FHROI) and regional NGOs have also strongly condemned this application of the ISA by the Malaysian Government.

Having been present at the HINDRAF rally in Kuala Lumpur on 25 November 2007, I can personally attest to the peaceful assembly that HINDRAF organized and the unjustified response to it by the Malaysian Federal Reserve Unit (FRU). As if there were not enough tears in the eyes of the people gathered that day, the authorities have had to administer tear gas to further add to their pain. Rubber bullets and water cannons were also used on the unarmed citizens, which included men and women of all ages. Let us not forget the Batu Caves incident earlier the same day where tear gas was shot into the Batu Caves temple upon civilians who were trapped inside.

Given our common history, I can relate to the language of structural poverty of the Malaysian Indians. The people gathered that day with peaceful intent for a just cause, and that is why I am determined to express my disquiet and discontent at what is a highhanded approach by the Malaysian Government.

In line with the greater focus on human rights in ASEAN today, what with the inclusion of a Human Rights Commission in the signing of the ASEAN Charter in Singapore, we surely cannot turn a blind eye to this matter, especially as it concerns a country which is our immediate neighbor.

Lastly, I cannot celebrate the coming of the New Year when I know that the HINDRAF 5 may be detained for an indefinite period of time.

Sincerely,
Seelan Palay

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Rights Activists In New Delhi Protest Against Discrimination Of Ethnic Indians In Malaysia


Delhi, Dec24: Human rights activists staged a demonstration at the Malaysian high commission in New Delhi today to protest against the demolition of temples and discrimination of the people of Indian origin in Malaysia.


The demonstration was held in view of the Malaysian government’s crackdown on ethnic Indians and the demolition of the Shri Maha Mariamman Temple in Padang Jawa town.


“We are protesting against the demolition of temples by the Malaysian Government and also want them to stop discrimination against ethnic Indians in Malaysia. We want them to free Uday Kumar and withdraw all cases against him,” said Rajesh Gogna, Convenor, Federation of Human Rights Organisations of India.


Gogna also added that the Centre was doing little to protect the interests of the ethnic Indians in Malaysia.


On November 25, Malaysian police had used teargas to break up a demonstration of about 4000 ethnic Indians.


Ethnic Indians, who make up about seven percent of the population, complain that they are marginalised in terms of employment and business opportunities and places in universities.


Copyright Asian News International

Malaysian Indians - the Third Class Race

Malaysian Indians - the Third Class Race
C.S.Kupuswamy, South Asia Analysis Group, 28 February 2004

"A race of people is like an individual man: until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its history, expresses its own culture and affirm its own selfhood, it cannot fulfill itself" --- Malcom X


The third largest ethnic group in Malaysia after the Chinese and the Malays are the Malaysian Indians. Despite the fact that the Indians constitute about 8% of the country's population of 22 million they own less than 2% of its national wealth. According to The Economist (22nd Feb 2003), "they make up 14% of its juvenile delinquents, 20% of its wife and child beaters and 41% of its beggars. They make up less than 5% of the successful university applicants." The story of the Indians has been a case of progressive deterioration from the time Malaysia became independent in 1957.

The mass Indian (South Indian) immigration can be traced back to the early 20th century when the Britishers brought them to meet the labour force requirements in the colonial public services and in private plantations. While the bulk of the Tamils were employed in the plantations, the Sri Lankan Tamils and Malayalees were in supervisory or clerical positions. Of the North Indians, the Punjabis were in the police force, while the Gujaratis and Sindhis were in the business (mostly textiles). Despite the mass exodus of South Indians back to India after independence and after the racial riots of May 1969, the Tamils (South Indians) constitute about 80% of the total Indian community.

The Indians themselves are to some extent responsible for their present unenviable and ignominious status, and the policies of the Malaysian Government since independence had not been helpful either. Ignorance born out of poverty in the plantations resulted in many of them not getting citizenship which was offered in 1957 when Malaysia became independent. This prevented them from getting jobs.

A major setback for the Indian labour force was the steady closure of the rubber plantations giving way to tea and oil palm plantations. Their numbers started dwindling and they had competition from the illegal Indonesian immigrants. Unlike the Chinese who lay great emphasis on education, it was not given due importance by the Indian working class. The Tamil schools in the estates were often mere apologies and offered no opportunity for progress in higher education. The undue importance on Tamil education has also weakened the Indian community in competing with the indigenous Malays and the Chinese. One of the major reasons for the low percentage of Indian origin students in the tertiary institutions in the country is the lack of merit and as a result, even the quotas set for the Indians remain unutilised.

