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Dec 28, 2007


HINDRAF Demo in KL 195.jpg

LETTERS from the Public

dipetik: policewatchmalaysia

We the Indians of Malaysia, not the privileged and compliant MIC leaders, expect the Malaysian government to produce the evidence of any involvement or links to terrorism or any threat the national security by the HINDRAFF leaders immediately, failing which we demand their release. Secondly, the disfranchised Malaysian Indians ask the Malaysian government to cease providing this misinformation of links to terrorism, internationally. Failure on the part of the Malaysian government to produce this demonising evidence will further remove the credibility of your government, and that of your ministers, particularly those who are entrusted as torchbearers of the judicial systems.

Sir, the right to hold peaceful protests to secure one’s civil and human rights is an inalienable fundamental right, and no law can expunge this right. Any one who attempts to do so, for whatever reason and means , will be condemned as an oppressor violating basic human rights, including political and civil rights .Article 10 of the Malaysian Constitution bestows these fundamental rights. These rights are also enshrined in the various UN Charters and expected to be enjoyed by the citizens of every country irrespective of their race. Your usage of ISA and the Sedition Act to intimidate peaceful protesters is a form of ruthless dictatorship. These Acts were incorporated after the construction of the Malaysian Constitution, and as such their lawfulness in expunging the fundamental rights to peaceful expression of freedom of speech and assembly has yet to be adjudicated in an independent judiciary system. Therefore, to incarcerate the HINDRAFF leaders, as the true voice of the Indian community, without access to fair trial is condemned by the fair-minded Malaysians, and you stand to be judged by the international community as well. You and your government will be responsible and accountable for the consequences of the international communities’ judgment. Further, your Deputy Prime Minster’s comparison of the HINDRAFF leaders to that of arms bearing fighters of Islamic faith is detestable and shows the bankruptcy of political nuance of your Deputy.

Sir, hence your detention of the HINRAFF leaders under the ISA violates the basic rights to peaceful protest, and I ask you in the name of human decency, to release these leaders immediately or charge them through a judicial process, failing which, your Prime Mastership of inclusive governance has to be questioned in the international forums.

Since independence of Malaysia, 50 years ago, the Malaysian Constitutions has been systematically eroded by the Malay dominated UMNO politicians, whereby racial discrimination has come to be well entrenched in law and institutionalised in the daily administration of the Malaysian government. Regrettably the Indian community, as much as the Malaysian Chinese, have become immune to and subjugated under this discriminatory treatment over the years. They have lost sight of their birthrights and their right to be treated as citizens with equal rights. They have become accustomed to this denial of equal opportunities to bring about equal life chances. The educated Indian like me, Sir, can no longer bear this discriminatory treatment based on my race. I too wish to live with dignity with equal rights, not as a discriminated alien in my own country of birth.

We too demand our inalienable right to achieve our full potential as human beings under equality in law. Any discriminatory law that denies us these rights will have to be opposed in the 21st century, and we intend to do this in a legitimate and peaceful manner within the due process of the local and international law.

The UMNO dominated BN government has expediently used unrepresentative persons like Mr. Samy Velu as your point of reference to address the concerns of Indians. As a anointed beneficiary of your racially crafted political system, Mr. Samy Velu, has never shown his capability to advocate for the rights of the Malaysian Indians. Sir, if you continue to use him as the spokesperson for the Malaysian Indians your partnership with the Malaysian Indians is doomed for failure. The BN has positioned Samy Velu and his cronies and rewarded them well. Inherently they have been using their elevated positions to further suppress the rights of the Malaysian Indians, using the misguided principle of tribal loyalty, based on race.

