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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

HRP Selangor chief arrested (Malaysiakini)

Police today arrested K Selvam, the Selangor information chief of the Human Rights Party (HRP), at his home in Kampung Benggali in Rawang.
According to HRP information chief S Jayathas, Selvam was picked up at 12.45 this afternoon and taken to the Selayang district police station for questioning.

“Three patrol cars stopped in front of his house while he was with his wife and children, and served him with a warrant of arrest,” Jayathas told Malaysiakini.

Jayathas said he understood that Selvam (right) would be charged under Section 43 of the Societies Act and would be brought before the magistrate’s court in Selayang at 2pm.

Selvam is to be charged with organising, participating and helping with illegal convoysof protesters.

Either HRP leader P Uthayakumar or HRP legal adviser M Manoharan is expected to represent Selvam.

On Feb 13, 59 HRP members in Selangor, Perak and Kuala Lumpur were arrested as police came down hard on their nationwide convoys heading for meeting to protest against the novel Interlok.


Later this afternoon, four more HRP activists were arrested. They are Jayathas himself, P Samy, R Nava and one Loshana, who is also said to be a Special Branch police officer.

[More to follow]

Interlok: a foreigner’s perspective

“Either you allow everybody to insult each other or not at all,” said a German businessman in the aftermath of the attempted rally by the Human Rights Party (HRP) yesterday.
The man, who runs a local business and refused to be named, seemed surprisingly aware of the Interlok issue when asked to comment by Komunitikini.
“The Indians feel insulted because the book refers to them as pariahs. Obviously I can’t read the book, because its in Malay, but I’ve heard about it,” he said.
He believes that the system should be less selective when it comes to dealing with issues of ethnicity.
“Either you let everybody insult each other or you don’t allow anyone to insult each other. You can’t allow it on any one particular race alone,” he said.
He believes the authorities themselves have put the spotlight on Interlok in the way they have handled the issue so far, and in their clampdown on yesterday’s attempted demonstration.
“There were five of us who were at the (KLCC) area, and the police just picked up a couple of them (Indians) and started questioning them,” he said.
“If they let everyone walk by in peace, the matter wouldn’t be so dramatised. As long as the assembly is being made peacefully and without any weapons, there are no reasons for a clamp down,” he added.
He also showed some awareness of Malaysian law.
“Article 10 of the Malaysian Constitution grants the freedom of assembly, subject to them being peaceful,” he added.
His wife, a Malaysian, had even more to say in regards to the Interlok issue.
“It shouldn’t be in the syllabus, because tomorrow you’ll see the kids start using the word pariah on Indian youths. It will only offend people and break healthy relationships,” she said.
“It runs the risk of having Indians being generally termed as pariahs,” she added.
She had earlier had a couple of words for a police officer who had refused to allow the couple into KLCC compound.
“Is this how many police officers guard the streets everyday in Malaysia?” she asked when she was asked to leave.
When the officer promptly answered yes, she said, “That means your country isn’t a safe place to be in.”
She wasn’t however alone in criticising the manner in which the policemen asked questions on the day.

“Are they the only ones with powers in this country?” asked Gurdip Kaur, a wheelchair-bound lady.
She and her group of friends were travelling in their wheelchairs towards KLCC when they were stopped and asked to leave the place.
They had to call for a special van to take them away from the place, and she was seen involved in a heated exchange with a plainclothes officer later

Communal storm around Taoist-Hindu temple


(Malaysiakini) Attracting both Hindus and Taoists, the Sri Mathurai Veeran Raja Karaimariamman Tuah Peh Kong temple in the Malay-majority Kampung Simpang Kerayong, Jasin, would have well been a 1Malaysia success story.

NONEFounded about 40 years ago, the temple sits on private land on the border of the Merlimau and Rim constituencies.

A plan to put up a proper building to accommodate the large number of devotees who come to observe religious festivals has, however, been put on hold.

This is due to objections from the local Umno division and the village security and safety committee (JKKK), that claim to represent almost all of the Malay community.

NONE"We first met with the penghulu (village head) who said it is not his role and that we should meet with the YB (assemblyperson),” said temple official and priest K Ganesan (right).

“The YB (Rim assemblyperson Mohd Yazed Khamis) said he supports our plans, but we have to get the approval of the JKKK and penghulu, so we've been going around in circles."

