(See Nam Naadu 13/5/13 at page 13)
As we were bringing down the shutters at our Kota Raja Bilik Gerakan after losing even our deposit at P111 Kota Raja and N49 Seri Andalas in the 13th General Elections, right before my very eyes stood Mariammah (19) one of our supporters, a fourth generation Malaysian born 5 feet 10 pretty young lady but denied even her very birth certificate.
Mariammah was denied even primary school education or a sweeper’s job in a factory because she is stateless. During our campaign we took note that the SJK(T) Batu Ampat Tamil school at Kota Raja explicitly put up a notice at their main gate stating that (under the UMNO government institutional racist policies) Indian poor children without (read denied) Birth Certificates will not be admitted. The same policy applies in all the 523 Tamil schools nationwide. What more in all national schools nationwide. The irony is that even the Myanmar Muslim Rohingya refugee children get to attend school in Malaysia. (See New Straits Times 7/5/13 at page 5)
Mariammah is not alone. Our estimate based on reported cases is that there are about 450,000 stateless Indian poor like her in Malaysia. My crushing defeat and losing my deposit is one thing. But my bigger concern is who seriously champions Mariammah and the 450,000 stateless Indian poor cause in Parliament? Siti Mariah? Anwar Ibrahim? Lim Kit Siang? Hadi Awang? Karpal Singh? Sivarasa Rasiah? Charles Santiago? Kulasegaran? Of course Prime Minister Najib Razak and the 133 UMNO/BN MPs being a foregone conclusion.
Institutionalised racism targetting especially the Indian poor by both sides of the political spectrum appears to be the order of the day (visit www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com for daily reporting on this racism). Unless and until Pakatan adopts policies to outlaw and criminalise all forms of institutional racism, whether Rama or Ravana rules, it is going to make no or very little difference to the Indian poor.
Based on similar fact cases, not being able to legally get married, we can foresee Mariammah getting pregnant out of wedlock in a few years or so, having 2 or 3 children by the time she is 25. By which time her man may have dumped her for another lady. And all Mariammah’s children would also became stateless. Poverty breeds poverty. Mariammah’s misery would continue for the next 50 years or so or until she earlier ends her life, by committing suicide after giving poison to all her children like in the case of Seetha from Klang. (Note: The suicide rate among the Indian poor is 600% higher than in the Malay community).
These were my thoughts as we were leaving our Kota Raja Bilik Gerakan after the 15 days of intense campaigning. With a heavy heart, my wife Indra and I drove back to our home at Pantai Hill Park. As I was walking into my room cum study my daughter Puvanees remarked that I am “back to my cacoon.” After a shower and having settled down and while having my dinner leisurely, one Pushpagantah’s (61) neighbour Rani frantically telephones to inform me that Pushpagantah’s son Kanapathy (19) was murdered, believed to be by an Ah Long. Rani’s husband himself is in jail together with four other Indian youths for allegedly burning alive an Indian youth in his car (Rani has four children to feed). The two race policy 1 Malaysia denying the Indian poor equal rights and equal opportunities is the main cause for this new emerging Indian criminal trend.
I could hear Pushpagantah’s family members wailing in the background during the phone call. Rani, Pushpagantah’s and Mariammah’s plight is the latest classic, critical and chronic tip of the iceberg plight of the Indian poor in Malaysia. Why didn’t they call Siti Mariah or Pakatan of MIC?
