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(Readings) The Tiger Against Sangkancil November 24, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics, Race Relations, Readings.
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Ramdas Tikamdas, former President of the National Human Rights Society (Hakam) wrote a short opinion piece this morning to protest the heavy-handed and draconian tactics to snuff out voices of the dispossessed.

by Ramdas Tikamdas

A minority ethnic community claiming to be victims of state policy of affirmative action for the ethnic majority with political patronage, files a class action, not in their own land where they allege the abuse and discrimination but in Great Britain, the colonial power which transported them there 150 years ago for indentured labour to lay the foundations of the infrastructure roads and railways and the plantation economy upon which the present trumpeted progress and development is based.

But, they contend they have been alienated, sidelined and generally left to their own devises in their long houses, slums, squatter colonies and teaching houses that pass off as schools; and the small temples in these areas are not on their own land because poverty prevents private ownership.

Why do they not seek redress in their own land? Because they have no confidence in the apparatus of the State which they contend has contaminated every institution which makes up a democracy, the police, the attorney general’s chambers, the civil service, even the courts.

So they plan to make a statement, a public statement by a peaceful assembly outside the gates of the British High Commission to petition Her Majesty, the Queen of Great Britain, and the Mother of the Commonwealth to appoint Queen’s Counsel on their behalf to prosecute the claim against the Government of Great Britain.  Since they claim they are victims of the laws of their inhabited land to which Her Majesty had transported them, they seek justice according to the laws of England.

And what is the response of the state apparatus? Predictably, to prove the allegations of the hapless and helpless underclass, the police first issue warnings, then threats of firm action, then they arrest the leaders, invoke an ancient unknown law which even lawyers and judges didn’t know existed, go ex-parte before a magistrate and get an order to injunct the public from going anywhere near the British High Commission that has already announced that they are ready to receive the petition.

They deploy thousands of police forces to choke the entry points into the city and use the courts to charge the leaders for sedition based on a colonial law of Her Majesty enacted against natives of the subjugated land.

The independent state apparatus then, fifty (50) years after independence, invokes a colonial law against its own citizens who contend historic, systemic and continued victimization and marginalization.

The Queen is beseeched to appoint a Queen’s Counsel for the petitioners to prosecute her Government and also for the Crown. In the meantime ordinary Malaysians can only hang their heads in shame witnessing the full force of the State apparatus unleashed upon the Sangkancil.

(Ramdas Tikamdas is the former President of National Human Rights Society)


1. sr - November 24, 2007

I am Indian, and a Hindu, but I just can’t bring myself to support this rally by Hindraf, and had, without mincing my words, made that clear to Hindraf in an email some weeks back.

What’s the rally got to do with temple demolition in Malaysia, or did I read it wrong? If I am not mistaken, it would seem like the rally has something to do with so-called oppression of Indians in this country, and I personally, as a Hindu Indian, have yet to feel that I’ve been oppressed, ill-treated, asked to sit with the “coloureds” in a bus, or not enter certain buildings, or not be able to worship where I want to…

This temple demolitions – are they not a result of the government doing what needs to be done and the occupants not having done what they should have (get a permit for crying out loud!)?

My friends and family members have been wanting to know, why on a Sunday? Or is this something quite unique about the Indians in Malaysia, in that they must rally on a Sunday when the world is asleep?

Pointless Elizabeth, this whole exercise. Perfect setting for trouble.

Perhaps it is about time the silent Indian stand-up and be heard.

My two or three cents anyway…lest it be assumed that all Indians are with Uthayakumar and party this Sunday.

EW: Go to search box, type ‘Hindraf UK’. By the way, your arguments echo that of Datuk Saravanan (MIC) and Hisapmuddin. See The Star.

2. libraa2 - November 24, 2007

If you are an Indian then you must be an MIC member or related to one of its leaders.
These are scums ( and so are you) who only care for themselves. You don’t need to be an Indian to look at Hingraf with sympathy. All you need is a conscience and the ability to empathize with the plight of the dispossessed.
MIC bastards have all the perks of office. What do they care about the Indian community. They milked the Indians of their hard earned money through MAIKA and cheated them of TMB shares and more. sr, go fly kite.

3. monsterball - November 24, 2007

Yip.. libraa2 ..That is MIC big mouth talking.
Good news!! I WILL BE THERE!!
My friends are driving me there at 6am…to make sure we get good seats….hahahahahaha

4. monsterball - November 24, 2007

By the way…SR….I am a Malaysian Chinese….shame on you.

