Suaram: Demonising HINDRAF hurts Malaysia December 7, 2007Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights, Malaysia, News Archive, Politics, Race Relations, Southeast Asia.
Tags: Abdullah Badawi, BN, Hindraf, NEP, Police, Suaram, Umno
PRESS STATEMENT: 7 December 2007
Demonising HINDRAF hurts Malaysia:
Class, not ethnicity should be national focus
The intensive media and political attacks against HINDRAF for almost two weeks have served only to hurt and embarrass the nation.
Instead of addressing and resolving the substantive and the essence of HINDRAF’s grievances, the government has instead sought to use all its available resources and state functionaries – from the police to government-linked non-government organisations (GONGOs), from the mass media to government institutions such as the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), to demonise and vilify HINDRAF and Malaysian citizens of Indian descent.
This reflects badly on the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, who rode into power in 2004 on the promise that he would listen and act on the people’s grievances. However when citizens march on the streets wanting to be heard, the Prime Minister, who is also the Internal Security Minister, turned a deaf ear and instead threw chemically-laced water and teargas canisters at them.
We call for the immediate and unconditional release of demonstrators arrested during the HINDRAF rally. The might of the State, which had come down on HINDRAF demonstrators, is unprecedented and ironically justifies their claims that Malaysian-Indians are indeed oppressed.
The pleadings of the poor, marginalized and underprivileged cannot be resolved through hotlines, statistics and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC). The root of the problem lies in the wanton manner in which the country’s resources have been plundered by UMNO and its cohorts for its own benefit, leaving crumbs for the rest to fight over.
We call for the end of racial discrimination in Malaysia and an end of the NEP, for it has served only to enrich the privileged few.
After 50 years of Independence, it is imperative to move from a race-based affirmative action policy to one that is class-based and focused on those in need, regardless of ethnic backgrounds. Only then can there be distributive justice and genuine progress to a truly multicultural and prosperous society, free from want and free from fear.
On behalf of