Despite their economic backwardness, the Indians were a peace loving people and were not involved in any racial riots either in May 1969 or later except for a few incidents of clashes on account of religious sentiments. However in March 2001, the ethnic clashes between Indians and Malays in a village in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, brought into focus the plight of the Indian community in Malaysia. The incident has since been forgotten on the assumption that the clashes resulted on account of poor living conditions in the villages than the racial differences. There has been no introspection of this incident by the Government or by the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), the leading political party of the Indians.

The MIC, a constituent of the coalition government at the center since independence does not have much political clout and has not been able to do anything substantial to improve the lot of the Indians. Datuk Seri Samy Vellu is the President of the MIC since 1979. Charles Santiago, a Malaysian economic consultant, in an interview on 5 Feb. 2003 to Radio Australia (Asia Pacific) said " He (Samy Vellu) is in, very much in control of the party, and the party's run almost on feudal organisation where almost all the decisions are made by the President himself…. A lot of Indians are critical of MIC's role in the coalition government … the Indian middle class dose not want to associate itself in the MIC and largely making the MIC a working class party." This in brief sums up the state of affairs of the leading Indian party and its leader in the coalition government.

On January 9, 2003, India celebrated the Parvasi Bhartiya Divas (Day of the Persons of the Indian origin and Non resident Indians), and ten eminent persons of Indian origin were given the Indian Diaspora award. Datuk Seri Samy Vellu was one among them. One wonders whether Government of India made any enquiry about Datuk Seri Samy Vellu's contributions to the Malaysian Indians.

Referring to the grand mela organised by Government of India for the people of Indian origin, Dr. P. Ramasamy of Malaysia in a letter to the Far Eastern Economic Review (Feb., 27, 2003) said "like previous (Indian) governments it continues to betray the interest and welfare of million of Indians locked in poverty and misery overseas…. It wants to develop the links with the wealthy segments of the overseas Indian community while turning a blind eye at the less savory side of the diaspora."

The Malaysian Government policies since independence have also been consistently to the detriment of the non-Malays in general though the Indian community seems to be most hard hit. The first major step was the introduction of work permits for the non-citizens when a majority of Indian workers had not obtained Malaysian citizenship. Subsequently in 1971 with its New Economic Policy, the Government championed the cause of the Malays by the policy of "Bhumiputras"(sons of the soil).

The Bhumiputras were to have a major share in the public sector while the private sector remained secure with the Chinese. The introduction of quotas for the different races in the educational institutions has also adversely affected the Indian community. The New Development Plan for the period 1991-2000 was also designed to achieve the socio-economic upliftment of the Bhumiputras and the MIC's efforts to place the Indians in a separate ethnic grouping seems to have made no headway with the Malaysian Government. Being a minority, they do not have the numerical strength to exert any political influence nor do they make any significant contribution to the national economy. The ruling government's apathy to the Indians is therefore understandable.

But what about the leaders like Samy Vellu and what has been their contribution towards the alleviation of poverty of the poor people of Indian origin? There has been none.

The following observations elucidate some of the reasons for the current state of the Indians and the bleak chances of their betterment:

*"Malaysians have failed to integrate in any meaningful fashion, even after almost forty years of independence." – Edmund Terrence Gomez in the book " Ethnic Futures – The state and identity politics in Asia"

* 'Indians have little prospect of advancement, since Malaysia's Chinese minority dominates business and Malays control the bureaucracy"- P.Ramasamy (The Economist 22nd February 2003).

* "Despite the country's veneer of racial harmony and opportunity for all, many in the Indian community have limited access to housing , education and jobs. About 54% of Malaysian Indians work on plantations , or as urban labourers and their wages have not kept up with the times." –Santha Oorjitham (Asiaweek January 26, 2001).

* "The Scope of government help (to the Indians) is also limited by the realities of the race politics in Malaysia, which effectively means the problems of the majority Malays will always come ahead of those of the Indians". – Simon Elegant (FEER April 20, 2000).

* "Malaysia's Indians are at the bottom of the country's social and economic scale and their ebullient yet stubborn political leader Samy Vellu is not helping matters". Simon Elegant (FEER April 20, 2000)

Conclusion.

