Ethnic Indian anger shakes Malaysia's foundation of racial stability

Ethnic Malays, who make up 60 percent of Malaysia's 27 million people, control the government and all state-owned enterprises. Ethnic Chinese, at 25 percent of the population, dominate private business. Ethnic Indians, who make up 8 percent, remain at the bottom of Malaysia's economic and political hierarchy.

AP) - Malaysians typically sit and gripe about the government while sipping tea in safe sidewalk cafes. Few want to protest in public and face possible arrest.

That could be changing.

About 20,000 minority ethnic Indians clashed on the streets with the Kuala Lumpur police for seven hours in November to demand equal rights and a fairer share of national resources. They dispersed amid clouds of tear gas and water cannons. Some 250 people were briefly detained and five protest organizers are in jail under a law that allows indefinite detention without charges or trial.

«It was a watershed event,» said S. Nagarajan of the Education, Welfare and Research Foundation, a nonprofit group that represents impoverished ethnic Indians. «It showed that Malaysians have overcome the fear of authorities. Even we were surprised by the scale and the spirit of the people.

Emboldened by the impact of the Nov. 25 demonstration, ethnic Indians have become increasingly vocal with claims that they are marginalized in this multiracial country. They claim that the Malaysian Indian Congress, the third largest party in the ruling National Front coalition, has become corrupt and has not done enough to improve the situation for Indians.

Ethnic Malays, who make up 60 percent of Malaysia's 27 million people, control the government and all state-owned enterprises. Ethnic Chinese, at 25 percent of the population, dominate private business. Ethnic Indians, who make up 8 percent, remain at the bottom of Malaysia's economic and political hierarchy.

In response to the unrest, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he would form a panel to draw up anti-poverty measures for all races. He did not elaborate on the plan.

Abdullah is widely expected to hold general elections in March, a year before they are required. The National Front - which has been in power since Malaysia's independence from Britain in 1957 - is easily expected to return to power, even with the MIC facing widespread anger from its constituents.

The Nov. 25 demonstration was followed by a five-day hunger strike in January by a group of ethnic Indians to demand the release of the five activists in jail. The five men also fasted until one of them was hospitalized with dehydration.

But the Indian anger was conveyed most emphatically during the religious festival of Thaipusam on Jan. 23. Every year, more than a million Indians gather at the Batu Caves temple, which is managed by the MIC, for daylong rituals. This year, most people stayed away from Batu Caves in protest, and instead gathered at another temple in neighboring Klang town.

This newfound boldness and the unusual outpouring of anti-government dissent has shaken the foundations of Malaysia's reputation as a stable nation where three disparate races _ Malays, Chinese and Indians _ live in peace.

"It is easy for such a rally to become a racial issue or elicit responses from other races and evolve into a major conflict," said Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said.

Behind this concern is fear that overt ethnic tensions could scare away investors who form the bedrock of Malaysia's booming economy.

The extraordinary street violence in late November followed a demonstration Nov. 10 by about 30,000 opposition activists to demand electoral reforms. In September, 1,000 lawyers marched to the prime minister's office to demand judicial progress.

Analysts warn that anger among disgruntled Malaysians is reaching a boiling point over discrimination against minorities, lack of religious freedoms, political interference in the judiciary, unfair elections and corruption.

"It is a cry for attention," said Abdul Rahman Embong, a prominent sociologist who teaches at the National University of Malaysia. "We cannot take the issue of disaffection by various people for granted."

Besides complaining in coffee shops and grumbling on blogs, Malaysians have few avenues for venting, as the state controls the media and does not allow open discussion on racial issues.

Public gatherings of more than four people require permits; anyone deemed a threat to public order faces arrest.

The most worrisome problem for the government is the sense of disenfranchisement among ethnic Indians.

Most Indians are descendants of indentured ethnic Tamil laborers brought by British colonials in the 19th century to work in rubber plantations. They were poor then, living in shacks and earning daily wages. Not much has changed.

In fact, the Indians say they are worse off now, thanks to a 1971 affirmative action policy favoring Malays in jobs, education, government contracts and businesses. The ethnic Chinese grumble too, but they are less affected and most have flourished in private enterprise, controlling a large part of the national economy.

"We want the minority Indians to be given their basic rights. If they can give us two or three (real concessions), we are willing to keep our mouth shut," P. Waytha Moorthy, who organized the Nov. 25 demonstration, told The Associated Press.

"That's what I don't understand: Why isn't the government conceding? We are not asking for super rights. We are asking for basic rights," he said in an interview in London, where he lives in self-imposed exile, fearing arrest like his five colleagues.

The government denies Indians are discriminated against, and says their living standards have vastly improved.

Government officials cite statistics to prove their case: The average monthly household income of Indians in 2004 was 3,456 ringgit (US$1,000), compared to the 2,711 ringgit (US$775) earned by Malays; about 2.9 percent of Indians lived below poverty line in 2004 compared to 39.2 percent in 1970.

But community leaders and activists dispute the official figures, saying they understate the poverty level among ethnic Indians and do not reflect reality: 90 percent of Indian workers are low-skilled laborers with little education who are treated with contempt by those in authority.

Indians are also stereotyped as alcoholics and gangsters.

According to Nagarajan, Indians make up 5 percent of the civil service now compared to 21.5 percent in 1969. Only about 1.2 percent of corporate equity has been in the hands of Indians for the past three decades.

"The anger has been building up," said Nagarajan. "The state has been arrogant and a bully, not realizing that even the marginalized can react."

Malaysians: Vote with your eyes wide open

I join the CSI-Parliament in calling on our Malaysian electorate to vote without fear and to send the strongest message possible to the Barisan Nasional Government that we will not be cynically fooled and manipulated by them as has happened in past elections.

As we look around with our eyes wide open, we find Malaysian society in a pathetic state due to more than 50 years of BN power without the normal checks and balances found in other countries. We see the sharp rise of corruption, self-enrichment and abuse of power by the BN component parties and its cronies.

We see BN representatives – MPs and State Assemblymen - that are out of touch with what is happening at the ground.

We see BN leaders playing dirty, resorting to media spin, threats and the use of force to ensure that negative views and truthful news are kept away from the public.

Soaring prices, rising crime in our streets, falling educational standards, increased sense of insecurity and heightened racial and religious polarization: this is only the tip of the mountain of problems, scandals and disasters that the Barisan Nasional leaders and its representatives in Parliament are leaving for our younger generation.

We have it in our power in the coming elections not only to demand a better quality of life and a higher standard of government.

We also have the power to vote against the BN and to send a loud signal that Malaysians are fed up with the present system and want change

Let us exercise our right in the polling booth to have better men and women voted in as our representatives so we can have a better future.

Let us not fall victim to the scare and gloom and doom tactics played on us by an increasingly arrogant, uncaring and politically bankrupt government.

Dr. Lim Teck Ghee

Badawi's State Of Euphoria

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is probably wrong if he is as confident as he says he is that Malaysia is positioned to avert any negative fallout from a threatened US recession by virtue of trade with the rest of Asean, which on its surface outweighs that of the US.

Following the Davos conference in Switzerland, the prime minister pointed out that 86 percent of Malaysia's GDP is domestically generated and added: "This has become one of our economic strengths (as we are no longer acutely dependent on external trade), and these strengths have come from the policies that we have drawn up and implemented, which are far-sighted.”

The speech and figures, probably prepared for him by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, are hardly realistic.

While the Malaysian economy has been robust over recent years, his boast that the country is immune from a US recession is incorrect.

There are direct and indirect elements that can make a US recession contagious, not only to Malaysia and other countries in Asia.

Using data from Malaysia’s state-owned External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), the US is still Malaysia’s biggest trading partner, with total trade of MR170.80 billion in fiscal year 2006.

In 2006 Malaysia exported RM589 billion to all markets. Almost 77 percent came from manufactured products, 62 percent of that from electronic items.

The small domestic market would not be able to consume excesses from a contracting export market. The major manufactured products for export, especially electronic and electrical products, are not suitable for domestic use.

What are Malaysians going to do with a few billion dollars worth of unsold semiconductors, computer chips and other high-technology products?

war of roses

The war of roses is another attempt to pressure the UMNO led government to take into consideration of our 18 point demands and to release the 5 Hindraf leaders from ISA.