A letter dated Dec 14, 2010, from Mohd Yazed, displayed on the temple wall, states that the assemblyperson has no objections to the expansion "granted that there are also no objections from JKKK Simpang Kerayong, Simpang Kerayong Umno and local residents".

Ganesan claimed that five families object to the expansion as they are "worried that a bigger temple will disturb the peace".

NONE"They worry that the sound of bells and the smell of incense will reach their houses," he said.

Temple committee member N Visvanathan claimed that despite the JKKK and Umno's claim, only about five families have objected to the expansion, and those families live about 1.6km away.

"I live just behind the temple and I don't hear or smell anything. The lorries (from the surrounding oil palm plantation) are more of a disturbance," he said.

Chief minister's backing


According to Visvanathan, BN component parties MIC and MCA are on their side. Representatives of the parties have visited them many times, and have even given cash donations to the temple, which has proudly raised several BN flags and an MIC flag.

NONEBut no one has managed to broker a deal with the Umno branch to allow the expansion which Fauzi Muhammad (left), who runs a sundry shop across the road from the temple, believes is supported by "85 percent" of the multi-ethnic residents there.

"The bell that they worry about is not a constant. It is rung at specific times so it's not a nuisance. This is a matter of religion, so they must follow their own rules too... even in Islam we have the azan, which may disturb some people, but we must be mature and respect each others' customs," he said.

NONEThis is an argument that is not getting through to those villagers who object to expansion. Even Malacca Chief Minister and state Umno head Mohd Ali Rustam has been unable to convince them, although the state government has approved the expansion in principle.

"I have met with the JKKK, some approve (the expansion), some don't. I am in a difficult position. If I approve the temple, then Umno members people will say the chief minister supports Chinese and Indians and won't vote for BN. But if I don't, then DAP will attack me.
"So I hope we can have more discussions and try to get to a solution,” Mohd Ali said at an event near the temple on Saturday.

"Umno and JKKK were angry with me when I converted the land to temple land but I said the temple has been there for 40 years so what's the problem? We have waited for 40 years, I am sure we can wait a little longer.”

NONETemple head Ng Hong Wah (right) said he welcomes the chief minister's hands-on approach on the issue and is happy that Mohd Ali has visited the temple and is willing to host a dialogue between the parties involved.

And although campaigning is in progress for the by-election, Ng and his committee members are unwilling to turn to the opposition to air their plight, as they do not want it to be politicised.

Ng's concern is just to get the plan off the ground, as the temple committee has spent more than RM100,000 on preparations, including purchasing the land, installing the piping and covering the swamp land.

'Bell disturbs sleep'

According to Umno Simpang Kerayong division head Hasnol Abu Wahab, the state government and its agencies had, at a meeting with the division and the JKKK, agreed in principle to relocate the temple.

"You know how these people are, they tie a red and yellow cloth somewhere and it becomes their deity. I don't think the temple has been there for 40 years... we have located a piece of land less than 1km from the (current site and), which is near another temple and is more appropriate," he said when contacted.

NONEState exco member R Perumal, who is heavily involved in the negotiations, however, denied that the state has any intention to relocate the temple.

This will not sit well with the JKKK. Kamaruzzaman Salleh, a member, lamented that the exco did not even consult the villagers before approving the expansion plan.

He said that just about all the Malay residents are against the temple because it is too close to their homes and only about 500m from the mosque.

"We are not objecting to the existence of the temple and we respect their right to pray, but the location is unsuitable," he said.

There is also an issue of access, as there is only one road leading to the houses behind the temple. The villagers have complained about congestion whenever there are festivals, as the temple is popular with devotees outside Jasin as well.

He said that residents, in a complaint letter to the JKKK, had said that the temple bell disturbs their children's sleep.

NONEThis, however, has left the temple officials baffled. They only use a hand bell and said they always wait for the azan to finish before ringing the bell.

"When we pray, we ask for the safety of the whole kampung too," said Ganesan.

About 50 non-Malay families live in Simpang Kerayong, some of whom will vote in the Merlimau by-election on Sunday, in the Jasin Lalang and Chinchin polling districts.

PAS garnered about half of the votes in both polling districts in the 2008 general election.

Hindraf march: Why double standards?

