New Malaysian Indian party vows non-violence

May 20th, 2009 - 12:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Hindraf Kuala Lumpur, May 20 (IANS) The newly-formed Malaysia Makkal Sakthi Party, the latest outfit that claims to speak for the Indian community in this country, will not resort to street protests and would prefer to solve issues through discussions, its president has said.
Party president R.S. Thanenthiran is a former national coordinator of the banned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) which was in the eye of a storm after it staged a protest rally in November 2007.

He told The Star newspaper that grievances could be resolved through round-table discussions.

“Enough fighting on the streets. We are more determined than ever that non-violence is the way forward with dignity and justice,” he told media Tuesday.

The party, formed by several key Hindraf members, received its approval from the Registrar of Societies within two months of submitting its application and was officially registered May 11.

Ethnic Indians, a bulk of them Tamil Hindus who came here during the British era, form 7.4 percent of Malaysia’s multi-ethnic 28 million population.

Thanenthiran said they would remain an independent party but would not turn down funds from either Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat, the two national alliances.

“We are not being funded by Barisan (Nasional). But if they give us money, why not? We will take it. However, this does not mean that we will compromise our principles.

“We will work with any party coalition that supports and benefits the Indian community, be it Barisan (Nasional) or Pakatan (Rakyat),” he said, adding that the party would be officially launched in July.

Thanenthiran said he would soon meet Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Pakatan Rakyat’s chief Anwar Ibrahim to convey the party’s aspirations.

The party is targeting an increase in membership from 5,000 to 300,000 by June next year.

Meanwhile, ethnic Indian lawmakers already with other parties have said they were not about to join the new party.

Among them are S. Manikavasagam, a former Hindraf coordinator and M. Manoharan, who was detained for several months after organising a controversial protest and released earlier this month.

Manoharan is a legislator from Kota Alam Shah, having contested from jail on the nomination of the Democratic Action party (DAP).

“I have been a DAP member for a long time and will continue to be in the party,” said Manoharan, who was the Hindraf’s legal adviser.

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