Our ultimate attempt to bring our grievances to the attention of the government on 25th nov are completely denied by the government and our 5 Hindraf leaders are detain in ISA.

Our former PM Dr Mahathir said that the UMNO led Government has done a big mistake , he pointed out that the government should have listen to the Indian plight by having talk with the Hindraf leaders to solve their problem amicably, the UMNO led government has done a biggest injustice to the poor Indian by labelling them as terrorist and extremist and jail their leaders.

This has angered and disappoints the Indians toward the government.

Our ultimate goal in this gathering is to show to the government that we are not forgetful people and we are serious in our demand for equal rights , and if the government did not give prior attention to our grievances , we will continue fight for our right and it is an ongoing struggle until our demand are met.

The UMNO led government evil intention, by detaining our leaders , are to silence the Malaysia Indian and to threaten them to keep quite , they expect within few months the Indian community will drop their demand, and ready to vote the BN again in the coming election, the MIC who called the only party to defence the Indian faith are pressured by the UMNO to convince the Indian that they are doing well in this country, the supervisor Samy vellu was send to India to tell lies that all Indian in Malaysia are properly taken care and doing well but Tamil Nadu government fully aware of the current marginalisation of Indian which majority of them are south Indian origin thus refuse to meet the supervisor.

The Feb 16th gathering is another chance to the Malaysian Indian to send message to UMNO led government that majority of Malaysian Indian are beside Hindraf platform and to remind them that their evil intention to suppress the Indian to keep quiet has failed, by detaining the 5 leader has never undermine the spirit of struggle for our right and to tell them we are united to demand the 18 points demand and ask the government immediately take steps to implement it.

With this peaceful gathering of 10,000 Indian, we will bring roses to meet the PM to remind him to immediately take measure to uplift the Indian which stated in the 18 points demands .We are merely gathered in front of Istana Negara in peaceful means to request from the PM to release innocent 5 Hindraf leaders, and if again they want to use police and FRU and use force to disperse the peaceful poor marginalised Indian , it is another attempt by UMNO led government to suppress the awaken realisation of Indian for their future in this country, and it is another chance for Indian to bring the issue to the international attention that we Indian are non-violence and the government back by the police are simply attacking the Indian ,and it is a prove that the UMNO led government will use whatever means to suppress and oppress the Indian to denied them basics human rights and their agenda is to slowly marginalised further the Indian to the extend of extinction by 2020.

54 arrested : Protest against PRICE HIKE !!!

54 protesters arrested in relation to a protest against price hikes
organised by the Coalition Against Inflation (Protes).

The government’s crackdown on peaceful assembly continued, when the police
arrested more then 50 individuals, including opposition leader and
supporters near Ampang Park LRT station at about 3pm this afternoon.

Those arrested are reported to be held at the Lumpur Contingent Police
Headquarters (IPK Kuala Lumpur) Kuala Lumpur. As of 5.10pm, 54 individuals
are confirmed to be detained at IPK Kuala Lumpur. S. Arutchelvan and 2
others were taken to Pudu Jail.

1st batch of arrest made at about 2.35pm. Among those arrested were:

1. S. Arutchelvan (PSM Secretary General)
2. Mai Suharah (Female)
3. Siti Fatimah (Female)
4. Nor Aziyati (Female)
5. Aiman (Female)
6. Nashita (Female)
7. Hidayat (Female)
8. Zamri Effendi
9. Marzuki
10. Solahuddin
11. Syed Jaymal

Others who arrested later when they are on their way to KLCC from Jalan
Ampang City Bank. Among them are:

12. Badrul Hisham
13. Dino
14. Dr. Nasir Hashim (PSM President)
15. Simon
16. Dr. Hatta Muhd Ramli (PAS)
17. Thevarajan
18. Saraswathy (PSM Vice-President)
19. V.Selvam (PSM CC member)
20. Rani Rasiah (PSM CC member)
21. Ganesan (PSM Kajang Branch President)
22. Ramalingam
23. Kartik
24. Gana
25. Vijaya
26. Sugumaran
27. Thinakaram
28. Nehru
29. Kohila Yanesegaran
30. Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad (PAS)
31. Dr. Badrul Amin
32. Mohd Sabo
33. Mohd Yusof
34. Khairul Nizad
35. P. Mohan
36. Thinamaran
37. Ginie Lim
38. Tian chua
39. Johson
40. Zaid Ibrahim (16 year old)
41. Tan ah kau
42. Nuridah Mohd
43. Mohd Azemi Azman
44. Azmi
45. Chou/Chan
46. Isa Mudin
47. Mohd Aminuri
48. Mohd b. Nawi
49. Tan Chee Hooi
50. Fathi Othman
51. Gomathi A/P Gunalan
52. Saravanan A/L Teruma
53. Mohd Azah b. Yaakob
54. Nur Mohd Faizal b. Harun

A full list of arrested civilian is yet to be announced later by the police.

The Hindraf Campaign: A Critique

It is undeniable that Indians in Malaysia face racial discrimination.

- difficulty in getting government jobs;

- lack of special programs for Indian students from poor backgrounds;
- the poor state of many Tamil Primary Schools;
- absence of laws to protect the estate community when they are evicted in the name of development; Ditto for the peneroka bandar;

- insensitive handling of Hindu Temples which are demolished to make way for “development”

- extremely insensitive handling of cases of Indian individuals caught in “inter-faith situations for example Moorthy, Subashini, and others;

- the negative profiling of Indian youth by the police and other authorities as “gangsters” and the harsh treatment of these youth when caught by police;

These are just some aspects of the reality of Indians in Malaysia. Indians are made to feel that they are second-class citizens, and after 50 years of Merdeka they are beginning to resent it more and more!

Ethnic based mobilization is relatively easy to do.

Malaysian society has been tutored in racial politics by the BN parties (as well as by some opposition parties also) for the past 5 decades.

The vast majority of Malaysians think in ethnic terms.

However ethnic based mobilization of Indians will not be able to overcome the racial discrimination that Indians face.

At this point Hindraf is asking for

- Institution of affirmative policies for Malaysian Indians

- Monetary compensation from the British Government for “leaving us in this mess”

These are emotive issues, and it is obvious that many Malaysian Indians have responded to them.

But is even remotely possible that they can be attained by ethnic based mobilization of the Indians who make up only 7% of the population?

We should not forget that apart from racial discrimination, the majority of Indians face economic discrimination because they are workers in a system that favours the businessmen and the capitalists.

About 70% of Malaysian Indians are workers.

The problem they face as workers include

- low wages. In many factories the basic pay in RM 18 per day, which works out to RM 468 per month.

- There is no job security. Outsourcing, the widespread use of contract workers, and the easy availability of migrant workers all weaken the bargaining position of Malaysian labour.

- Labour laws are being tightened and being made more pro management;

- Low cost adequate housing is difficult to find.

- Prices of goods is rising faster than wages! Petrol, toll and now flour.

- Basic services – health care, education, roads, water - which used to be heavily subsidized are now becoming increasingly expensive;

Government won’t start fund for Indians, but will help in other ways

THE Government has no plan to set up a special investment fund to help uplift the economic position of the Indian community in the country, Malaysia Nanban reported.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Abdul Rahman Suliman said the Government had used various mechanisms to help the Indians and to ensure that the targeted 3% equity ownership by the community during the Ninth Malaysia Plan period was achieved.

He said various efforts had been taken to increase the participation of Indians in the economy and help uplift their economic status .

Abdul Rahman, replying to a question from K. Devamany (BN – Cameron Highlands) in the Dewan Rakyat, said the mechanisms included Perbadanan Nasional Berhad investment schemes, expanding access to financial assistance, and training for entrepreneurs as well as providing business licences to encourage them to venture into business.

Malaysian minister slams pro-Hindraf campaign

Kuala Lumpur: A candlelight vigil at Hindu temples to protest the detention of five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has been condemned by Malaysian minister of Indian origin S Samy Vellu.

The sentiments of two million-plus Hindus had been hurt by the "desecration of a place of worship", Works Minister Vellu said on Sunday.

"Hindus do not use candles in temples ... we use the kuttu vilaku (oil lamp).

From the feedback I got, (other) Hindus are very unhappy over this," Vellu was quoted as saying by The New Straits Times on Monday.

Five leaders of Hindraf were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) after they organised a protest rally on November 15 last year.