The plight of the Malaysian Indians can be attributed in part to a dependency mindset nurtured on the plantations and this has to be overcome. There is a significant and emergent need for a change in the leadership of the Indian parties in power to take up the cause of the Indians to get them their due rights free from racial discrimination and have full access to jobs and education.

As proposed in the Conference on the "The Malaysian Indian in the new millennium –rebuilding the Community" held at Kuala Lumpur in June 2002, problems such as the loss of self esteem within the community, external derision and the absence of unifying factors to forge a single identity have to be addressed by the leading cultural, social and political institutions and embark on an action plan. However the effort has to come from within the community and has to be sustained as such deliberations have been there in the past also with no major impact on the Government.

Till now the Indian Government has done very little in this regard. Since the Government of India has now embarked upon a programme for interacting with the Overseas Indians, especially with the affluent sections in the Western nations, it should also look after the interests of the under privileged Overseas Indians in countries like Malaysia. As part of the " Look East" policy interaction with Malaysia especially in the field of education will be beneficial to the Indian community. The High Commission of India in Kuala Lumpur used to award scholarships to the poorer sections of the Indian community in the late 80's. The system , if continuing, can be augmented further to help the community. Setting up IIT type institutions and exchange programmes can also be considered. There is need to make a proper selection and not go by the recommendations of the big wigs.

As of now the problems faced by the Malaysian Indians are not being attended to by the Malaysian Government nor does the community have the economic or political clout to demand their redressal. One wonders whether the Indians belong to the third major race or to a third class race in the country. We are not aware what recommendations the High Power Committee of Government of India ( really high powered with extensive tours all over the world, five star hotels and lavish receptions etc) have made for the poorer sections of the Indian community abroad. Acceptance of the dual citizenship for a selected class is not going to be helpful either for this hapless lot.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Singapore Democratic Party letter to Malaysian Government

Singapore Democratic Party’s delivery of letter for Malaysian Govt to respect human rights - Regarding the recent use of ISA on Hindraf leaders.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Five Hindraf leaders arrested under under ISA

Five Hindraf leaders were arrested under under Section 8 (1) of the Internal Security Act (ISA) on 13 Dec.

The detainees are: P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan, V. Ganabatirau and T. Vasanthakumar.

They will be detained for two years, Inspector-General Police Musa Hassan said in a statement, The Star reported.

More news and videos at www.raajarox.com

Petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/31081957/petition.html

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Hindraf rally video and non-Indian commentary

Footage I got of the HINDRAF rally in a music video format. Documentary coming soon. Below the video is a link to non-Indian commentary on the rally by Nathaniel Tan from Malaysia.



Nathaniel Tan, Malaysia - Why I will walk this Sunday

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Event: I, BOSE

By Agni Kootthu (Theatre of Fire)
8 to 9 December, 8pm
The Substation Theatre
Admission: $20 available at The Substation Box Office
Written & directed by Elangovan

‘We cannot beg FREEDOM. We have to buy FREEDOM with our blood. Give me blood and I promise you FREEDOM.’ (Subash Chandra Bose)

Here is the synopsis as provided by the playwright including a bit that was censored by the Media & Development Authority of Singapore:

CENSORED OUT OF THE PLAY

[V2: Do you know who is former KGB spy Antonio Maino, an Italian woman?

SCB: Antonio Maino alias Sonia Gandhi. According to the respected Swiss Magazine, Schweitxzer Illustrate [November 1991 issue], Rajiv Gandhi had about $ 2 billion in numbered Swiss bank accounts. It claims that Sonia inherited the $2 billion upon his assassination. Dr. Yevgenia Albats, Ph.D [Harvard], a noted Russian scholar and journalist was a member of the KGB Commission set up by President Yeltsin in August 1991. She was privy to the Soviet intelligence files that documented these deals and KGB facilitation of the same. In her book The State Within a State-The KGB in Soviet Union, she even gives the file numbers of such intelligence files.]

