Address from HINDRAF’s Legal Team Member in the UK at the Penang State Convention 30th Jan 2011

Address to The Penang HINDRAF/HRP Convention on 30 January 2011

Om Sai Ram. A very good afternoon to all of you there and before I address the Conference, may I take the opportunity to congratulate all of you who would have worked very hard to ensure a successful State Convention Day for everyone present. So a round of applause is in order. I am grateful to be sharing a few minutes of your time on an important day with you of all and for that I thank Mr Naragan for inviting me to speak to you.

Without wasting further time, I think some of you may already know me; so for those of you who do not know me, I was born in Penang but I have lived in the UK for many years. For about over a year ago, I have being working with Mr Waytha Moorthy regarding the class action claim which all of you would be familiar with.

As a lawyer, I am interested in the legality of the claim, meaning the arguments we have to build to support our claim against the UK government but more so, I also believe in Mr Moorthy’s conviction to correct the historical injustice that is being felt by our community particularly the marginalised section of our community. I am both honoured and privileged to be working with Mr Moorthy on trying to bring the unprecedented action against the UK government.

Since my last appearance at the first National HINDRAF Convention, as you would have heard from Mr Moorthy, the research for the claim is truly underway.

For the last three months, Mr Moorthy assisted by two volunteers has been trawling through hundreds of files stored at the London National Archives. Each file contains voluminous information and this requires painstaking patience to sieve out the relevant information necessary for our use; to take digital shots of the documents, to convert the documents into PDF documents and then to photocopy those documents for us to work and use as future reference. This stage of the process is slow because first, the working party only includes the two of us and second we feel it important to be cautious in the way we collate our information, as this will form the foundation of our claim and any hasty action by us will delay our claim further. So best to put in the hard, slow slog now then to suffer later.

As some of you know, I have a special interest in the issue of nationality and I have started to read the material we have collected on the issue. I am gaining new information on the point but unfortunately, I cannot share the information with you because what I have read at the moment is a very small piece of a very large picture puzzle and in order to give you a picture that you understand – because at the moment it looks a crazy Picasso painting rather than a Michelangelo Angelo piece – I will have to complete my reading so to pull out the strands that are of use to us and reset the strands to form the tapestry of claim. Can I, by way of encouragement, say when Mr Moorthy and I began discussing the notion of starting the process of the claim about a year ago; our first task was to find the link or chain in law to hold the UK government to account. We were able, through reading books and documents, to find our answer to that question – the discovery that we were British subjects when our ancestors came to Malaya; later we were known as citizens of UK and Colonies; then divided into Strait Settlement and Federated citizens; last upon independence, Malaysian nationals. We are of the notion that the legal chain linking the Indian community to Malaya/Malaysia, the country our ancestors and we regard as home, was broken at the last stage. It is our aim to proof using the ‘broken chain’ theory to show that the UK government, which failed to safeguard the rights of the ethnic Indian group before granting independence to Malaya, directly attributed to the break in the chain. We are convinced that we will find what we are looking for because we have managed to uncover a lot of good information, which appears to go some way to support our notion. But, it will be negligible of me not to warn you that what we are proposing to do is unprecedented as its never been tried or tested by anyone in court; we are entering into unchartered waters. It is pioneering in nature. But, hey, Mr Moorthy only does pioneering actions; so we are prepared to put up a good fight. We have, standing by us, a good legal team ready to act once we find the ‘spark’ be it small or big but enough to emblaze the trail of path for us. So please be assured that we will do our level best for the struggle and together we hope to deliver on the promise that will redress the careless injustice caused to our people.

I want to take this opportunity to say a few words about Mr Moorthy whom I can best describe him as a modest, unassuming realist yet possessing an acute sense of vision for action which has catapulted us from 50 years of insignificance with one historic March that literally liberated us from the shackles of a self obsessed government and lit a sense of self belief, pride and trust in who we are as a race to where we are today. There are those who will not admit now it was just not we as a race, which lacked a voice, but also by those who stood for political change. I, like many, would readily acknowledge that that single ‘catapult’ has touched all of us in a positive way. I therefore totally trust Mr Moorthy’s judgement on where he is about to take us next. Get ready for the best roller-coaster ride of your lives. Long life, HINDRAF/HRP; long life Mr Moorthy and Mr Kumar.

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