Hindraf leaders welcome to join Malaysian Indian CongressMay 10th, 2009 - 5:04 pm ICT by IANS
Kuala Lumpur, May 10 (IANS) The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), the party that traditionally speaks for the country’s ethnic Indian community, has invited leaders of the banned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) for unity talks.
On Saturday, Hindraf founder P. Uthayakumar and two leaders - M. Manoharan and K. Vasanthakumar - who were held under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA) were released.
MIC secretary-general S. Subramaniam Sunday said they were willing to consider views and suggestions by the banned outfit on ways to improve the plight of the community.
He said the MIC was ready to hear concerns and suggestions of Hindraf leaders on how they could work together for the benefit of Indian interests, The Star Online said Sunday.
“They are an illegal movement. But it is their right and absolutely nobody can stop them if they want to form a political party, as long as they are following the proper process, and the decision is up to the home ministry.”
Subramaniam was commenting on Hindraf founder P. Uthayakumar’s interview with a news portal Saturday where he said that he would continue to fight for the Indian community which, he alleged, was marginalised.
Subramaniam invited Hindraf leaders to join the party, saying that since both of them shared a common goal of elevating the living standard of the community, they would be able to achieve the objective better if they worked as one.
“I am for a united Indian community, as we can see all the splintering in the group did not help the community,” he said.
He hoped that whatever bitterness existed previously would be done away with for the betterment of the Indian community.
Both MIC and Hindraf had been critical of each other. Five Hindraf leaders were jailed in 2007 for organising a protest rally.
The issues highlighted by Hindraf like discrimination in jobs and education to the two million strong Indian community aroused sentiments. Indians were perceived to have voted heavily against the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional to which the MIC belongs.
The MIC was reduced from 16 to three members in parliament.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, in his maiden speech last month, had announced the release of 13 ISA detainees, including two Hindraf leaders V. Ganabatirau and R. Kenghadharan.
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