SYNOPSIS

Chalo Delhi (On to Delhi) was the rallying call of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose (23 Jan 1897 to 18 Aug 1945 or 18 Sep 1985?), one of the most fascinating personalities in the history of India's struggle for independence from the British imperial powers. Bose, has gone down in history as a dynamic and inspiring leader who did not agree with Gandhi's call to join the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Bose was forced to resign as President of the Indian Congress due to Gandhi's pressure and was subsequently incarcerated by the British. But he escaped to Afhganistan and then to Germany to seek help from Hitler. He made his first broadcast on the Azad Hind (Free India) Radio in Berlin on 27 Feb 1942 and met Hitler on 5 May 1942. Hitler, fond of the Aryan supremacy and especially the British white race, found the Indians inferior and did not support Bose.

The Japanese premier General Hideki Tojo agreed to support Bose. Bose left Germany by a German U-boat on 8 Feb 1943 and reached Singapore on 2 July 1943 to assume leadership of Indian Independence Movement in Southeast Asia. He unified the splintered Free India Provisional Government (FIPG), the legislative body and the Indian National Army (INA), the military wing and shaped them into a formidable fighting machine with the help of Japan.

As the Supreme Commander of the INA, he declared the creation of the Azad Hind Government in Singapore. He also formed the Rani Jhansi Regiment, the first and only all-women regiment in modern Indian history. The Rani Jhansi Regiment, led by Captain (Dr) Lakshmi Sahgal was trained in warfare and weaponry and it participated actively in the INA's struggle. Following the defeat at Imphal on the Indo-Burma frontier, the INA had to retreat with the Japanese military and was disbanded in 1946, only to be remembered as The Forgotten Army. Bose left to Manchuria to enter Soviet territory to seek assistance from Stalin.

But after refueling at Taihokou (Taipei) airport in Formosa (Taiwan), the engine and the propeller fell from the left wing and the plane crashed and burst into flames. Bose became a flaming torch. His ashes were deposited at the Renkoji temple in Japan. There are many unanswered questions. Why is the Indian government still refusing to accept the ashes from Japan? Did Bose really die in the plane crash or was the crash faked to save him from the pursuing British and American forces?

Emilie Schenkl-Bose, his German wife believed that her husband Bose was alive in the USSR. Dr Anita Bose, the German daughter who has never seen Bose is also doubtful about his death in the plane-crash. Was Bose at Stalin's mercy and killed in Siberia? The recently opened KGB files reveal that Bose was in Russia in Irkutsk prison, near Lake Baikal, Siberia, 1946. What happened to INA's gold? Did Bose escape from Siberia and enter India through Nepal in 1955 and live in hiding for the next 30 years? Is Bose really the 'Bhagwanji of Faizabad' the secretive hermit who was cremated without any rites at Guptar Ghat by 13 high profile people on the banks of River Sarayu in Uttar Pradesh, India on 18 Sep 1985?

Bose was last seen alive in 1998 in India. Is he still alive as there are about 100,000 people over the age of 120 in the world today? Indian government documents reveal that Gandhi, Nehru, and the British were aware that Bose was not dead. Nehru used the British trials of the INA prisoners to his advantage by defending them and winning public support for his Congress party to become the first premier of India. Why did Nehru, and his dynasty and the Congress party create various Commissions of Inquiry to convince the public that Bose is dead? Though the Taiwanese know that there was no plane crash and the Japanese know that the ashes in Renkoji Temple belong to a Japanese soldier, why are they silent?

Bose, the forgotten hero's death is an impregnable mystery. I, BOSE, the play stages the alternative truth in the 110th year of his birth.

Event: Human Rights Day at Speaker's Corner


sghumanrights.org

Are there issues concerning society, community and the individual that you feel are of importance yet nothing seems to be done?


Every day, as you turn the newspaper, you find good news: economic growth, academic records bested, awards and medals won; yet also, bad ones: violence against civilians and communities, the use of force and coercion to crush dissent, the continued existence of poverty and widening income gap, child and maid abuse.

What does it mean to be human? What rights do each of us have? What can we do about it?

10 December is Human Rights Day and anniversary of the 1948 UN adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights where respect for the fundamental rights and dignity of each and every person is recognised as "the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world".

The year 2007 also marks the 20th anniversary of Operation Spectrum when 22 individuals were arrested under the Internal Security Act, on the alleged grounds of a "Marxist conspiracy".

SG Human Rights will mark the occasion on 9 December, Sunday, at Speakers' Corner, Hong Lim Park. We will relaunch the petition drive to call for the formation of an independent national human rights commission and speak on issues of fundamental liberties. Others who will speak include Mr J.B. Jeyaratnam, Mr Mohd Jufrie Mahmood and Mr Jolovan Wham (of HOME).