The concept of Bumiputra, used as a tool for racial discrimination, is obnoxious and abhorrent in the present day of human rights. It is an obnoxious label, a notion to identify one race against the Malaysian Indians and Chinese. This concept of “Bumiputra”, ironically a derivative of Indian language, accords an illegitimate position of privilege and racial superiority to the Malays. It gives the Malays the distasteful right to regard Malaysian Indians and Chinese as mere interlopers who simply has to be tolerated and treated as an alien without any birthrights. It gives the Malays the legitimacy to discriminate other Malaysian citizens who are not Malays. To the Malaysian Indians it is another form of colonialism, dominance of one community over another powerless community by virtue of race. This was not the intention of the founders of the Malayan Constitution.

Sir, no more of this unequal treatment based on race. It is time for the Malaysian Indians to challenge their discriminated and marginalised position. With due respect, you as the Prime Minister of Malaysia have failed to appreciate the core frustrations of Indians and have resorted to using of the ISA to oppress the legitimate voice of their concerns. Your defence that you have been compelled to use the detestable laws of ISA to maintain the national security is a feeble and baseless excuse. There is no threat to national security. It is a mere demand of a discriminated section of the community. These demands are made within the ambit of constitutional rights and the Reids Commission. It is a legitimate demand of one section of the community. You avoid addressing the message of grievances, but have chosen to incarcerate the messengers. Is this the virtuous qualities of a national leader? I do not think it is.

It is widely reported that the Malaysian government, particularly the head of the Malaysian Police Force, is linking HINDRAF to foreign terrorist groups and branding HINDRAF as an extremist group. Sensible people like me find these allegations abhorrent and outrageous lies. These allegations are clearly politically motivated and carry no credibility when the HINDRAFF leaders are engaged within the due process of law. The demands of the marginalised working class Indians, in whose origin I hail from in Sungei Siput, cannot be brushed aside as demands of extremist groups. Sir, by the same token one must conclude that every UMNO leader who regularly proclaims the rights and privileges of the Malays to the irks of non Malays, must also be incarcerated under the ISA or else, with due respect Sir, you too must be seen as racially discriminatory in the select application of the ISA laws.

After 50 years of independence the use of ISA on unfounded grounds is not acceptable in a civilised nation. The ISA is akin to the tool of a weak dictator, with no respect to legal procedures. May I remind you, Sir, that it is through legitimate process of constitutional means the HINDRAFF leaders are engaged in, but it is you who have criminalised them for your own weaknesses. The issues were raised on behalf of the million of Malaysian Indians. The leaders are not terrorists, nor do they pose any threat of subverting national security. The Malaysian government cannot brush aside these as terrorist –linked demands or that of fanatical fringe group. These demands are within the norms and ambit of universal human rights, and the process will remain within that legal process, no matter how you and your spin doctors may wish to label the demands.

Sir, on the 25th of November 2007, from the lobby of Coreus Hotel I witnessed the peaceful march of the working class Indians. I saw them carry no weapons of any kind. I saw the peaceful march. I also saw the provocative behaviour of the Malaysian police force, indiscriminately firing smoke grenades into the crowd. I saw, to my dismay, the use of chemically laced water cannons against the peaceful and unarmed marchers. The behaviour of the police is not that of a democratic civilised nation.

The use of the ISA to shut the legitimate voice will not make the issues disappear within Malaysia or in the International forums. People like me, to whom my birth rights has been denied and was compelled to leave Malaysia, in protest against discriminatory treatment on account of my race as an Indian, will continue to voice our grievances. I have chosen to be a unit of a statistical minority community with equal rights enshrined in law in my adoptive country, than to be a treated with discrimination, embedded in law, in my own country of birth. I will continue to speak out in countries near and far of the discrimination practised in Malaysia, so that I may be able return to my own country of birth with dignity and equality in law. Sir, you may well be aware how the synergy of the International Community was energised to end the Apartheid in South Africa. The same legitimate processes can be reactivated.

Sir, in consideration of the above circumstances I ask you with due respect to release the HINDRAFF leaders forthwith, and if they have breached any law they be accorded the right to the due process of law to justify their behaviour .

Yours Faithfully,

Robert K Chelliah
(Ex Kammuning Estate worker)

Related : www.policewatchmalaysia.com website blocked by ISP


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