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Should TN politicos protest Tamils mistreatment in Malaysia without knowing facts?
Whereas many Tamil politicians demand strong protest, BJP wants to take the issue to Commonwealth. But is this protest worth as it is said to be allegedly led by ‘a band of Malaysian lawyers of nuisance value, banded under the guise of HINDRAF’.
TAMIL NADU chief minister M Karunanidhi (MK) last week invited perhaps the most humiliating insult for an Indian leader till date from the Malaysian government. The Malaysian Prime Minister’s office took a routine foot-in-the-mouth act by Karunanidhi rather ill humouredly. Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, a minister in PM’s Department sent out a stern message to India and said; “Don’t meddle in our affairs. This is Malaysia, not Tamil Nadu.” He told reporters at the Parliament lobby, “This has got nothing to do with him ... Lay off!"
 
Nazri Aziz was reacting to reports that Karunanidhi had written to Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh about the sufferings and bad treatment of Tamils in that country. He took exception to the nudging on Tuesday (November 27) by the Karunanidhi to PM for taking immediate and appropriate action to end the sufferings of Tamil people in Malaysia.
 
Malaysian media quoted Aziz as saying; “His place is in Tamil Nadu, not Malaysia. He should worry about his own state. His own state has got problems.” Karunanidhi had appealed to the PM in response to alleged use of excessive force by Kuala Lampur (KL) authorities on a protest march staged by Tamil-speaking Malaysians on Sunday (November 25). The rally was organized by HINDRAF (Hindu Rights Action Force) to mark the handing over of a petition to the British High Commission. All the MPs in Tamil Nadu came to the rescue of the Tamil-speaking Malaysian citizens through the only thing they are good at. They disrupted the routine business in house for one hour to discuss the issue.
 
V Narayanasamy of the Congress lamented that ‘ethnic Indians’ who were demanding rights equal to those enjoyed by Malays were ‘jailed for no fault of theirs when they were agitating peacefully.’ He said that Malaysia gave such rights to ethnic Chinese. Tiruchi Siva said: “Malaysia’s ethnic Indians’ were peacefully demonstrating with portraits of Mahatma Gandhi when police used tear gas and water canons to crush them. Communist Party of India MP D Raja said: “They have become Malaysian citizens but do not enjoy equal rights and their human rights have been violated. The government should take it up in an appropriate manner.”
 
The intelligence level of all these worthies was put in perspective in a debate telecast by CNN-IBN. “It seems as if the parties have not really understood the problem at all,” said Dr Subramaniam Swamy, the professor found to be too hot for IIT who went on to specialize in Chinology at Harvard, in the show. The other participants in the debate were HINDRAF functionary P Waytha Moorthy (Veda Murti as spelt by Malaysians) and Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi, who recently debuted in politics as a Rajya Sabha MP.
 
“It’s not a Tamil issue. The Tamil Muslims are not participating in the agitation,” Swamy elaborated and accused Karunanidhi of being imprudent in making such a huge issue out of the subject. If Subramaniam Swamy had his way, he may well declare the whole state of Tamil Nadu as a mental asylum! Ironically, most Indians know the brilliant economist only as the author of ‘Hindus Under Siege’ rather than for his role in transformation of China from a basket case and Communist outcaste to an economic superpower.
 
He brokered China’s cordial relations not only with US and India but Israel as well. He knows quite well that he owes his position as the sole surviving member cum president of Janata Party, an esteemed player in India’s political circus, only because of demented politics being practiced in the state!
 
The Tamils sure find it difficult to surpass the Kannadigas and Andhrites to occupy the top slot internationally in IT and software business. They may be competing fiercely but fruitlessly to beat the Malayalis in several other aspects. But, when it comes to politics, they are undisputed hands-down winners. The state abounds in political farces called ‘Munnetra Kazhagam’s (Tamil for ‘Progressive Party’). All of them owe their origins to the Justice Party of pre-independence days.
 
Of course, the DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), controlled by former movie scriptwriter and current chief minister Karunanidhi, remains the largest of all the MKs. Most other TN politicians too come up from Kollywood (the Tamil movie industry headquartered at Kodambakkam in Chennai). MK and his son named Stalin (Yes! The Communist tyrant may have been junked in Russia; but not in TN) have a formidable rival in J Jayalalithaa who operates AIADMK. This MK was chipped off DMK by Kollywood matinee idol MGR who became the CM and the chief ministership was willed to his screen queen and heartthrob Jayalalithaa when he died in US. These two MKs have alternated in power by undermining each other and allying with one of the coalition circuses in power in New Delhi.
 