5. nstman - November 25, 2007

I empathise with oppressed Indians in the country but i feel the rally will be infiltrated by Umno thugs and racists with the help of Samy Vellu’s paid agents provocateur. Liz, I fear for your safety.

6. simon - November 25, 2007

Some gomen statistics show that the wealth of My Indians are proportionate to their population ratio. If that is the case then, wealth distribution of My Indians must have been horribly scewered and 2 fellas must have taken ALL the money. Must have included Ananda Krishnan who actually is Ceylonese. The other fella I leave it for you to guess.

Most My people are aware of the plight of My Indians and their marginalisation. Frankly I am quite surprised that it has taken so long for them to voice out their sufferings. They must have been extremely tolerant and patient in their sufferings so far!

Let us all (even though of different religions) pray for them. Pray for their safety and pray that they will break free from their poverty cycle.

7. borneopeteliew - November 25, 2007

Yes, SR…shame on you. People like you around will sure see Indians in this country going deeper and deeper into the shit pool.

8. PandaHeadCurry - November 25, 2007


Heh. Gotta steal that for a PHC? number.

9. Michael Sun - November 25, 2007

Greetings from London.
My Asian friends( in UK Indians are called Asians) here are appalled by the blatant abuse of human rights. Many commentors on the Malaysian mainstream papers said that demos will affect investment climate. Bullshit! Demos in Korea, Taiwan and Japan are much bigger than Bolehland and yet they are richer than Malaysia.

Here in UK the police will protect protestors from the counter protestors. In Bolehland the police are at the scene of the crimes they commit. Welcome to Malaysia – truly Asia.

10. anonymous dud - November 26, 2007

they asked UK to pay them 2mil for each of them, literally make each of them millionaire. Heck, even the chinese suffered under japanese occupation did not ask japanese this much (each victim got millions ??, the demand in billion, not trillion). This is even worse than NEP, imagine every bumi demands 2mil from non-bumi taxpayers. and why must the rally targeted the British. Is not that British got anything to do with the plight after “merdeka”. what’s all this about of marching to british embassy to show their might ? to show the mat salleh that we loves demo and protests, and demand ridiculously compensation ? i understand if they’ll to march to the pm residence, or umno, or mic, or bn, but i certainly disagree this kind of action to “embarass” the nation in front of mat salleh. and they are malaysians, born after 1963 and probably 2nd generations, not slaves brought in by the imperialist.

11. sr - November 26, 2007

wrong on all counts. I am not part of the MIC, nor affiliated to any political party. but i can understand why some of you are all riled up with my comments…it is a pity that the Indians have not been able to progress, and also that they seem to have earned a bad name in as far as crime and poverty are concerned.

Perhaps I should have written more in my first comment to make that clear.

My point is, there are things we Indians can do, and must do to help ourselves. Think about it, one of the UMNO big shots actually said we control the newspaper distribution channels..wow! I can think of many others that the Indians control, more or less, many of them noble professions.

These Indians did not get there as a result of oppression or discrimination. But that does not mean there has not been any of that going on…there has to be, for so many Indians to brave teargas and chemical spray on a sunday. I stand with them, but not with the intention.

The Chinese are oppressed too. But they are able to stand up for themselves because of their collective wealth – monitory as well as intellectual, both of which this country and the political masters need.

So what’s wrong with us Indians standing together, but for the right reasons? Why demonstrate in KL for a petition to be handed over to the British?

If we must rally, let us do so because we are not united. Let us do so because we do not want to be told we are backwards as compared to the rest. Let us rally because we want to be heard, which means we want to throw out the present set of leaders who insist they represent our voice. Let us rally for our true rights.

12. Isaac Nathan - November 27, 2007

I know the exact feeling of “marginalization”. Born in Malaysia of mix parentage of Indian and Chinese, educated in Tamil medium school, Excelled in education, but discriminated everywhere, including government offices, ridiculed, and cannot get into the local university due to quota limits. My parents encouraged all of us to leave the country at an early age, all of us applied at various intervals to different foreign universities, gained acceptance with fully paid fare overseas, all of us migrated to the States, UK, Australia and Canada. Reflecting back, the Estate life is full of Chaos and uncertainty, and I know for certain that the Malaysian government and their fully enacted “Dasar Ekonomi Baru” for the Malays had me leave the Country for good. Anyway, my heartfelt wishes for every minority that is oppressed, whether Malaysia, or elsewhere, everyone should be given equality and justice to succeed

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