The government has charged them with having terrorist links, a charge they have denied.
The government had declared the rally illegal and dispersed it.

Thirty-one participants are being persecuted for "threatening peace".

Hindraf claims to speak for the two million Tamil Hindus, while the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) that Vellu heads speaks for the ethnic Indians who form roughly eight percent of Malaysia's 27 million population.

Other groups among ethnic Indians include Telugus, Malayalees, Sikhs and Hindi-speaking people from north India.

Political overtones are discernible in the debate with The Star saying that all parties are preparing for early general elections.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, during an interview on CNN, "confirmed for the first time that he was going to go for an early polls to seek a fresh mandate. He even said that the elections would be held before May", The Star said.

While Vellu and his MIC are part of the Badawi led coalition Barisan Nasional, there are also pockets of support among ethnic Indians from some other parties, including Gerakan and Democratic Action Party (DAP). Some Hindraf leaders belong to DAP.

Convert someone only when he truly believes

Last minute conversion while a patient is dying is not an uncommon phenomenon.

Ask anyone who has worked in a hospital before, they will tell you this.

Sometimes when a person is very ill, there will be certain religious workers (not from the dying man’s faith) coming to visit him , comforting him and perhaps even praying for him .

Sometimes the dying person is asked to pray together with them. Often this is done when the dying man’s relatives are not around.

SO when the person dies, a dispute can sometimes occur. Those workers will come forward and claim that the dead man has embraced their faith at the last minute, and very often it is their words against the relatives words.

When a person is very ill, he might not be in the right frame of mind to decide whether he should stick to the faith that he has believed all his life, or changed to the faith that those preachers are preaching.

Very often he would allow these people to pray for him out of courtesy , out of apprehension of death or, simply, he is so ill he does not know what is really going on around him.

It is really inconceivable to think that a person will abandon something that he has believed all his life all of a sudden and embraced the new religion.

It is also inconceivable that he can understand and believe in something within such a short time.

When there is a dispute arising out of this, the people that suffer most will be the spouse and the family.

All religions profess compassion. No religion would want to cause such great sufferings and sadness to the family .

It is only the action of the overzealous followers of religions, who may just follow the form but not the true spirits of their religious teachings, that is causing so much of sufferings and bitterness.

God would not condone this.

God would not want a family to be separated, either in life or in death.

A reader who is also a fellow blogger under the name of “A True Malaysian” said it all.

I feel miserable with this kind of thing happening.

When a husband passed away, irrespective of what his religion or belief, his body should rightfully goes to the custody of his wife / family. This is only fair.

What kind of funeral rite to be performed over the body should be decided by his wife / family, definitely not by third party.

By all means pray for the dying person.

By all means do all the good deeds to help him. But if ever he wishes to be converted in his death bed, please let the family know in advance.

It would be better to try to convert someone when they are healthy and kicking, so that they are in the right frame of mind to decide whether there is anything in the new faith for them to abandon their old faith and convert.

To convert someone just for the sake of converting or for the sake of statistics is not what God wishes.

If you wish to convert someone, you must make sure that he really understands and fully believes in the teachings of that particular faith.

Otherwise, you may keep his body there, but his heart will be somewhere else.

This is not what religion is about.

Boycott the Newspapers initiative

Hi all,

Would really appreciate it if you could help spread the word around for Boycott the newspapers initiative.

We have officially launched a Boycott against the MSM newspapers. Checkout the link below.

We are trying to get people to start by Boycotting on Tuesday for starters. The tag line is 'Paper Free Tuesday'

Apart from that, we have launched an online petition. Please click the link below to access and read the petition and hopefully support it by signing it online.

Would be really great if we can reach out and have the support of all Malaysians in this initiative.
First thing would be to read and sign the petition online.

Next would be to refrain from buying the lies these MSM newspapers are feeding us and make them realise that we can think and we refuse to be exploited and have our intelligence insulted by people who have shunned away their responsibility to provide the truth in an impartial manner to us.

Apart from that, you can always check The People's Parliament for more info and participate in the discussions by raising up your voice in the comments. Below is the link for The People's Parliament

Stand up, speak up and be counted.

Janice Boay

Latest Public Statement by Chairman Waytha Moorthy - Whom to Vote

135-3 Jalan Toman 7
Kemayan Square

PRESS STATEMENT 31st January 2008



HINDRAF has always maintained it’s non-partisan stand and has always steered clear of party politics or align itself with any political party including the opposition

However HINDRAF cannot deny it has “Political Friends” both from within the ruling as well as opposition parties who have supported us in our cause for the protection of the ethnic minority Indian rights in Malaysia.

Hence taking into consideration of the upcoming general election, HINDRAF is now forced to advice the Malaysian Indians on “Whom to Vote”.

HINDRAF calls upon the Indian community not to blindly assume that by voting for the opposition political party in the next upcoming General Elections would solve the problems of oppression, suppression, marginalization and permanent colonization of the ethnic Indian community.

HINDRAF urges the political parties to:

a) Be transparent, fair and equitable in the distribution of seats to the Indian candidates both Parliamentary as well as State seats.

b) Make their manifesto extremely clear as to their commitment for advocating and implementing Indian rights should they be elected to lead the next Government.

The 18 Point Demands made and submitted by HINDRAF to the Prime Minister are crystal clear on the needs and thirst of the Indian community to undo 50 years of Political and Socio Economic violations of the UMNO led Malaysian Government.

These points should be the paramount consideration in respect to the Indian needs.

I call upon the interested political parties to immediately engage in talks on the above two crucial aspects as soon as possible so that we can advice the Malaysian Indian community “ Whom to Vote”.

Malaysian Indians have been cheated in the political arena for 50 years by the UMNO led BARISAN Government.

HINDRAF’s leaders have made great sacrifices to relate this message to the Malaysian Indian community.

We will not betray the trust of Malaysian Indian community on HINDRAF’S leadership and will not advice the Malaysian Indians to place “a blind hope” on either BARISAN or the Opposition party unless we are satisfied the above two issues are adequately addressed.

HINDRAF is also happy to engage in dialogue with BARISAN subject to releasing the 5

HINDRAF leaders and accepting HINDRAF as a pressure group.

P.Waytha Moorthy

Currently in London

Rights body: Give Hindraf 5 fair trial

The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), which has been observing the habeas corpus hearing for five Hindraf leaders held under the Internal Security Act (ISA), believes that the five should be allowed to challenge the grounds of their detention.

FIDH representative Laurie Berg said that the five face no charges and have been detained at the government’s pleasure and are only capable of challenging their detention on “narrow technical grounds”.

“The detainees were not even allowed to be present to witness the process of their own cases,” said Berg during a press conference organised by the Abolish the ISA Movement (GMI) today.

Berg, a practising lawyer from Australia, observed the entire preliminary hearings of habeas corpus applications by Hindraf leaders - P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and T Vasanthakumar - over the past two weeks.

Counsel for the five, Karpal Singh, had argued in court that the Dec 13 detention order, signed by Internal Security Minister and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, was flawed on technical grounds.

Judicial commissioner Zainal Azman Abdul Aziz said he needed a month to go through the case and will decide on Feb 26 on whether the proper trial would take place.

PM’s word

During the press conference today, Berg shared her thoughts on the case and believed that the five should have been charged for their alleged offences in order for them to defend themselves in an open court.

“At present, the world only has the word of the Prime Minister that these men are a threat to national security,” added Berg.

She added that FIDH, a body recognised by the United Nations, would be publishing a report on the case soon. She said the report would then be used to lobby international support to condemn the use of the ISA.

Lawyer Saha Arunasalam, who represented the Bar Council in watching brief during the habeas corpus proceedings, said the council was of the opinion that the five were illegally detained.

He added that the Bar Council was of the opinion that the use of the ISA was arbitrary, subject to abuse and should be abolished.

“The law has vested so much power in just one person in order to carry out the detention,” said Saha.

90 being detained

The ISA is a draconian law which allows indefinite detention without trial on the sole discretion of the internal security minister.

There are about 90 individuals being held under law presently.

GMI president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said the coalition would be stepping their campaign against the ISA during the upcoming general election.

“We’re going to use every means necessary to educate the public on why the ISA must be abolished.

They must be made to know that the only way ISA can be abolished is through Parliament,” he said.

Hindraf leaders to contest in polls?