Other MKs in business are MDMK, PMK, TTMK, TMDK, MMK, TMMK, AIMMK, DDMK and AILDMK. They are all actually private enterprises of film stars like Vijaykanth and T Rajendar and have very complex on / off / pause relationship with each other and with one of the main MKs! The reigning Kollywood superstar Rajnikant has kept all these MKs guessing as to which MK he would support. The so-called ‘national parties’ have just formal presence, with only leaders with few followers. They survive through deals with the MKs for mobilising votes during elections.
 
Like the UPA government in Delhi, led by Congress, is alive only with expensive ‘outside’ support of the Left Front to give it a majority, so is the TN government, led by DMK, dependent on expensive ‘outside’ support from Congress. The bit-role MKs are allies of one of the main MKs at the State level and the other main MK at the Central level. For example, Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss belongs to PMK, which is an ally of UPA, but his father and party president Dr Ramadoss is a neck pain for UPA’s ally Karunanidhi at the State level.
 
Now, if you’ve not yet gone crazy with all these details, let us get back to the issue of the humiliating insult that the honourable MPs and Central ministers have shared with the TN goof!
 
The basic fact overlooked in the whole episode involving “ethnic Indians” in Kuala Lumpur is that it was the handiwork of a band of Malaysian lawyers of nuisance value, banded under the guise of HINDRAF. The lawyers have filed a class action suit of USD 4 trillion against the UK government in London and wanted to hand over a funny petition to the British High Commissioner in that connection. The petition asks Queen Elizabeth II to appoint a Queen’s Counsel to represent the Indian community in the suit against the British Government!
 
The jokers claim a compensation of USD 2.2 million from UK to each of the 1.8 million persons of Indian origin in Malaysia. It says that their ancestors were brought as indentured labourers to the then Malaya and were exploited by the white settlers who used them to hunt the locals and tame them. HINDRAF holds the present UK government liable for compensation for the marginalisation suffered by these people in Malaysia. They had collected a mob claimed to be up to 30,000 strong (estimated at 5000 by BBC and 10,000 by AP) without permission to mark the occasion of handing over on Sunday.
 
The mob created traffic jams, blocked roads and closed train stations to reach the rally. Some of the demonstrators carried placards demanding ‘equal rights’ and against demolition of temples erected in illegal land. A strong police force of 5000 officers used tear gas and water cannons laced with chemicals to disperse the mob. They split the protestors effectively into different parts of the city.
 
Unlike in India, road blockades are taken as serious cases of hooliganism in Malaysia. Nazri Aziz stressed that the demonstrators had violated the law as no permit was issued. He had labelled the demonstrators as “penyangak” (thugs) and refused to apologise for doing so. “It’s a mistake to make an apology to them. I cannot accept the action of 20,000 people who want to be involved in a simple action of submitting a memorandum. They can send one person or even 10,” he said. The minister added, “It’s not the Indian community that’s involved but only some samseng (gangsters).”
 
Nazri Aziz was furious that the lawyers submitted a petition to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, 50 years after the country had gained independence from Britain. This petition stated that genocide would occur here with the Indian community being forced into violence like in Sri Lanka if their “cause” was ignored. He fumed, “The HINDRAF memorandum is also a matter of concern because its contents are seditious. I’m sure these matters will also create animosity between the Indians, the Malays and the government. We will take action.
 
These people must be responsible for their actions.” He challenged the critics, “Don’t challenge the government. They can try and hold a rally again and see what will happen.” When asked if the authorities, accused of excessive action, will be reprimanded, he said, “Look at France, whose police used tear gas and even rubber bullets when a demonstration occurred there.”
 
Realising that he had bit more than he could chew, MK soft-pedalled the issue, saying he only had performed his duty as a CM to request the PM to take action to mitigate the sufferings of Tamils in Malaysia." If there is any punishment for doing the duty, I am prepared to accept it," he said meekly. The DMK supremo also clarified that he is not supposed to criticise the Malaysian government. "I don’t want to reply to Aziz’s remarks. I don’t want to get into a tit-for-tat. It is my duty to defend Tamils."
 
Completely ignorant or unaware of the repeated denotation of “plight of Tamils” as well as the climb-back by the DMK boss, the saffron bosses insisted that the central government must go to Commonwealth and UNO for “the ill-treatment being given to Hindus” in Malaysia. “Malaysia is a part of the Commonwealth charter which does not permit any kind of discrimination between the majority and the minority communities there,” said BJP Leader VK Malhotra.
 
