Set up Minority Affairs Ministry, says Hindraf

stage2511KUALA LUMPUR: Hindraf today demanded the government to set up a Minorities Affairs Ministry right after the general election.

Hindraf national advisor N Ganesan said this at the movement’s fifth anniversary gathering, held at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, to commemorate its hugely succesful November 2007 rally.

“Let Hindraf run the ministry as we are the only NGO that is steadfast in our cause.

“We will only throw in our support to the coalition that will endorse our demand and our five year blueprint,” said Ganesan, addressing the nearly 2,000 attendees.

In Nov 25, 2007, tens of thousands of Indians marched to the nation’s capital seeking for a betterment of the Indian community plight but the incident was marred when police used heavy handed tactics to break the crowd.

Following the Hindraf rally, the traditional Barisan Nasional supporters threw their backing to Pakatan Rakyat in the general election in the following year, denying the ruling coalition its customary two thirds majority at the Parliament, and delivered five states to the opposition.

Hindraf’s six demands

At the gathering today, Hindraf also made several demands in its five year blueprint. They are:

1) Stop displacing Indian plantation workers and provide reasonable compensation, as well as, offer skills training to them,

2) Resolve Indian stateless issue,

3) Provide equal education opportunity to all Indian students via meritocracy,

4) Provide equal job and business opportunities to Indians,

5) Stop police brutality and death in custody, and set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), and

6) Stop institutionalised racism and ratify United Nations convention against racial discrimination.

Ganesan said that Hindraf would be able to resolve the six issues affecting the Indian community through the Minority Affairs Ministry.

He also urged the government to allocate RM4.5 billion annually to the ministry for that purpose.

“And don’t tell me that the amount is big. Budget 2013 is worth RM230 billion and the amount we seek is not even five percent of the budget,” said Ganesan.

Protecting minorities

Elaborating on this, Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy said that the annual allocation would be dispensed accordingly to address issues like housing, scholarships and setting up a plantation scheme like Felda for the Indian community.

He also claimed that minority groups in Sabah and Sarawak had supported Hindraf to lead the Minority Affairs Ministry, during a private meeting some time ago.

“We will address the needs of other minorities as well,” he said.

crowd2511Waythamoorthy added that he had given a copy of the blueprint to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and several PAS leaders for scrutiny.

At a press conference later, Ganesan said that the coalition in favour of the blueprint must endorse it in writing to receive Hindraf’s support.

When asked if neither Pakatan nor BN agreed to endorse the blueprint, Ganesan said: “I will leave it to the Indian community then on whom to vote.”

Waythamoorthy said that while developed nations take pride in helping the minorities, it was not the case when it came to Malaysia.

“That’s why we need the ministry and people believe that Hindraf could make it happen,” he said.

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