(Readings) The Tiger Against Sangkancil November 24, 2007Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics, Race Relations, Readings.
Tags: Abdullah Badawi, Hindraf
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.
THE TIGER AGAINST SANGKANCIL
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)