(Malaysiakini) The mass arrest of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) activists who were trying to hold a rally on Sunday has raised questions over police treatment of peaceful demonstrations.

Coalition of Malaysian Indian Associations secretary G Gunaraj said the arrest of 108 Hindraf activists smacked of double standards because pro-government activists were allowed to demonstrate unobstructed.

khairy jamaluddin kj interview 190310“I recall the day when Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin (right) led some 8,000 people to protest Israel's attack on the mv Mavi Marimara in front of the United States Embassy last year.

“Instead of being detained for questioning, Khairy was given police escort. However, in Hindraf's case, they applied for a permit, but this was rejected on the eve of their peaceful march,” he said.

Gunaraj said the activists were all behaving in a peaceful manner and the amount of force used against them was disproportionate.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) human rights committee chairperson Liaw Kok Fah expressed shock that the police arrested Hindraf legal adviser P Uthayakumar at his home.

“How could the police do that? At Uthayakumar's home? I mean, the police should at least wait until he attended the march… pick him up there, with the rest of the crowd,” said Liaw.

MIC leader: Police colour blind

Liaw said that such arbitrary arrests showed that the authorities did not respect individual rights and echoed Gunaraj's views about the double standards of the police force.

“Back in 2009, protesters with a cow's head hurt the feelings of the Hindu community. They were spitting and kicking it but no one was handcuffed or shoved into police trucks.

“Was that what (the authorities) call a peaceful demonstration, as compared to what Hindraf was trying to achieve yesterday?” he asked.

However, two MIC leaders contacted both believe that the police acted appropriately.

“Police had given their warning earlier for them not to carry on with the rally as Hindraf is illegal. Hindraf does not respect the police or the rules and regulations in Malaysia.

“The police force is blind, it does not see colour, race or religion,” said MIC information chief V Mogan.

bagan pinang 041009 murugiah isaDeputy Minister in the Prime Minsiter's Department T Murugiah said the police had acted appropriately and did not manhandle any protester.

Murugiah said the protest had tarnished Malaysia's image.

'Interlok should be withheld for now'

On Sunday, Hindraf had initially planned a rally from KLCC to the Dang Wangi police station to lodge a police report against the Form Five Malay literature textbook Interlok.

The group, along with other critics, has been arguing that Interlok portrays the Indian and Chinese communities in negative light and should thus be withdrawn.

Gunaraj said the authorities should rightfully withdraw the book completely, instead of continuing to discuss the matter.

“I do not see any point in the novel still being used in schools in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

"What is their (BN government's) motive? What is their agenda? What are the benefits for these three states to continue using that novel?

"The government had better do something fast about this matter as it has been months. Even their own MIC partners are not agreeing with themselves on this issue,” Gunaraj pointed out.

Mogan said the MIC has taken steps to “remedy the matter” and that the party's proposal would be forwarded to the prime minister and education minister.

Teoh’s note handed over to investigator

The British investigator appointed by the RCI will analyse the note with Teoh Beng Hock's handwriting.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock revealed today that the “goodbye” note with Teoh’s handwriting had been handed over to the British investigating officer appointed by the RCI.

RCI chairman James Foong Cheng Yuen said the investigator, Michael Leslie Squires, would inform the commission about the results of his analysis soon.

At the inquest at the Shah Alam Coroner’s Court, chemist Wong Kong Yong had confirmed that part of the scribbling in Bahasa Malaysia on a note found on Teoh’s sling bag and the Bahasa Malaysia scribbling on his (Teoh’s) notebook were from the same person.

Wong had also said that the scribbling of Chinese characters on both specimens showed similarities and that most probably they were written by the same person.

The note was found by investigating officer ASP Ahmad Nazri Zainal and was tendered as an exhibit during the inquest.

Foong also said that Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand and British forensic expert Prof Dr Peter Vanezis would testify before the inquiry on March 16-17 and March 29-30 respectively.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) acting senior superintendent Azian Omar told the inquiry that the MACC had no single guideline on the time limit for questioning witnesses.

Azian said that it was normal for MACC investigating officers to carry out the questioning at night until early in the morning in their office.

She said that if the sessions involved suspects, these would normally took place during daytime because the suspects need to be sent back to the lock-up by 7pm.

Questioning a witness, however, could take place at any time of the day, she said.

