Malaysia’s Hindraf leader opposes ‘only Indians’ deal

March 24th, 2008 - 9:03 pm ICT by admin  

Chennai, March 24 (IANS) Malaysia’s interest in signing an agreement with India to protect Indian workers is a diversionary tactic intended to keep the latter quiet on the rights of Malaysians of Indian origin, a leader of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) said here Monday. “Such an MoU (memorandum of understanding) protecting just the Indian workers’ rights will effectively silence the government of India on the issue of rights of Malaysians of Indian origin,” said Hindraf leader P. Waytha Moorthy.

“There are workers of all nationalities in Malaysia and the country has enough laws to protect foreign workers. An MoU with India will only create discrimination between foreign workers in Malaysia.”

Moorthy, who frequently visits Tamil Nadu, also called for immediate release of five Hindraf leaders being held for over 100 days in Malaysian jails under the draconian Internal Securities Act (ISA) of that country.

He said: “Hindraf will continue to fight for the abrogation of this Act.”

Hindraf has demanded that Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Seri A.A. Badawi “table an act (in parliament) to repeal the ISA in the forthcoming session due to be held in May”.

The Hindraf leader, against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in Malaysia, also appealed to the Indian prime minister and the Tamil Nadu chief minister to intervene to secure the release of the Hindraf leaders.

Hindraf, which claims to speak for the two million Malaysians of Indian origin, has courted controversy since last November when it held a rally that was forcibly dispersed.

Five of its top leaders, who organised the rally, have been accused of trying to destabilise the state and detained for two years under the ISA.

Moorthy also claimed that Hindraf was the “new voice of Malaysian Indians”.

“The fact that in the March 8 elections, most of the candidates of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) including (its chief) Samy Velu lost shows that Hindraf is the new voice of Malaysian Indians,” he said.

“The election result shows people no longer believe Velu,” Moorthy told IANS.

“We now hope that the Badawi government will now at least stop denying the marginalisation of Malaysians of Indian origin and undo the 50 years of violation of their rights,” he said.

“We have proved people’s power (Makkal Shakthi). The Muslim Malaysians and Malaysians of Chinese origin are now taking inspiration from the Hindraf movement and are demanding their rights,” Moorthy said.

The Hindraf leader urged the new Malyasian government to “seriously consider Hindraf’s 18-point demand”, and “initiate the mechanism to come out with and implement concrete plans to correct the economic and opportunity violations against Malaysians of Indian origin”.

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