In parliament, he said, “The Hindus are being treated in such an inhuman manner, the government must go to the Commonwealth.” External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Rajya Sabha on Friday, “There is a large community of Indians living in Malaysia who are citizens of that country. We have friendly relations with Malaysia and are in touch with the authority there. We are aware of remarks made by a Malaysian minister against the respected Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi.” Manmohan Singh commented, “There is concern whenever Indians or people of Indian origins are affected. I won’t say more because parliament is in session.”
 
HINDRAF has been a non entity so far and its only work had been to delay demolition of encroachments after collecting a small fee from squatters. The tactic, like in India, is to create a temple and make it an ethnic / communal issue. It has attempted to gain credibility by misrepresenting the economic plight of ‘people of Indian origin’ due to discrimination in favour of sons of the soil. It is of note that Malaysia accounts for the second highest numbers of such people, after US. About 80 per cent of them, HINDRAF clientele, are Tamil-speaking descendents of unskilled emigrants brought in to terrify locals with brawn.
 
Understandably, their economic condition cannot be compared with the status of Indian diaspora in US, which filters in only people with highest skills and capabilities.
According to a WIDER (World Institute of Development Economics Research) survey of India, the richest 10 per cent of the population earns on an average 7.3 times the average earnings of the poorest 10 per cent. The misleading campaign that ethnic Indians control just 1.5 per cent of Malaysia’s economy while constituting 7-plus per cent population must be seen in this perspective.
 
According to the Indian yardstick, it would have been under 1 per cent! Moreover, Malaysian has become far wealthier than India with its free market policies. Although India’s GDP may be 13.2 times that of Malaysia, the latter’s population is under 2.5 per cent of India’s. In foreign exchange reserves too, an average Malaysian holds 5-1/2 times as many dollars as an average Indian.
 
More important, the 20 per cent ethnic Indians outside the HINDRAF influence, skilled Malayalis from Kerala, Sikhs brought in as policemen, Sindhis who came as businessmen and Sri Lankan Tamils brought in as clerks, have all done much better. In fact, most foreign-qualified Malaysian doctors happen to be from this segment. “Why must they talk about being neglected? We have more Malaysian Indians studying medicine in Indonesian universities compared with the Malays and other races,” argues environment minister Azmi Khalid.
 
It is time the “nationalist” party BJP realised that Malhotra’s idea of going to the Commonwealth is a perfect no-brainer. Commonwealth is a sort of wealthy sports / snobs club, meant only for sinecures to siphon off some money from UK exchequer regularly. Moreover, the question is of petitioning a crownless queen to shell out compensation for the sin of her 5th generation ancestors who sent Indian labourers to work for white settlers in Malaya to keep locals at bay! And, have inviting intervention from UK under pain of terrorist actions if the demands of the ethnic minority are not met. Will BJP countenance a similar petition to Vatican by orthodox Christians of Goa?
 
India’s “honourable” MPs must note that the unruly mob in KL was only tear-gassed and canon-watered; not fired upon or lathi-charged as in India! It is only by not tolerating blackmail of common people going about their routine business that Malaysia has hurtled past India in development. Manmohan Singh and Pranabda must show the concern they say their government has “whenever Indians or people of Indian origins are affected” to people at home! Let them first look back at the plight of Sikhs and Bengalis and Gujaratis hounded in their own country! The best favour they could do Tamil-speaking Malaysians would be not to encourage troublemakers there, who attempt to spread a barbaric brand of Hindutva with clandestine help from Indian entities!
 