Asked by Foong whether MACC officers were allowed to carry out such a session until 4am, Azian said there had been such instances.

She also said that MACC officers would normally ask a suspect about the state of his health and emotion but would not normally do so to a witness.

On hearing the this, Foong remarked in jest that it would then be better to become a suspect than a witness.

Stern voice

Continuing with her testimony, Azian said some investigating officers preferred to carry out the questioning in meeting rooms, in their offices or in the living room.

She also said that most of the witnesses chose to have their complete statement taken on the same day so that they need not come back to the MACC office.

In certain cases, however, witnesses were not allowed to return home to prevent them from having the opportunities to make up stories, she said.

She also stressed that the duties of a MACC officer was different from that of a police officer because it involved numerous documents and took time to complete.

On the action of some witnesses who chose to stay put at the MACC office and not return home despite having been allowed to do so, Azian said it was a normal thing.

She said that she herself had seen witnesses sleeping on the couch in her office.

Earlier in today’s proceedings, Azian said MACC chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed had come to the Selangor MACC office and asked those present, in a stern voice, to tell him what had actually happened.

However, the staff remained silent because they were not in the office at the time of the incident and that they were not involved in the investigation on Teoh, she said.

Teoh, 30, an aide to Selangor executive council member Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on July 16, 2009 on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, a day after giving his statement to the Selangor MACC, located on the 14th floor of the same building.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak ordered the setting up of the RCI on Jan 25 this year to investigate into Teoh’s death after the Coroner’s Court returned an open verdict on the case.

The inquiry resumes tomorrow.

-Bernama

Uthayakumar: Police abusing powers under CPC

HRP's P Uthayakumar says it is unprecedented of the police to use Section 105 of the CPC against protesters.
KUALA LUMPUR: Human Rights Party’s (HRP) pro tem secretary P Uthayakumar claims that the police are abusing Section 105 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) that provides for arrest to prevent seizable offences.

“This section has never been used before. It is unprecedented and a danger sign to Pakatan Rakyat and NGOs,” he said at a press conference at the HRP headquarters here today.

He also said that 14 people who held a candle light vigil in solidarity for those who were detained at the Jinjang police station were arrested and not allowed the right to representation.

“The police did not allow me to represent them. They were also not allowed to make phone calls,” he said.
One of the 14 is a 17-year-old youth V Pirasad who is reported to be missing, said Uthayakumar.

He also claimed that police did not allow outsiders into the station.

All 14 were forced to sit on the floor.

Uthayakumar was arrested and later released yesterday along with HRP pro tem president W Sambulingam and pro tem vice-president K Selvam. The latter two had related how they were beaten up while in detention.
Uthayakumar also said that Hindraf Makkal Sakthi would not be necessary if the Umno-led government resolved all the problems faced by the Indian poor.

“Resolve the Indian problems, and we’ll close shop,” he said when commenting on press reports that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is willing to meet Hindraf Makkal Sakti leaders to resolve problems of the Indian community.

Samy moves to keep stranglehold on MIED

PETALING JAYA: In what is seen as an attempt by former MIC president S Samy Vellu to maintain a stranglehold on the cash-rich educational arm of the party, he has made a proposal to increase the membership of the board of directors to 42.

By wanting to place an additional 12 of his men in the 30-member board of Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED), Samy Vellu is setting up a showdown with current MIC chief G Palanivel.

Samy Vellu, the MIED chairman for the past 27 years, is expected to table the proposal for discussion at MIED’s AGM on March 7.

This latest development to shore up his position in MIED is being widely circulated via SMS, which is believed to have originated from KS Nijhar, one of MIED’s eight trustees.

The admission of new members into MIED must be deliberated and decided by the MIC central working committee.

Samy Vellu’s attempt to circumvent the MIC is certain to ruffle Palanivel’s feathers.

MIED was formed in 1984 by Samy Vellu to provide loans and scholarships for tertiary education to deserving students and its chairmanship is held by the party president.

Samy Vellu has yet to make way for Palanivel to take over MIED, and going by the latest development, he seems reluctant to do so, settting a collision course with Palanivel.

Currently, the MIED has eight trustees and 30 members on the board, two of whom are deceased.

