Interlok: Thousand ready to sue government

Hindraf supremo P Waythamoorthy issues an ultimatum to the government over the Interlok issue.

GEORGE TOWN: At least 1,000 people will file a joint civil action against the federal government if the controversial Interlok novel is not withdrawn from the Form Five syllabus by this week.

Breaking his silence over the issue, Hindraf Makkal Sakti supremo P Waythamoorthy issued the stern ultimatum to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

“Withdraw the fictitious and seditious Interlok from the education curriculum immediately or face a people’s civil action,” he said.

Waythamoorthy said Hindraf had some 1,000 people ready to file the suit to seek the withdrawal of the novel written by national laureate Abdullah Hussain.

He said the civil action would also seek a court declaration condemning the novel for allegedly sowing the seeds of racial hatred.

In view of this, Waythamoorthy said the Cabinet must make a decision, during its weekly meeting tomorrow, to revoke the book.

He warned that Hindraf would carry out a cohesive campaign to mobilise thousands of its supporters, both here and abroad, to force the issue if the Cabinet decided against the withdrawal.

He also claimed that the government’s sanction of a flawed, fictional and racially slanted novel as a compulsory study material underlined Umno’s “racist” agenda.

Why is Pakatan silent?

Waythamoorthy pointed out that no rational government would sanction a novel containing demeaning and degrading elements about a certain community for study in schools.

“The novel will only create disunity and misunderstanding among students but will also plant seeds of hatred, contempt, mistrust, ill will and hostility among students,” he said.

He also chided the government for dragging its feet even though there had been an uproar against the novel.

“Yet all the Umno government does is hold endless dialogue sessions with its Indian mandores and suggest various assuaging formulas, instead of making a straightforward decision to withdraw the novel. It’s a typical Umno delay tactic,” he said.

In the interim, he said, students would be compelled to read this racially tainted book for exam while Umno hoped to ultimately sweep the issue under the carpet.

He reminded the government that a curriculum philosophy was to contribute to an individual’s holistic development of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual growth by imparting knowledge and skills, fostering healthy attitudes and instilling accepted moral values.

“But, in contrary, this fictitious and seditious Interlok novel will contribute to producing bigoted attitudes among the young,” added the London-based activist.

Waythamoorthy also took a swipe at Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders over the issue.

He said Hindraf was equally disappointed and upset with Anwar for claiming that Interlok did not contain any racial elements.

He also questioned other “multiracial” Pakatan leaders for being absolutely mute over the issue.

“Their deafening silence over such an important issue does not augur well for our multiracial nation and ethnic Indian community,” he said.

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