DAP leaders are believed to be looking into the possibility of fielding Hindraf leaders detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in the upcoming general election.

Of the five Hindraf leaders held in Kamunting, M Manoharan and V Ganabatirau are the two tipped as possible candidates as they are DAP members.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng when contacted neither denied nor confirmed the possibility.

"I don’t want to discuss candidacy at this point. However, as they are party members, they are definitely qualified to be nominated," said Lim.

In 1978, the party fielded two ISA detainees Chan Kok Kit and Chang Heng Kai in the Sungai Besi and Batu Gajah parliamentary seats respectively.

Both individuals won the seats comfortably, but Lim stressed that they were both incumbents.

The duo were detained for nearly five years under the ISA for alleged communist links that was never proven.

Monaharan and Ganabatirau are by comparison less experienced in the polls. However, the former contested, and lost, once for the Segambut parliamentary seat in 1999.
Support from community

Counsel for the five Hindraf leaders and DAP vice-chairperson M Kulasegaran said he had received many requests from party supporters and the Indian community to push the detainees into the political ring.

This includes nominating Hindraf’s most recognisable face, lawyer P Uthayakumar, as a candidate in Sungai Siput parliamentary seat in a face-off with MIC president Samy Vellu.

"Then again, there are also many who are against this idea because they want the Hindraf leaders to remain solely as an NGO voice," said Kulasegaran, who is also Ipoh Barat MP.

Elaborating, Kulasegaran said the five Hindraf leaders shot to fame not for political reasons but for organising the Nov 25 rally which drew tens of thousands of Indians calling for equal rights and an end to marginalisation of the community.

"They did not hold any political banner. They were there as a common front without portraying any political objectives," he added.

As such, Kulasegaran stressed that the chances of fielding detained Hindraf leaders as candidates would depend on the detainees themselves, public sentiment and the party leadership.
DAP to meet detainees

Another counsel for the five Hindraf leaders, A Sivanesan, told Malaysiakini that DAP leaders are expected to visit the detainees soon to discuss "political matters".

According to Sivanesan, who is also an active DAP member, he had received a letter from Manoharan which indicated that the latter was interested in "playing a role" in the upcoming general election.

Sivanesan was however declined to elaborate on the matter.

In another development, Moharan and Uthayakumar were said to be in "high spirits" following their discharge on Tuesday from the Taiping general hospital following a hunger strike.

Lawyer Edmund Bon, who was part of a Bar Council delegation to the Kamunting detention centre yesterday, said the duo appeared to be recovering from their hunger strike.

(The nine-member Bar Council team, led by vice-president K Ragunath, had visited the detention centre to visit ISA detainees and offer their legal assistance).

Uthayakumar was warded since Jan 24 while Manoharan was warded three days later. Initially, the five were supposed to be on hunger strike between Jan 21 to Jan 28 to protest their detention.

The five Hindraf leaders - including T Vasanthakumar and R Kenghadharan - were detained on Dec 13 for allegedly threatening national security. All five of them have filed habeas corpus applications to challenge their detention orders.

Solidarity Picket in Dublin with Human Rights Activists in Malaysia 28/01/2008

Malaysia has seen a clamp down on Human Rights. Some of those who dared to challenge have been arrested and face serious charges.A solidarity Picket took place today at the Malaysian Embassy at Shelbourne House today.

A brief photo report from a solidarity picket which took place today at the Malaysian Embassy at Shelbourne House, Shelbourne Road in the heart of Ballsbridge.Both the Irish and Malaysian States showed up and expressed an interest in the issue.

Malaysian Embassy staff have a quick look

Hunger Strike, Ipoh

HUNGER STRIKE of the Makkal Iyakkam/ Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA was held just beside the main celebration for Thaipusam @ Kallu Malai. The rock cave was splattered with red paintings of “Mansuhkan ISA” and “Makkal Sakthi” wordings.

Malaysia: Govt Using Islam To Gain Mileage In Upcoming Polls, Says Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday (30 Jan) accused the government of using Islam to gain political mileage in upcoming general elections, causing growing racial and religious tension in multiethnic Malaysia.

Mahathir said government and Islamic court decisions in a spate of interfaith conflicts that have sparked concerns among non-Muslim minorities for their religious rights were driven by political interest, and not based on the true teachings of Islam.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's government, which is preparing for elections likely to be called in March, is worried it may lose votes to the opposition Pan-Islamic Party, or PAS, Mahathir told reporters following the launch of his new book.

"It's no longer religion, it's politics," said Mahathir, who retired in 2003 after 22 years in power.

"If (the decisions) reflect the true teachings of Islam, we will have no problem with non-Muslims."

He warned the situation could be destabilizing as racial harmony is fragile in Malaysia.

Ethnic Malay Muslims, who comprise about 60% of Malaysia's 27 million people, form the bedrock of political support for Abdullah's United Malays National Organization (UMNO) party which heads the ruling coalition.

UMNO's main challenge comes from the PAS, which controls one of Malaysia's 13 states and endorses a hard-line Islamic governing style.

Minority ethnic Chinese and Indians, who comprise the rest of the population, have voiced growing fears in recent years that their religions get second-class treatment.

National debates have erupted over religious disputes prompted by government actions such as a ban on conversions from Islam and the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims. Interfaith court cases in recent years have also usually ended with the Muslim side winning.

While the ruling coalition is expected to win easily in upcoming polls, Abdullah last week said it would not be able to repeat its huge success of 2004 amid public anger over inflation, rising crime and growing racial and religious tensions.

The coalition won 90% of parliamentary seats in 2004 polls, held about five months after Abdullah took over the reins from Mahathir.

Mahathir, 82, renewed his attacks on his hand-picked successor Abdullah, saying he provided weak leadership, confused Muslims with his new concept of progressive Islam, called Islam Hadhari, and that he mismanaged the economy.

Abdullah "didn't show good judgment" in economic policies and should hand over the reins to his deputy Najib Razak after the polls, he suggested.

Abdullah, whose popularity has dwindled, recently launched big-spending development projects to spur growth in rural parts of the country.

He is pinning hopes on strong economic growth to secure another five-year mandate. (By EILEEN NG/ AP)

Why was I arrested? Jonson Chong Jan 30, 08 3:51pm

I was arrested at 4:30 pm on Jan 26, at a food court in the vicinity of Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, Kuala Lumpur.

I was released unconditionally from Pudu Jail (now known as Balai Polis Jalan Hang Tuah) at approximately 10:30 pm on Jan 27 after a magistrate rejected a remand application by the police to further detain me, a lawyer, and nine other people, including PKR’s Tian Chua and PAS’ Dr Hatta Ramli.

Obviously, I was annoyed that I was arrested whilst I was trying to ask the police why they wanted to arrest Tian Chua and Hatta, especially when they were merely having drinks and talking to journalists at that time.

I knew that the over-zealous Special Branch personnel arbitrarily decided to arrest me because I questioned their actions.

I was amazed by how lightly police officers deal with the constitutional liberty of a citizen, not to mention a lawyer, who is otherwise also known as an ‘officer of the court’.

I should highlight here also that I was not informed of the grounds of my arrest at any point of time, whether during my arrest, detention and subsequent ‘investigation’.

Luckily, sense, or maybe conscience, prevailed over the magistrate who heard the remand application against the ten of us who had the same investigating officer.

To the amazement of everyone, including the lawyers who defended all of us, the magistrate said that she was releasing us (unconditionally) because she did not find any evidence to show that the ten of us were linked to the Protes assembly that day.

By the time we walked out of Pudu Jail, I was deprived of 30 precious hours of freedom.

Why? All because I acted to question the arbitrary arrest of two Malaysian citizens who happened to be leaders in their respective political parties.

Politics aside, it is high time all Malaysians take a good look at what is happening to our country.

Do we want to let this go on? When are we going to make a stand and say ‘no more’?

M'sian Hindu woman in row over dead Muslim son's insurance

(The Straits Times) Wednesday, 30 January 2008 -
KUALA LUMPUR - A HINDU woman has spurned an offer by Malaysia's Islamic authorities to settle a dispute over her dead Muslim son's insurance policy in a case that highlights growing conflicts over religious rights, a lawyer said on Wednesday.

The Federal Territory Islamic Council offered Tuesday to give Rukumony Muthiah two-thirds of the 56,300 ringgit (S$24,178) death insurance of her son, a Muslim convert who died in 2000, Rukumony's lawyer Darshan Singh Khaira said.