Third generation Malaysian born Pushpagantah is plagued with multiple problems. She was denied citizenship and denied even a cleaner’s job in a factory as all her life as she has been denied citizenship and issued with only a red identity card. Because of diabetes, Pushpagantah is fast losing her eyesight and is short of hearing. Plagued by poverty and in a not so caring and civil society, her husband had became a mental patient. The three month rentals for her two bedroom low cost flat is not paid. Her electricity and water supply has been disconnected as she could not afford to pay her bills. Her son Samy is in jail for alleged gangsterism. Her pretty young daughter Mala (16) left home in her school uniform, eloped, got pregnant and returned home with a baby boy. When asked for her mobile phone number Pushpagantah showed us her little phone book which happened to have an Ah Long’s (Loan Shark) phone number. When I asked Pushpagantah, she said that she had taken a loan from the Ah Long to start off her door to door Indian joss stick sales. (Note: The billions & millions of ringgit loans disbursed by AIM, TEKUN, MARA, PNS, Yayasan, etc by both the UMNO/Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat state governments that does not flow down to Pushpagantah and hundreds of thousands of Indian poor even though they fall within the ambit “needs based policy” of at least the Pakatan Rakyat state government policy and the 1 Malay-sia UMNO /BN government policy. for persons like Puspaganthah the institution they turn to are the Ah Longs!
Like most Indian poor Pushpagantah is handworking. They do not expect anything for free. On a weekday last month at about 10.30 pm, we had actually bumped into Pushpagantah in Sentul just after her door to door sales. We are yet to see one poor Malay, Orang Asli, Kadazan, Iban or Chinese forced to work like Pushpagantah in order to put food on the table even at the advanced age of 61 years. Pushpagantah has no village safety net to go back to or to fall back on unlike almost all the poor Malays, Orang Asli, Kadazan, Iban and the odd Chinese poor.
Even at 61, Pushpagantah asks our help to get her a FELDA like land for her to get her family, children and grandchildren out and above the waters. We have no answers for her. Had Pushpagantah been Aminah, we could have easily picked up the phone, spoken to the Director General and secured her a plot in one of the 1,021,346 places of ten acre land ownership scheme in FELDA, FELCRA and RISDA alone.
After five minutes on the same nite, another frantic call comes in that there is a fight going on between the deceased’s relatives and the deceased’s friends about the murder. Helpless, we could only tell them to call the police at 911.
The next morning before even I walked into my office, Pushpagantah, her daughter in law and Chitra the widow of murdered victim Kanapathy who became a mother at 17 and now a widow by 19 were already waiting and sitting at our doorsteps. Pushpagantah needed a shoulder to cry on. We let her cry and shared her grief. She cried uncontrollably. We called up the Investigating officer ASP Muthu of the Selayang IPD who assured us that three (3) suspects had already been arrested and that they would be prosecuted within fourteen days. I felt helpless as there was nothing I could do.
Even as I had lost the last chance to raise, champion and possibly even resolve to some extent these chronic Indian poor problems at the highest political level, ie at Parliament, some 92% of the Indian voters in Kota Raja did not vote for us. The wave of Malaysian voters hungry for change, were voting for the party and not the individual candidate.
Also thanks to traitor and sacked former Hindraf leader Waytha Moorthy joining Barisan Nasional on the “eve” of the General Elections. Be that as it may ab initio the Hindraf struggle was a principled struggle against institutionalised racism by both UMNO/BN and also Pakatan even if we have to lose in the elections. We knew what we were getting into. Having to fight the uphill battle with two giants and one traitor at the same time, irrespective we had to do it. We had no choice. Neither do we regret the same now. It was all in the name of the original Hindraf struggle. We accept the verdict of the Kota Raja voters, and the Hindraf struggle will continue as long as the institutionalised racist policies by UMNO/BN and Pakatan continues and the genuine greivences of the Indian poor remaining unresolved.
Judge Ahmad Zamzani Mohd Zain made the order after granting deputy public prosecutor Nor Azlina Rasdi’s application.
Uthayakumar’s bailor told the court that he received Uthayakumar’s medical certificate dated April 3 to May 17 on April 4 and was told to submit it to the court today.
Uthayakumar is charged with publishing a seditious letter in the “Police Watch” website between Nov 15 and Dec 8, 2007.
The offence under section 4 (1) (c) of the Sedition Act carries a maximum RM5,000 fine or three years jail, of both, on conviction.
Uthayakumar is contesting in the Sri Andalas state and Kota Raja parliamentary constituencies in the May 5 general election.
