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Feb 4, 2008

Rising Hindu Activism May Upset Poll Calculations

"Our politicians have betrayed us… only our energy and our god can protect us now," he said echoing the views of the majority of Tamils in the country caught up in a ‘Makkal Shakthi’ (people power) movement.

Analysis by Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 (IPS) - A new political force -- right wing Hindu activism -- has emerged in multi-ethnic Malaysia adding, in an election year, volatility to the country's already religiously charged politics dominated by the majority Malay Muslims.

Across the country, Indian Tamils are mobilising to protest against alleged socio-economic neglect, under the banner of Hinduism in an awakening that is vocal but disorganised providing an open field for opposition political parties to exploit.

Ethnic Indians, who make up about eight percent of the population of 26 million people, complain that majority Malays have used their political power and special privileges to corner for themselves opportunities in employment, education and business.

The Chinese, who first arrived as labourers to work in the tin mines, now form 25 percent of the population and are economically the most vibrant group -- controlling some 60 percent of the economy.

On Nov. 25, ethnic Indians took to the streets en masse to protest against alleged discrimination that resulted in the indefinite detention of five top leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf). more...


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