The Registrar of Companies regulations stipulate that individuals, once they reached age of 70, have to relinquish their positions. Samy Vellu is 75 and most of the MIED trustees are in their 70s.

“He is planning to bring in an additional 12 new members so as to strengthen his hold on MIED as he needs 75% support to remain as the chairman,” said a source.

There are, according to the source, moves to get Samy Vellu out of MIED on March 7 by the current members. Plans are also afoot to also remove T Marimuthu, one the trustees, at the AGM.

Samy Vellu’s move to entrench himself in MIED will create problems for Palanivel. Money for needy students is disbursed by MIED upon request by the MIC whereas in the past the funds were approved by one and the same person, Samy Vellu,” the source said.

It also challenges the party’s ownership if new members are brought into the MIED without the greenlight of MIC’s central working committee.

Save MIED campaign

Meanwhile, former MIC deputy Youth leader, V Mugilan, has launched a “Save MIED Movement” to ensure MIED is not a monopoly of Samy Vellu’s men.

“MIED is worth RM1 billion belonging to MIC and poor Indians. Samy Vellu is trying to hijack it by increasing the number of members so he retains absolute control of MIED,” Mugilan said.

He also has a message for Samy Vellu: “If you are a gentleman, please give MIED to MIC. Otherwise, I will raise a second wave of protests against you to quit (as MIED chairman).”

Mugilan also urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to intervene as the Barisan Nasional (BN) government had pumped RM330 million into the MIED.

Last year, SA Vigneswaran, a MIED member, filed a RM100 million suit against Samy Vellu and the eight trustees for mismanagement of funds involving the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST).

Apart from AIMST, Tafe College and several landbanks in Perak are among the assets owned by MIED.

Rainforest robbery - How Sarawak's Chief Minister became a billionaire

By Bruno Manser Funds, Basel, Switzerland

Please read the compelling account of how Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak since 1981, became a billionaire and transferred vast sums overseas.

Campaign Update: Rainforest robbery - How Sarawak's Chief Minister became a billionaire

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends, the latest edition of Tong Tana, the BMF newsletter, is now online under:http://www.stop-timber-corruption.org/resources

Please read the compelling account of how Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak since 1981, became a billionaire and transferred vast sums overseas.
The newsletter includes the following chapters:

- Rainforest robbery: How to become a billionaire by logging and corruption

- Samling and the Taibs: collaborators in rainforest destruction

- The Boyert case and the FBI

- The Taibs' Swiss Monaco connection

- Taib's Canadian black money imperium

- Put a Stop to the Rainforest Mafia! - Demands of the Bruno Manser Fund

The newsletter is available in English, French and German.

Please help us to highlight the Taib corruption case with anti-corruption and anti-money-laundering authorities around the globe and sign the online petition!

Your BMF team

Please contact us for more information: Bruno Manser Fonds, Socinstrasse 37, 4051 Basel / Switzerland, +41 61 261 94 74
www.bmf.ch, www.stop-timber-corruption.org. PS: Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/bmfonds

Please forward this to your friends.

Video hina Islam disiasat

BUTTERWORTH 28 Feb. – Polis sedang menyiasat isi kandungan sebuah klip video lagu yang dimuat turun dalam laman YouTube selepas didakwa menggunakan lirik memaki dan menghina orang Melayu dan Islam.

Ketua Polis negeri, Datuk Ayub Yaakob berkata, pihaknya ada menerima beberapa maklumat awal mengenai penerbitan lagu berkenaan berdasarkan satu laporan polis mengenai kewujudan klip video tersebut semalam.

“Berdasarkan laporan itu, kita mendapat beberapa maklumat awal termasuk sumber laman web lagu dimuat naik tetapi kita belum buat sebarang justifikasi.

“Pada masa ini, kita akan meneliti terlebih dahulu sumbernya (klip video itu) dan lihat sama ada ia mempunyai unsur-unsur yang bercanggah dengan undang-undang,” katanya ketika dihubungi Utusan Malaysia di sini hari ini.

Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) Pulau Pinang semalam membuat laporan polis berhubung klip video bertajuk Interlok Song for UMNO and Malay Government kerana didakwa menghina dan mempersendakan agama Islam yang dimuat naik dalam laman YouTube.