In his insurance policy, Rukumony's son, Ragu Ellaiappan, whose Muslim name was Mohamed Redzuan Abdullah, named Rukumony as his beneficiary, Mr Darshan said.

But Islamic authorities have argued in court that under the country's religious laws for Muslims, a non-Muslim cannot claim inheritance from a Muslim, he said.

'Our federal constitution guarantees equality so how can you say a non-Muslim cannot inherit from a Muslim, but a Muslim can inherit from a non-Muslim?' Mr Darshan told reporters.

Islamic council officials familiar with the case could not immediately be reached.

The council's lawyers made the offer in High Court in northern Penang state on Tuesday, but Mr Darshan said it was a 'fairy tale offer' that was unacceptable.

Rukumony, a 61-year-old ethnic Indian widow, is willing to settle for 80 per cent of the total sum, Mr Darshan said.

The court scheduled to hear the case Mar 14.

His death certificate says he died of a brain infection at the age of 23, but the family believes there could be more suspicious causes linked to his stint as an army ranger because they have not been shown the post-mortem results, he said.

Malaysia's non-Muslim minorities say a spate of court cases in recent years, involving disputes between Muslims and non-Muslims, have usually ended with the Muslim side winning.

The legal conflicts have strained multiethnic ties in Malaysia, where ethnic Malay Muslims form about 60 per cent of the 27 million people. Ethnic Chinese and Indians, whose faiths include Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism, comprise the largest minorities. -- AP

Police will lose respect of the people

The government is losing its senses and becoming obsessed when it empowers the police to arrest people participating in a peaceful demonstration..

This does not auger well for the image of Malaysia in the international arena as we can see foreign tourists are already passing adverse comments like ‘this government is crazy’ ‘the police are rude and atrocious’ etc.

The police are forced to do their duty as instructed by the government in power. Actually, the police - by their own code of conduct - should only do the right thing to maintain law and order in the nation. In order to sustain their neutrality and dignity, they should not be seen taking sides just to satisfy the ruling party .

If the police continue to harass the people when the people do things peacefully, the police will soon lose the respect and cooperation of the people.

The police must understand that respect and cooperation of the people are an integral part in solving crime which is on the rise in the country. Many high-profile cases are still unsolved despite wide publicity and the police should concentrate on solving such crimes especially kidnaping, rape and the killing of young children.

Its no wonder the country’s crime rate is up as the the police force is instead deployed to curb peaceful demonstrations. The Inspector-General of Police should politely tell the prime minister that the police’s priorities are to prevent crime, solve crime and maintain law and order.

At the recent Protes assembly, the police outnumbered the number of peaceful demonstrators giving a very distasteful image of Malaysia.

It gives the impression that Malaysia is a police state.
This is also evident with the Hindraf 5 leaders, who are themselves lawyers, being detained under ISA on false charges of being terrorists, traitors etc.

Further, it is indeed ruthless of the police to handcuff one of the Hindraf lawyers, P Uthayakumar when he was hospitalised following a five-day fast he and the four other detainees undertook for their release.

The IGP should realise that these men are not guilty of what they were charged with and should recommend to the PM their immediate release from detention.

“Newspaper-free Tuesdays”

That is what People’s Parliament founder, activists-solicitor Haris Ibrahim said this morning, during the launching of the “Boycott Newspapers on Tuesday” campaign, at The Bloghouse, Damansara Heights.
“The consumers should get their money’s worth of balanced news and reporting”, when he explained on the campaign, initiated by a civil society movement, formed on-line.
Haris hoped that the campaign will be carried through on-line by bloggers and websites, although all the mainstream media (MSM) editors were informed of this campaign, via sms, as a mark the of officiating the launch. Since internet have had more user in the country and movement and dissemination of information is seamless and efficient, the MSMs should be more aware of the demand and expectation of the more affluent readership.
According to Haris, lately the MSMs have been acting on the ‘instructions and benefit’ of the Government, despite the alternative medias report stories from an entirely different perspective and focus. When asked how is it different now as compared to five years ago, since broadband internet is already available then, he quipped “No difference!”.
When asked about the impact that they will achieve from the campaign, Haris explained that this is an awareness program and it should be carried on, “…. to ensure that the mainstream medias and newspaper carry balanced and unbiased news and reporting” and “…. the objective is not based on the rumours of the XIIth General Elections, luring around the corner”.
Examples he cited the discrepancies of the MSMs as stated in the People’s Parliament media statement,which was distributed to members of the media and bloggers attended, were:
1. Malaysia Kini reported on 9 October 2007 on the rapid increase of voters registration in Ipoh Timur
2. The 10 November 2007 BERSIH rally from Dataran Merdeka to Istana Negara
3. The Straits Times (Singapore)’s piece of the Pulau Batu Putih dispute in International Court of Justice, with regards of the Malaysian team’s argument
4. The 25 November 2007 HINDRAF rally reporting
5. The Port Klang Free Zone fiasco, reported in Malaysia Kini 19 December 2007
6. The MIC initiative of “Meet the PM session”, at the Badminton Stadium in Cheras on 21 January 2008
Of course, there was the other issue which he missed out, where The Star unbalanced report on the group which demonstrated infront of the Seri Perdana and again, Kuala Lumpur Court Complex, Chief Editor of a major English daily practicing plagiarism, Chairman of the same major English daily lied and biasness of a Chief Editor in his weekly major English daily column.
This is not the first time there is a boycott campaign against the MSMs. In the 90s, the Oppositions launched campaign against the MSMs, especially after former Anwar Ibrahim was sacked from Cabinet and UMNO on the 2 September 1998.

No prize for cross country winners for wearing shorts

"What is happening to our country" Can Pak Lah into this problem or still goes to his deaf ears.

STUDENTS of a Vision School in Kampung Jawa, Klang, who won a cross-country race did not receive their prizes because they were wearing shorts, Tamil Nesan reported.

It said the secondary school students who reached the tape after them were given the prizes instead, prompting parents to lodge a police report against the school administration.

The prizes were given to only two students who finished among the top 10 in the 5km cross-country race organised by the school on Saturday.

A parent, V. Suseela, 47, said that it was accepted practice for athletes to wear shorts in the international arena.

She said the school had also tried to use flimsy excuses like failing to get the ribbons at the designated spots and that the numbers pinned on the shirts were torn to disqualify the students.

Another student was disqualified for being bald.

Life as a secret Christian convert

Abandoning Islam for Christianity is such a sensitive issue in Malaysia that many converts find themselves leading a secret, double life.

If people know that I've converted to Christianity, they might take the law into their own hands. If they are not broadminded, they might take a stone and throw it at me."

Maria - not her real name - is a young Malaysian woman who has lived a secret and sometimes fearful life since she converted from Islam to Christianity.

Apostasy, as it is known, has become one of the most controversial issues in Malaysia today.

Maria became a Christian over a decade ago when she was 18. She says no-one forced her to convert, that she made the decision after studying different religious texts.

If my family find out I am no longer a Muslim they will completely cut me off

Conversion is deemed so sensitive in Malaysia that even the priest who baptised her refused to give her a baptismal certificate.

And, even now, the church she attends asked her to sign a declaration stating the church is not responsible for her conversion.

"My church says if the authorities come, they are not going to stand up for me. I have to stand up for myself," she said.

Not even Maria's family know she has converted.

"If my family find out I am no longer a Muslim they will completely cut me off. That means my name in the family will be erased.

"I could migrate, but the problem is I want to stay in Malaysia, because this is my country. And I love my family. I just want to live peacefully."

Heated debate

Malay-Muslims make up 60% of Malaysia's population. The rest are mostly Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.

But many Malaysian Muslims believe that people like Maria pose a threat to Islam.

And the debate between those who say Maria should have the right to officially convert, and those who are against apostasy has become so heated that the prime minister has asked both sides not to discuss sensitive religious questions in public.

If the authorities find out, I will be in big trouble
Fearful of what could happen, Maria would only talk to us on the phone from the privacy of her car.

She is very aware of the possible consequences of her decision to become a Christian if she is discovered.

"If the authorities find out, I will be in big trouble. They will create hell between me and my family, and hell in my life so that I will no longer get any privileges or employment."

Her fears are not unfounded. Another convert - Lina Joy - has been forced to go into hiding since her case went to court.