On 25th November 2007, from an unknown NGO the name Hindraf came into the limelight as an organization fighting the struggles of the Indian poor after their blood stained street rally which resulted in many awakenings within the mainstream politics in Malaysia.
The name P.Uthayakumar is in fact synonym with Hindraf and today the de facto leader has got no choice but to resort to politics in establishing the continuation of Hindraf’s existence.
Speaking to Malaysia Edition during a recent interview, Uthayakumar was in his usual mood of confidence and seen highly motivated in presenting himself as an independent candidate at the DUN Seri Andalas and the Kota Raja Parliamentary in the May 5th General Election.
Contesting under the political wing of Hindraf, the Hindu Rights Party candidate claimed that since his plight and principles in advocating a nation free of constitutionalised racism and discrimination was ignored and rejected by both the Pakatan and BN, he had to resort to politics as a platform to make his voice heard. “Both the Pakatan and BN have failed us as you can see there are still cases of Hindu temples being demolished on a daily basis and people like Lim Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim seems only have recognized and manipulated my popularity and not my plight and principles for their personal aspirations in politics. Besides they refused to allocate even a single seat for Hindraf this time although it’s a fact that the 2008 political tsunami was largely due to the rise and support of Hindraf”, said Uthayakumar when asked about his candidacy at the DUN Seri Andalas.
Speaking on the same note, Uthayakumar said its not too late for the Pakatan rakyat to withdraw both its candidate at the DUN Seri Andalas and the Kota Raja Parliamentary as he is prepared to pledge his support and influence as a candidate under the Pakatan banner himself.
To a question on the latest endorsement of Hindraf as a “Rakan BN” by the Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak , Uthayakumar was furious with some of the self-proclaimed leaders of Hindraf such as Waythamoorthy and W. Sambulingam who have openly welcomed and accepted the recognition of Hindraf as a ‘Rakan BN’. “Being the initiator and the pioneer of Hindraf, I don’t recognize these so called Hindraf leaders as they have proved to be manipulators and opportunist under the shadows of our true principles and plights of demands. When I was a free man rallying on the streets, they were nowhere to be seen but the moment I was incarcerated they emerge to make their presence felt as leaders. One of them in fact ran away to London fearing incarceration but eventually returned only to run away again but this time into the BN camp”, said Uthayakumar sarcastically pointing at Waythamoorty who spend years in exile in London.
Uthayakumar was asked on his preference to contest at the DUN Seri Andalas and the Kota Raja Parliament to which he answered, “its for a very obvious reason as this is the constituency with the highest concentration of Indian voters especially at Seri Andalas at 36%, so if I were to be relevant as a champion of the Indian rights then it can only be kick started here”.
Since the Indians voters are expected to be divided in their choice of preferred candidate with the likes of T.Mohan from MIC and Dr Xavier from Pakatan gunning for a victory at Seri Andalas, Uthayakumar was asked on the possibility of a lose-lose situation to which he said,”I have been to the grounds and I have convincing reasons to believe that I should be able to garner more than 90% of the Indian votes here regardless of whom I’m facing. Furthermore, Hindu Rights Party is unique in its own way as we don’t pretend to champion the minority rights like the others but we are genuinely advocating such motion with our 18 point demands in line with the core principles of Hindraf although those opposing me might be talking about the lack of political mileage in HRP”.
Talking about his chances of capturing both the DUN and Parliamentary seats at Seri Andalas and Kota Raja respectively, Uthayakumar said given the three horse race situation he is confident that the anticipated split in votes would favor HRP and its true nature of existence in fighting racism and racial discrimination will also ignite the voters’ sentiment towards him.
When asked by Malaysia Edition on his confidence of being heard as a winning independent candidate, Uthayakumar stressed that he will loud the first voice against all elements of racial inequality and manufactured discriminations within the ruling of the country as he is not prepared to be yet another ‘Mandor’ for neither BN nor Pakatan.”Being a lawyer myself, I was taught and I hold the principle of championing the course without fear and favor”, he said.