Selain menggunakan kata-kata kesat dan lucah, klip video selama lima minit 18 saat itu turut memaparkan lagu khusus untuk novel Interlok dan UMNO selain memaparkan imej Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dan Menteri Dalam Negeri, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

Perkasa turut meminta polis menyiasat penglibatan pertubuhan Hindraf yang dipercayai menjadi dalang di sebalik penerbitan dan penyebaran klip video berkenaan.

Setiausaha Perkasa negeri, Saedin Kadir yang ditemui selepas membuat laporan itu semalam memberitahu, penerbitan klip video lagu berkenaan jelas bersifat rasis kerana menghina serta memaki orang Melayu dan Islam semata-mata tidak berpuas hati dengan novel Interlok.

Ayub bagaimanapun menasihatkan semua pihak supaya bertenang dan membiarkan polis menjalankan siasatan terperinci berhubung klip video berkenaan yang dikaitkan dengan desakan pengharaman novel Interlok.

“Isu novel Interlok ini tidak patut ditimbulkan lagi kerana sudah ada jawatankuasa khas ditubuhkan bagi menyelesaikannya, jadi kita harap semua pihak tidak sengaja mengeruhkan keadaan,” ujarnya.

Malaysia Media Laws Raise Concern – Al Jazeera

Hindraf hails rally a great success

Hindraf says it has evidence to show the police have been brutal to the Indian community during the Feb 27 protest.
KOTA KINABALU: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi hailed its planning for the Feb 27 anti-racism rally at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) as a great success.

The ad hoc apolitical human rights movement dismissed the police claim that they had thwarted the rally “as a mixture of outright lies, half-truths and propaganda”.

“We have documented enough evidence to show how brutal the police and Umno can be,” said Hindraf man P Waytha Moorthy early today from London from where he stage-managed the Feb 27 event via the Internet.

He was commenting on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s statement to the press last night that Hindraf was out to paint the country in a bad light abroad and that it was an unlawful organisation.

Najib has been reported as also saying separately that the Indian community did not need Hindraf.
Waytha Moorthy said that Najib was trying to link the country with the fate of his party, Umno, “which was responsible for racism, racial prejudice and racial polarisation”.

He also dismissed Najib’s claims that Hindraf Makkal Sakthi was an unlawful organisation.
Explaining the status of his movement, Waytha Moorthy claimed that Hindraf was declared unlawful in late 2008 even before the Registrar of Societies responded to its application for registration as a human rights society.

Movement’s legitimacy
The “banned” Hindraf, according to him, has now been replaced by Hindraf Makkal Sakthi which is pending registration. The so-called ban on Hindraf, he added, doesn’t apply to Hindraf Makkal Sakthi.
“Late last year, we held our first national convention at the Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur,” said Waytha Moorthy.

“Why didn’t the police stop our national convention then on the grounds of it being an unlawful organisation?”
He reminded the press and police that Umno had been declared unlawful by the Kuala Lumpur High Court and that the Umno Baru which replaced it had long since ceased to be active.

Waytha Moorthy denied that he was getting into semantics. Instead, he urged that the media focus on Umno and not question his movement’s legitimacy.

“We don’t deny that we are after Umno. We are determined to expose the evil that this party has become in the country,” said Waytha Moorthy, citing the controversial novel Interlok as an example. “Umno is a menace to Malaysia and the future of us all.”

As an example, the Hindraf chief pointed at the racial profiling of Indians by the police and their behaviour towards the community as a manifestation of the deep-seated racist mindset of the Umno government.

“As our various live feeds and video hook-ups of Feb 27 show, the police did not conduct themselves with respect towards the Indian community and the handicapped,” said Waytha Moorthy. “They went after any Indian, mostly innocent ones, found within the vicinity of KLCC.”

He asked whether it was the policy of the government to deny Indians even the right to wait at a bus stop to take a ride to wherever they were headed.

International community
Asked what Hindraf intended to do with the evidence it had gathered on the Feb 27 rally, Waytha Moorthy said that his NGO intended to present it to the international community.

“We will work closely with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and human rights defenders,” said Waytha Moorthy. “They recognise us although the Malaysian government keeps saying that we are an unlawful organisation.”

Post-Feb 27, Hindraf’s first order of business would be to seek a meeting with Najib to present him with the report on the proceedings of a conference it held in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 23.