And at least one of the lawyers involved in that case has had a death threat against him.
Apostasy order

An apostasy order has to be granted for docmentation to changeBoth Lina Joy and Maria want to make their conversion legal.

That means changing the identity cards that state they are Muslim.

Until now, the state has refused to do this until an apostasy order is granted from the Sharia court.

But both women claim they are no longer Muslim, so why should they go to the Sharia court?
For Maria there is a lot at stake. She has a boyfriend who is also a Christian and knows she is too.
The couple want to get married. But while Maria is still officially a Muslim, the only way they could wed in Malaysia would be if he converted to Islam.
And Maria's family - unhappy with her choice of partner - are pressuring him to do just that.

Crucial time

Maria is tired of living a double life.

"It's very frustrating," she tells us tearfully. "It means I have to limit my scope with friends.

"I have to be able to completely trust someone before I dare to reveal myself.

"I know some other secret converts, but I never keep in touch with them.

"I can't let my network widen, because you don't always know who you are dealing with."

I feel that I am all alone in this struggle

MariaOnly a tiny number of people have converted from Islam in Malaysia.

But the coming months will be crucial for them because a decision is expected in the case of Lina Joy.

The outcome of that case may well determine whether Maria will be able to live the life she dreams of - to be married to her boyfriend and live openly as a Christian.

Right now she can't imagine it.

"I feel that I am all alone in this struggle," she says, "and I am frightened because I am alone against the odds."

Makkal Sakthi fever hits Penang

Makkal Sakthi (People Power)!” thundered speaker after speaker.

“Valga (Long live)!” roared back the crowd.

I thought I would check out the atmosphere at the DAP ceramah at the Penang Chinese Town Hall in George Town tonight to gauge the mood among voters. The theme: “Bebaskan Hindraf 5 (Free the Hindraf Five).”

When I arrived at the hall at around 8.00pm, it was full. More people were arriving and soon they were spilling out of the hall, where two screens had been put up for those outside to watch the proceedings.

The total turnout was around 3,000, including the few hundred outside the hall.

This was not your typical DAP ceramah. I had covered ceramahs in Penang, including those held at the Chinese Town Hall, for some years - but this was unlike anything I had seen.

Instead of an 80 per cent ethnic Chinese crowd, this time Indian Malaysians made up more than 90 per cent of the crowd. Instead of speaking in English and Chinese, the DAP speakers spoke largely in Malay and Tamil and some English.

The Chinese Malaysians who turned up looked bemused and a bit taken aback to find themselve in a minority this time. One Chinese woman, a stranger, turned to me and remarked, “After 50 years of Independence, you have finally woken up” - which sounded a bit strange; she was talking as if I represented the entire Indian Malaysian community in the country!

I was more interested in observing the crowd. Of course, the middle-class were represented, but

I saw many, many men and women who looked like they had come from tough or difficult backgrounds, the lower-income group. Were they manual labourers, casual workers, factory workers or unemployed, I wondered.

Many of them looked like they were coming to a political ceramah for the first time.
How many of them were actually registered voters?
All the same, they seemed eager to snap up reading material such as The Rocket and Aliran Monthly, which were being sold outside.
I saw a few young Indian Malaysian men wearing the familiar red and pink Abolish ISA badges.

You could almost feel the air of excitement hanging over the crowd.

The DAP made a conscious effort to project the Indian Malaysian faces in their ranks such as Karpal, Kula, Prof Ramasamy, Guna, Sivanesan and Rayan. Also on stage were Kit Siang, Guan Eng, Chong Eng and was that Jeff Ooi?

Guan Eng told the crowd he had asked quite a few Hindus what they were praying for on Thaipusam and they replied, “For the release of the Hindraf Five.”

“But what did Abdullah Badawi give you?” he asked. “A public holiday!”

He also poked fun at Lingam’s “it looks like me; it sounds like me”.
The crowd laughed, knowingly, at the farce.

As for the detained Hindraf leaders who are now on a hunger strike, the joke going around is that if ever Uthayakumar, who is a diabetic, needed a blood transfusion, the authorities would be wary of appealing to the public for blood donations. That’s because they might have to call in the FRU to control the thousands who would turn up to donate blood!

All the DAP speakers received a rousing welcome as they entered the hall, including a big cheer for Karpal, who is the senior lawyer for the detained Hindraf leaders. Karpal, speaking while seated on stage, told the crowd the DAP was “adopting” Makkal Sakthi.

To me, there are pros and cons of a popular movement such as Makkal Sakthi being institutionalised as or within a political party. We saw that during Reformasi, when Keadilan was set up to institutionalise the movement and take the struggle to a political level.

An anonymous popular movement is spontaneous, dynamic and organic, representing “people power” from the bottom up.

In contrast, a political party tends to be structured and organised while decisions are made at the top. This makes it less spontaneous and more predictable. It also makes it easier for tacticians in the Barisan Nasional, who have mastered the art of our unfair electoral process and campaigning, to read and analyse and deal with during the general election.

That is why reformasi was exciting and unpredictable and dynamic, but once it was institutionalised within a political party (Keadilan), the movement lost some of its dynamism and spontaneity.

In fact, my guess is that the BN would be much more comfortable dealing with opposition parties than with anonymous popular movements such as Reformasi and Makkal Sakthi.

Still, I suppose political parties have a role to play in putting across the people’s aspirations into the official policy formulation process. But it would be a great pity if the politicians were to take over in such a way as to leave the people - who have only just tasted a sense of liberation from their metaphorical shackles - feeling disempowered once again.

Okay, back to the ceramah: Karpal also informed the crowd that there was a high probability that Guan Eng would stand as a candidate in Penang in the general election.

Outside the hall, a couple of DAP volunteers at a desk were giving out forms to those who wanted to sign up as polling day volunteers to assist the party. About half a dozen young Indian Malaysians were busy filling up the forms.

I asked the DAP volunteer at the desk how many people had signed up. She flicked through the stack of forms and counted around 30. Others had taken forms, promising to return them later, she said.

From the back of the hall, I could see the a sprinkling of folks who had come in the orange attire of Makkal Sakthi, including the Makkal Sakthi T-shirts.

A visitor from KL marvelled at the mood here in Penang, which he said seemed more enthusiastic than in KL. “Perhaps it’s because the folks over in KL have quite a few different events to choose from.”

I left the ceramah before it ended, convinced that there has been a major swing within the Indian Malaysian community.

On my way back, I walked past the Pitt Street Corner Bar, a stone’s throw from the Chinese Town Hall. It is usually an oasis for those seeking “refreshments” on a Saturday night. Today, it looked rather quiet - a few empty seats around metallic tables inside - despite the presence of a large crowd nearby.

Even as more Malaysians were being detained in KL earlier today, the mood in Penang - at least among these 3,000 people - was one of newfound strength and solidarity in a community that has awakened from it slumber.

More than that, a sense of empowerment has descended on the people - a feeling that I can and will make a difference, and what I do really does matter.

And this mood was infectious. Even the Chinese DAP volunteers outside the hall found themselves calling out, “Makkal Sakthi!“


Would Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu be dropped?

Would Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu be dropped as a Barisan Nasional candidate in the next general election?

This question does not sound so far-fetched and unthinkable now as the query which I posed a fortnight ago as to whether Samy Vellu would back out of contest in Sungai Siput in the next general election during my two-day 14-place "whistlestop" campaign in Perak to highlight the DAP national general election theme of "Good Cops, Safe Malaysia".

I had said on 12th January that Samy Vellu had become the lightning rod of the long-suppressed anger and frustration of the Malaysian Indians over their long-standing political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious marginalization in the country and the very personification to the Malaysian Indian community of everything that is wrong and unfair about

Barisan Nasional policies in the past three decades which have reduced them into the new underclass in Malaysia.I said:"If Samy Vellu re-contests in Sungai Siput in the next general election expected within 65 days, again leading the MIC election campaign, MIC parliamentary and state assembly candidates throughout the country will face massive rejection by the Malaysian Indian voters.

"Are MIC leaders trying to find a way to convey and convince Samy Vellu that the best service he can do to the MIC after being the MIC President and sole Malaysian Indian Minister for close to three decades is for him to fully absorb the anger and frustration of the Malaysian Indians at the MIC failure to check the marginalization of the Malaysian Indians by accepting full personal responsibility and not contesting in the next general election – thus saving the MIC slate of parliamentary and state assembly candidates from the full wrath of the Indian community in the polls?"