Uthayakumar also voiced that whether he came out victorious as an ADUN or MP, he will always stick to the 18 point demands of Hindraf in eliminating all racial discrimination and deprivation of minority rights in advocating his call for Malaysia to recognize the International Convention against Racial Discrimination.”So far none of the Indian ADUNs or MPs in Malaysia has voiced their objection to Malaysia’s refusal to be a part of this International Convention, so I guess its time for me to gather support for such a course”, said an emotional Uthayakumar.
On the same note of racial integration efforts championed by Dato Sri Najib with his 1Malaysia social empowerment product, Uthayakumar has this to say,”1Malaysia is just a new brand name of racism in Malaysia. For me 1Malaysia still project the malicious agendas of Divert, Dilute and Deny. Whether its 1Malaysia by Dato Najib or the UBAH by Dato Seri Anwar, end of the day they are still products stained with racism and discrimination. If you consider giving an extra packet of rice as doing more for a community then this kind of fake products will sell fast. Only when a Chinese or an Indian qualifies to be the nation’s Prime Minister, products like 1Malaysia will have a merit of application as a social equality concept and until then it’s simply another rose which spelled by any other name but still smells the same”.
The de facto leader of Hindraf also gave a quote of comparison to similar products to 1Malaysia which stands to its genuine implemented application in governments elsewhere.”Just look at the United States of America where you have a ‘black’ man as the head of the ‘white’ house. Furthermore he carries a muslim name in Barrack Hussien Obama and yet he is the President of a country consisting of 90% whites. This is what you call 1America and can you compare such nobility of relevance with the 1Malaysia concept propagated by Dato Najib”? asked Uthayakumar.
By implicating some current self-proclaimed Hindraf leaders as self centered, Uthayakumar also said he will never ever ‘sell ‘the Indian rights for a price as he rather be labeled for being an extremist than a hypocrite or a renegade.
When asked about his strategy to capture the non-Indian votes at Seri Andalas and Kota Raja, Uthayakumar said,”when the voters at both these constituencies vote for me, they are voting against the Hudud laws and if they choose to vote for the opposing parties they are voting for Abdullah Awang Hadi of PAS to be the Prime Minister, its as simple as that and I’m sure the matured non-Indian voters today will decide for a good future”.
The issue surrounding the controversial nomination of Zulkifli Nordin of Perkasa at the Shah Alam parliamentary under the Rakan BN banner was also raised to Uthayakumar to which he explained,”people like Zulkifli Nordin is just the tip of the iceberg as there are worst cases of racism and racial abuse in Malaysia on a day to day basis. If you look at some of the footages online, those words uttered by similar sick individuals elsewhere are 100 times worst than those said by this Perkasa extremist. Knowing the BN government I’m not surprised to see a man like Zulkifli Nordin who is supposed to be talking behind the bars but instead he is talking behind the banners of BN promoting himself as a candidate today”.
In concluding the exclusive interview with Uthayakumar, the largely popular figure of Hindraf was asked about his manifesto and his message to his voters.
“My manifesto is all about the 18 point demands by Hindraf thou I concede that I will be focusing on the Indian poor of Malaysia but I’m not going to be apologetic for saying that since I will always genuinely represent the people who voted for me in their struggles and plight in search of a new dawn of racial equality and discrimination free nation called Malaysia as I believe that to fight for a community to come above the water is not about advocating racism or extremism in any way”, said Uthayakumar in ending his high octane interview with Malaysia Edition.
After the conclusion of the interview, Uthayakumar also revealed that he currently facing a possible jail term as he is being charged under the Sedition Act for for a letter issued to former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, alleging there is ethnic cleansing in Malaysia.
However, the latest update on this news is that today the The Sessions Court have ordered for an arrest warrant to be issued against the Human Rights Party leader for being absent from court.
In a chain of untimely intervention of events in Uthayakumar’s political aspiration, the clouds are looking dark on whether he can still maintain his legal eligibility as a candidate until May 5th as he might be forced to succumb to the legal implications surrounding his reputation as the de facto leader of the controversial Hindraf movement.