The meeting, which focused on the marginalised, disenfranchised communities and minorities in Malaysia, also drew participation from the Orang Asli and representatives from Sabah and Sarawak.

“Najib wants us to send him another memorandum on our problems. So, we will send him the Jan 23 report,” said Waytha Moorthy. “He’s still sitting on our memorandum from last year on our 18-point demand and the list of over 100 problems besetting the community.”

Hindraf plans to hold a series of rallies nationwide calling for “an end to Umno’s racism”. Waytha Moorthy declined to disclose when and where the next anti-Umno racism rally will be held.

“Interlok is a manifestation of the racism of Umno,” said Waytha Moorthy. “We will not be deterred. We will risk detention and arrests. We are prepared to fill all the police lock-ups in the country.”

Hindraf blames cops for failed march

The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) had blamed the police force for the failure of yesterday's 'People's March in Solidarity Against Umno's Racism'.
"The marcNONEh was unsuccessful because we were arrested (on the spot) by the police force, and we were outnumbered," Hindraf coordinator W Sambulingam (left in photo) said in response to Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein's comment last night.
Human Rights Party (HRP) chief P Uthayakumar (right in photo) said it was impossible to proceed with the peaceful march, considering that the police had rejected their application for a police permit.

On Feb 11, Hindraf had submitted an application to Inspector-General Police Ismail Omar for a permit to hold the peaceful march, but it was rejected by Dang Wangi police on Feb 24.

It does not make sense to say the peaceful march was a failure, Uthayakumar told a press conference, since police had also stopped and given a stern warning to those intending to support the march.

"None of this (the arrests) would have happened if they approved our application. All we asked for was a permit to march peacefully, to show what we are upset and to present our demands... ," Sambulingam said, adding that there was no bad intention behind the gathering.

Supporters released

All Hindraf supporters who were arrested attempt were freed in stages yesterday, except for 14 supporters who showed up for a candlelight vigil outside the Jinjang police station last night.

"They were released about 3pm today, including 17-year-old Virasanth Visvanathan, who had been held at the Sungei Besi station," Uthayakumar said.

Yesterday, some 200 Hindraf supporters made their way to the Jinjang police station, demanding the release of their leaders.

At 8am yesterday, Uthayakumar was intercepted and arrested by four plainclothes police officers as he left his apartment in Pantai Hillpark, Kuala Lumpur.

rally proceeds to Pudu IPKAsked to comment on Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's statement that "Hindraf wanted the police to use force on them", Uthayakumar denied the accusation, insisting that the Hindraf march was to have been held peacefully.

Uthayakumar also said the movement is willing to meet the prime minister whenever it suits him.

"We will kuburkan (disband) Hindraf, provided the prime minister obliges our 18-point demand. We are giving Umno a tip for on how to kuburkan Hindraf... just answer our demands on what has been done, what is being done and what will be done for the Indian community," he added.
18-point demand
On July 28, 2007, Hindraf had submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, making an 18-point demand for the Indian community.
Among the demands are that:
  • The Umno-controlled government should set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the 'Kg Medan mini genocide', condemn the violence, apologise to the Indian community for this, undertake not to repeat the same in future and pay compensation of RM1 million for every citizen killed, permanently maimed, maimed or injured in this tragedy.
  • All forms of racial and religious discrimination, oppression and suppression of the Indians/Hindus in both the public and private sectors should be stopped with immediate effect; a Race Relations Commission Act, an Equal Opportunities Commission Act and a Freedom of Religions Commission Act be enacted; powerful commissions be created to give effect to anti-racism, anti-Islamic extremism and anti-direct discrimination practices by the Umno-controlled government, in both the public and private sectors.
  • A minimum of 20 opposition members of parliament be elected exclusively by the Indian community to represent their interests at the highest political level and also as a parliamentary democracy check-and-balance; this should be safeguarded and entrenched into the federal constitution, and increased proportionately with the increase in parliamentary seats.
As for now, the movement will not hold any form of demonstration.

Asked if Hindraf had a time frame for an answer from Najib, Uthayakumar replied: "We will wait and see, as we have been waiting for the past three years for a change.
"But, Umno must stop all their wayang kulit and take this seriously, as we do not like to demonstrate for no reason. No one likes to do so."

HRP supporters demand release of Uthayakumar