Undoubtedly, my statement a fortnight ago struck a chord in the MIC and there were moves behind-the-scene to prepare for an alternative leadership – which has angered Samy Vellu resulting in the reported sidelining of the MIC leaders concerned.

However, things are moving very fast in the Malaysian political scene with Parliament expected to be dissolved in the next one month – with the political fate of Samy Vellu moving one notch further, from whether he could be persuaded to step down as MIC President and withdraw as
MIC parliamentary candidate in the next general election to whether he would be dropped as a Barisan Nasional candidate in the next general election.

The political weather is getting cold and wintry for Samy Vellu, not only among the Malaysian Indians since the watershed Hindraf rally in Kuala Lumpur on November 25 last year, but also in the Barisan Nasional coalition.

This was why Samy Vellu's answer to my question a fortnight ago, announcing that he would definitely be contesting for the ninth time in Sungai Siput in the next general election, was received with such flak and hostility from UMNO.

Leading the attack on Samy Vellu was the Umno media, Utusan Malaysia, after carrying the front-page headline lead "'Saya mesti bertanding' – Kepala tidak ada mana boleh badan ada lagi – Samy Vellu" on Monday (28.1.08)On the same day, Utusan Malaysia gave double swipe at Samy Vellu with a front-page cartoon "SENYUM KAMBING" and a critical column by Awang Selamat in "Bisik Bisik".The front-page cartoon carried the dialogue: "Samy kata beliau mesti bertanding pilihan raya.

""Jangan terlalu yakin."In the Bisik Bisik column, Awang Selamat said no doubt it was a practice in Barisan Nasional that component party leaders contest in the elections, but questioned if it was appropriate for the MIC president to make a brazen remark in such a tone. The columnist said nevertheless "knowing Samy Vellu's style," the leader's comments did not really come as a surprise.

"But 'political talk' concerning Samy Vellu was really hot last year. The issue now is when will there be a transition of power in MIC," asked the columnist.He pointed out that Umno, MCA and Gerakan have all seen the passing of the baton, but there were no such sign in MIC.

The broad hints that it is time for Samy to leave the political scene were spelt out the next day when Utusan Malaysia eported criticisms from the Umno Puteri leader, Datuk Noraini Ahmad, the Pahang Umno Youth leader, Datuk Khairuddin Yaakob and even the Umno National Vice President Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam – indicating whether Samy Vellu can continue as MIC President and be a candidate for the ninth time in Sungai Siput may no longer be in the hands of MIC or MIC President and will have to be decided by Umno.

This is because Samy Vellu is increasingly regarded not only as a liability to MIC but also to Umno and Barisan Nasional. Who must bear the greatest responsibility for the sharp drop in the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's approval rating among the Indians which plunged from 82% in September 2007 to 38 % in December 2007 if not Samy Vellu?

Dare Samy Vellu publicly assert that he will definitely continue as MIC President and be a Barisan Nasional candidate in Sungai Siput in the next general election and that nobody and nothing in the world can stop him from doing so?Lim Kit Siang

Takeover of newspaper "THE SUN" not political, says Berjaya boss

Vincent Tan denies he's taking over The Sun to curb criticism of the govt

MALAYSIAN tycoon Vincent Tan Chee Yioun says his takeover of The Sun newspaper was motivated solely by business considerations, dismissing widespread speculation that it was due to political pressure.

'This was purely a business transaction. We already own such a big stake, and it only made sense for us to take control,' he told The Straits Times.

Tan Sri Tan's flagship corporate vehicle Berjaya Corp last Friday announced a deal to acquire a near 36 per cent interest in Nexnews from businessman Tong Kooi Ong for RM139.24 million (S$61 million).

The sale of Mr Tong's entire stake in Nexnews pushed Berjaya Corp's holdings in Nexnews to over 54 per cent. The deal effectively ends the five-year media alliance between the two businessmen.

Nexnews is the holding company that controls The Sun, a feisty free tabloid that has become popular in recent years because of its often bold coverage of government corruption, politics and religious issues.

Mr Tong is the majority shareholder of the media group that publishes business weekly The Edge in Malaysia and Singapore.

Forbes magazine last year listed Tan Sri Tan as the 14th-richest Malaysian, with assets of US$380 million (S$540 million).

Financial executives close to the two businessmen say talks are under way for Tan Sri Tan to sell his interest in The Edge back to Mr Tong.

The main cause of the break- up was their disagreement over the newspaper's editorial stance, which had begun to irk Malaysia's political elite, the executives said.

But Tan Sri Tan said he had no plans to significantly alter the paper's editorial stance.
'It will be status quo. But as owners (of The Sun), we would prefer to be friends with everyone,' he said.

Tan Sri Tan started The Sun in 1993, but it struggled financially because it could not draw advertisers. In early 2003, he turned to Mr Tong, who had established himself as a serious media player because of his stewardship of The Edge.

The two men consolidated their respective media holdings under the management of Mr Tong and his team, led by senior journalist Ho Kay Tat.

The new team radically altered The Sun's business model, turning it into a free publication and boosting circulation to the current 265,000 copies daily.

The loss-incurring newspaper company turned a small profit last year by luring away advertising revenue from rivals The New Straits Times and The Star dailies.

In recent years, The Sun has distinguished itself from its two main rivals by its bold coverage of mismanagement at government agencies and municipal councils.

But these moves drew sharp attacks from politicians and government officials, who complained that the paper was prone to championing issues promoted by opposition parties and portraying the government in a less than positive light.

Executives at The Sun say Mr Ho was often asked by officials from the Home Ministry to explain the paper's independent coverage.

Tan Sri Tan has dismissed suggestions that he and Mr Tong sharply disagreed over how The Sun should be managed.

'I have no problems with Tong. Overall, he and (Ho) Kay Tat did a great job to make The Sun the recognisable brand that it is today,' he said

Public holiday won't solve Indian woes

Indians must not be hood-winked by gimmicks

It must have been a great scene – 15,000 Indians from all over the country packing the Cheras badminton stadium in Kuala Lumpur and greeting Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with a thunderous standing ovation and bursting into applause at his declaration that Thaipusam a public holiday for the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

It must have been indeed a great morale booster for the prime minister and more so for MIC president,Datuk Seri Samy Velu,whose credibility has been seriously undermined since the Hindaf rally last November.

Prime Minister aknowledging to applause(Malaysiakini)We are told that busloads of people were ferried to the stadium, entertained by singers and provided food and drinks. I wonder how many of them would have really turned out for ‘An evening with the prime minister’ if they were subjected to the same conditions as the Hindraf protesters on Nevember 25 – no police permits, own transport, police intimidation, tear gas, water canons, arrests and imprisonment?

Large crowd in Cheras Badminton Stadium(Malaysiakini)By granting a public holiday the government and Samy Velu hope the problems of the Indian community will be overcome, at least for another five years.

Is the Indian community so naïve as to believe this simplistic solution to their problems? If that was so then the Hindraf leaders must be stupid for having resorted to their actions, branded as terrorists and jailed under ISA.

The problems of the Indians are more complex and deep rooted to be solved by declaring Thaipusam a holiday.
Their pathetic state of the Indians is due to the accumulated effects of their marginalization in the government and private sectors for over 50 years. They have been systematically denied their dues in the pretext of restructuring society.
In fact the PM says he had to make it a holiday more because of the massive traffic that occurs on Thaipusam day in the Federal capital, rather than giving in to the demands of the Indian community.Furthemore he dare not even declare it a national holiday as requested by the MIC and the Indians community for more than 10 years.
Most Malaysians believe it is more of a political gimmick coming at a time of general elections.
What the Indian community needs now is not another public holiday; many young Indians have more than they need, as they are unemployed. What they need is fair opportunities for education, training, jobs and business. They need fair opportunities in the civil service, police and armed forces.
Selection for recruitment into these institutions and admissions to public universities must be based strictly on merits. They want freedom to practice their culture and religion without official impediment.

In short they want to be treated with respect and dignity as equal citizens in the country they helped to develop.Is this too much to ask from the government they helped to elect and stood by for 50 years?