Listen to what others have to say. Or even, speak. Exercise your freedom of expression, for Speakers' Corner is for all Singaporeans. Join us in commemorating Human Rights Day.

Date: 9 December 2007, Sunday
Time: 2.30pm – 4.00pm
Place: Speakers' Corner, Hong Lim Park (Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay)

What you may need:

* NRIC (for registration purposes if you wish to speak)
* Umbrella (in case of bad weather)

Monday, December 3, 2007

HINDRAF (Hindu Rights Action Force)














HINDRAF (Hindu Rights Action Force) is an
NGO representing the minority Hindu and Indian community in Malaysia. They organised a rally which brought together 20,000 people (including myself), at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sunday, 25/11/07.

For constant updates on this issue visit http://www.raajarox.com/ and http://www.policewatchmalaysia.com/

- Start of statement by
P.Waytha Moorthy, Chairman of HINDRAF -

On the 30th August 2007 I filed a class action against the Government of United Kingdom for its failure to protect the minority Indian community rights when it drafted the Constitution of Malaysia 50 years ago and hence the minority Indians in Malaysia remain a permanently colonialized community under the majoritarian rule of the UMNO led Government of Malaysia.

Since then HINDRAF has been actively organizing nationwide meetings (road shows) to explain to the minority Indian community the civil suit and why it was filed on their behalf.

The minority Indian community of Malaysia has come out in thousands throughout the country in support of us as well as the suit filed on their behalf and their numbers are increasing by the day as they realize they are a marginalized Society and have remained permanently colonialized.

These factors have contributed to the Government's fear that we are gaining momentum in our struggle to seek justice through the United Kingdom Courts for the suit per se would reveal the atrocities committed by the Malaysian Government against the minority Indian community in Malaysia.

For the aforesaid reasons the Government of Malaysia is doing everything possible to frustrate our attempt to get "people support". Though the Malaysian Federal Constitution guarantees freedom to assemble in peace under Article 10 and hence there is no need to apply for a Police Permit we have been complying with this requirement. However the Government is deliberately preventing us from holding these meetings and has not issued Police Permits though applications are made. (No reasons given for refusals).

Of late the Government through their agents the Police Special Branch has been intimidating and instilling fear on the local minority Indian community who help us organize these meetings. Intimidations include the following:

a) Threat of arrest under the draconian Internal Security Act.
b) Threat to demolish their respective temples (if gatherings held in temple function halls)
c) Threat of arrest and initiate criminal prosecution of venue owners for aiding in holding events.

Various methods are used to prevent us from holding our meetings which include the following:

a) Sealing off of temples (meeting venues) and all access roads leading to it
b) Venue owners forced to cancel our bookings
c) Spreading false text messages that our events are cancelled.
d) Placing hundreds of riot Police Force fully armed, heavy Police machinery i.e. mobile Police stations, Chemical laced water canon trucks and helicopters in the vicinity of the venue hours before the event to instill fear and intimidate participants not to attend.
e) Preventing members of public from entering the venues by force and deception
f) Deliberately requesting personal identification numbers from intended participants and recording their personal particulars with the view of taking actions in future.
g) Innocent participants threatened with arrest.

We now write to you to as a last resort to advise the Malaysian Government to stop this unlawful and unconscionable behavior of instilling fear among the poor oppressed and marginalized Minority Indian community.

We also seek your kind indulgence in advising the Malaysian Government not to interfere on the rights of about 10,000 poor and oppressed minority Malaysian Indians who would be gathering in front of the British High Commission on the 25th November at 10.00 am to formally and peacefully submit a Petition to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to appoint legal Counsels to represent the poor, oppressed and marginalized minority Malaysian Indians in their civil suit against the Government of United Kingdom.

This gathering would serve as our final attempt to make a plea to Her Royal Highness the Queen to help us obtain legal representation in the United Kingdom so as to enable us to present our case fairly in the British Courts of Law. It is a purely peaceful gathering intended to highlight our plight and to show Her Majesty that Malaysian Indians are united in this struggle to obtain Justice in the British Courts.

Please visit http://www.policewatchmalaysia.com/ for details of our Human Rights work

Thanking you.

Yours in service

P.Waytha Moorthy
Chairman

- End of Statement -