Picture of Candle Light Vigil Picture of Candle Light Vigil By Hindraf Supporters at Penang Thaipoosam 2008

Children made to clean toilets

JOHOR BARU: Angry parents held a meeting with a school in Taman Daya after their Year Six children were asked to clean the toilets on Friday.

They lodged a police report on the matter on Saturday, prompting the state Education Department to intervene.

Department director Mokhy Saidon together with the headmistress, teachers, and parents of the 20 pupils held a meeting at the school yesterday, with policemen on standby to ensure order.
Special session: Darshiney answering questions asked by Mokhy (sitting) during the meeting at the school in Johor Baru.

During the two-hour meeting, headmistress Siti Latifah Adnan explained that the toilet-cleaning activity was part of a cleanliness competition organised by the Johor Baru City Council.

The school even showed photos taken during the one-hour activity to convince the parents that the activity was not targeted at just a group of pupils. The parents refused to accept the explanation.

After the meeting, a teacher involved in the activity broke down and cried hysterically saying that she loved the children.

Other teachers consoled her and took her out of the meeting room.
Parent M. Anbalagan said instead of studying, his son and a group of other Year 6 pupils were washing toilets.

“This is an important year for the pupils and they should be revising for their UPSR,” he said.
B. Darshiney, 12, said the activity took place during the Moral Education period.

“Other students went for their religious class while we went to the toilet,” the girl added.
Mokhy who later met the press said the problem resulted from a misunderstanding among all parties.

[SOURCE: The Star]

"headmistress Siti Latifah Adnan explained that the toilet-cleaning activity was part of a cleanliness competition organised by the Johor Baru City Council."

"B. Darshiney, 12, said the activity took place during the Moral Education period."

“Other students went for their religious class while we went to the toilet,” the girl added.

Can all of you see the situation here? The Malay students go to Islamic Classes.. but the non-Malays were made to clean toilets!!!

And what does the headmistess say? Cleanliness competition!! So why doesn't she involve the Malays as well for the competition??

British Hindus liken Malaysian government to Taliban

British Hindus are to hold a silent protest outside the office of the British premier this week to highlight the 'new lite-Taliban' policies of the Malaysian government, an umbrella group for Hindus said Tuesday.

The Hindu Council UK (HCUK) said Hindus would present a petition to Prime Minister Gordon Brown Friday to protest the condition of Malaysian Hindus, 'who number two million and are suffering religious persecution' by the government in Kuala Lumpur.

It said Hindu temples have been razed and damaged in Malaysia, 'irrespective of their age' but added that the silent protest was against human rights violations of not only Hindus but also other religious minorities of Malaysia.

The issue hit the headlines in November last year when Malaysian police used violence to break up a march by Hindus in the capital Kuala Lumpur and arrested 31 protesters, five of whom, HCUK said, were still in detention.

The police action was criticised around the world.

Last month, members of the British parliament demanded that the Malaysian government scrap plans to demolish Hindu temples and to allow legitimate protests against it.

In a strongly worded statement, they also urged the British government to take up the matter on their behalf and 'make the strongest possible representation' to Kuala Lumpur.

HCUK general secretary Anil Bhanot, in a statement Friday, likened the Malaysian government's attitude to that of 'the Taliban ideology which destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas (in Afghanistan),' and said it needed to be 'challenged for re-education.'

'We appeal to world communities to help stop the lite-talibanisation of the Malaysia government through trade and other means,' Bhanot added.

Anwar: Competitiveness Ranking Statement Deliberately Misleads

30 Januari 2008
Prime Minister Abdullah's claim that Malaysia is currently ranked 8th in the world in terms of competitiveness is deliberately misleading.

Closer examination of the data reveals that this is true only within the category of countries with a population of 20 million or more According to the full World Competitiveness Report 2007 as cited by the Prime Minister, Malaysia is in fact ranked only 23rd in the world. Fifteen of the twenty-two countries ranked above Malaysia in 2007 have populations of less than 20 million people, while seven of the twenty-two have populations exceeding 20 million.

Malaysia's competitiveness ranking in 2006 was 22nd, and in 1997, it was 17th.

Prime Minister Abdullah's decision to resort to such misdirection is a weak attempt to hide the fact that Malaysia's economic fundamentals have weakened progressively under his government.

Malaysia's competitiveness is plumetting and where once our economy stood shoulder to shoulder with countries like Singapore and Hong Kong, we are now ranked 23rd in the world, they are ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Malaysia is clearly in need of a higher calibre of leadership if we Malaysia is to realise its full potential as an economy of global stature.


The Formula for Calculating Inflation

The formula for calculating the Inflation Rate using the Consumer Price Index is relatively simple. Every month the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) surveys prices and generates the current Consumer Price Index (CPI). Let us assume for the sake of simplicity that the index consists of one item and that one item cost $1.00 in 1984. The BLS published the index in 1984 at 100. If today that same item costs $1.85 the index would stand at 185.0

By looking at the above example, common sense would tell us that the index increased (it went from 100 to 185). The question is how much has it increased? To calculate the change we would take the second number (185) and subtract the first number (100). The result would be 85. So we know that since 1984 prices increased (Inflated) by 85 points.

What good does knowing that it moved 85 do? Not much. We still need a method of comparison.

Since we know the increase in the Consumer Price Index we still need to compare it to something, so we compare it to the price it started at (100). We do that by dividing the increase by the first price or 85/100. the result is (.85). This number is still not very useful so we convert it into a percent. To do that we multiply by 100 and add a % symbol.
So the result is an 85% increase in prices since 1984.

How Does Inflation Affect You?

When people go the the grocery store and see ever higher prices they know how inflation affects them. But when they are feeling more philosophical they might reason that if all wages and prices increased at the same rate it would all balance out in the end right?

Well theoretically yes but in reality it never works that way. Prices of various items all increase at different rates so some people are benefiting while others suffer. Those on fixed incomes suffer the most because the cost of things they are buying increases but their income stays the same.

PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN, Let the world know what we stand for.

There are 3.22 Million Indians in America.
38% of Doctors in America are Indians.
12% of Scientists in America are Indians.
36% of NASA employees are Indians.
34% of MICROSOFT employees are Indians.
28% of IBM employees are Indians.
17% of INTEL employees are Indians.
13% of XEROX employees are Indians.
You may know some of these facts.
These facts were recently published in a German Magazine, which deals with WORLD HISTORY FACTS ABOUT INDIA.

India never invaded any country in her last 10000 years of history.
India invented the Number System.
Aryabhatta invented zero.
The World's first university was established in
Takshila in 700BC.More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects.
The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
Sanskrit is the mother of all the European languages.
Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software reported in Forbes magazine, July 1987.

Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans. Charaka, the father of medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago. Today Ayurveda is fast regaining its rightful place in our civilization.

Although modern images of India often show poverty and lack of development, India was the richest country on earth until the time of British invasion in the early 17th Century. The art of Navigation was born in the river Sindh 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH. The Word navy is also derived from Sanskrit 'Nou'.

Bhaskaracharya calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart.; Time taken by earth to orbit the sun: (5th century) 365.258756484 days. Budhayana first calculated the value of pi, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century long before the European mathematicians Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India; Quadratic equations were by Sridharacharya in the 11th century ; The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 10 6(10 to the power of 6) whereas Hindus Used numbers as big as 1053 (10 to the power of 53) with specific names as Early as 5000 BCE during the Vedic period. Even today, the largest used number is Tera 1012(10 to the power of 12).

According to the Gemological Institute of America, up until 1896,India was the only source for century-old suspicion in the world scientifi community that the pioneer of Wireless communication was Prof. Jagdeesh Bose and not Marconi.

The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra. According to Saka King rudradaman I of 150 CE a beautiful lake called 'Sudarshana' was constructed on the hills of Raivataka during Chandragupta Maurya's time.

Chess (Shataranja or AshtaPada) was invented in India.

Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like cesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones and even plastic surgery and brain surgery. Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India. Over 125 surgical equipment were used. Deep knowledge of anatomy, etiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics and immunity is also found in many texts.

When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization). The place value system, the decimal system was developed in India in 100 BC.


Albert Einstein said: We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.

Mark Twain said: India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most structive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.

French scholar Romain Rolland said: If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.

Hu Shih, former Ambassador of China to USA said: India conquered And dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.

All the above is just the TIP of the iceberg, the list could be endless.

Moral of the story is "DONT BE SLAVE A TO ANYONE"