COMMENTS (32)
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NA
Natteri Adigal, it is clarified, is too wooden-headed to form his opinion on any issue. He considers himself beyond – (you can well say he is incapable of understanding!) – what he considers as ephemeral issues like money, religion, rights, duties etc! He only compiles and presents what other people have said about any issue. Most of the opinions in the reports are specifically attributed; wherever there is no attribution, the preceding and succeeding sentences invariably cite the source from which the viewpoint is derived. Adigal subscribes to the Tirukural (Tamil Gita) motto: “One must seek the truth of every issue by analyzing oneself, whoever supplies the data.” This explains why he is so thick-skinned to respond to comments and criticisms. The matter in the case of Malaysia versus the “honourable” netas with 80-plus years of wisdom to their credit, was not just of interference. The 'very concerned' CM and PM are from a country where 'success' of rallies is measured in terms of no of deaths, no of rounds of bullets fired, no of lathis broken, hospitalisations etc! It is question of these worthies crying of "brutality" when an unauthorised rally of 10,000 was dispersed. Maybe the average Tamil-speaking Malaysian does not get as good a life as the Malayan-speaking one. But, look at the plight of Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka (Eelam) or INDIA (Tamil Nadu) compared to others in these countries; HINDRAF appears to be providing a solution far worse than the problem!
not an indian
well, it does take a Malaysian to understand what is going on in Malaysia. For a foreigner like you, you still need to learn a great deal about journalism before posting half baked story... a story no less.. first of all, I am not an Indian Malaysian, but from a Chinese Malaysian point of view, and want to clear things out, please kindly read the points form below - Road blocked done by the government, not by peaceful marchers. several road leading to the city was blocked 2 days in advance to prevent "black skin" people from coming in to the city. - Police gave confusing event on Batu Cave Temple. Where shots of chemical laced water and teargas were fired into the Temple with thousands locked inside the temple. - Quota systems are still in place in all sorts of industries and forcing those qualified person to lose out (those aliens brought in by the colonial rulers back then) and many more Yes, it is true that there are more problems back in India that deserve more attention from your own government, but where is your pride when your own kind is being push around, in another country? yes, those Indians in Malaysia is earning better than most in India, and getting food on the table at least 2 times a day compare to none for most Indians in India. And yes, at least Indians in Malaysia shower daily compare to once a month in India, and not bathing in polluted river like in India. But thats not the point, the point is, according to Malaysian standard, Tamils are considered 3rd class in most part of Malaysia, and among the poorest community in Malaysia. Now, the lawyers that brought up the lawsuit and march are great in creating awareness. We are talking about "AWARENESS". And seriously, you think the lawyers will win $1 mil for each Indian in Malaysia? Besides, they did law degree and its way difficult than journalism, which you just proved just that. Any tom dick and harry can make noise about human rights, but those that get the attention are certainly not jokers. And remember this, India got independence due to a guy that create the biggest buzz in our history. So, learn how to an useful Indian then a running dog serving some corrupted people/organization.
gizmo
Here is an article from a Malaysian website which i believe would help enlighten the writer's ignorance. In 1970, the overall share of wealth of the ethnic Indians stood at 1.1 percent but three decades later, their overall share of wealth increased only slightly to about 1.5 percent which is disproportionately less in relation to their population. Indian origin Malaysians constitute about 8% of the total population. But, they also constituted 15 percent of juvenile delinquents, about 50 percent of all convicts in prisons in 2004, and 41% of the beggars in 2003. According to Hindu Rights Action Force, the percentage of Indians in the civil service fell from 40% in 1957 to less than 2% in 2005. According to official records, 30-35 Indian origin Malaysians per 100,000 committed or attempted to commit suicide annually as compared to 10-12 Malaysians per 100,000 in 2006. In education, Indian origin Malaysians made up of less than 5% of the total university intake of over 45,000 annually. Nearly half of the 523 Tamil vernacular schools do not receive any government funds although they are in shambles. In addition, their religious freedoms are violated. Under Article 3 (1) of the Constitution of Malaysia, Islam is the religion of the Federation. According to the Hindu Rights Action Force, there is an “unofficial policy of Hindu temple cleansing in Malaysia”. At least three Hindu temples were demolished, one was partly destroyed and two others had been served demolition notices in Kuala Lumpur and neighboring Selangor state since February 2006.
Malaysian
Your article seems to based only on the misleading stories of the Malaysian Government controlled media. I and the rest of the Malaysian Indians gathered on that day were neither acting like mobs nor hooligans. It was just a peaceful gathering meant to show our solidarity for the cause of Hindraf. The government betrayed the Malaysian Indians further on that day when they treated them like rebels trying to overthrow a government. Their acts to defend themselves against the continous torrent of chemical laced water cannons and tear gas was potrayed as hooliganism in all the local media. Even Al-Jazeera have video news to support. Malaysian Indians did not, do not need to and does not have the authority to create traffic jams, to block roads and to close train stations. All these were carried out by the government to hold back the outcry of Malaysian Indians and to frustrate the other races. The government managed to incite anger against indians. The contents of Hindraf may seem seditious but that is the only truth and there is exactly no other way to represent the Malaysian Indian plight. The Malay government for decades have endorsed seditious policies, have made seditious remarks and practised seditious acts against Indians. They are not accountable because they are the rulers.The policies are getting worse and Indians have run out of breathing space. The remark by Malaysian Environment Minister Azmi Khalid that there are more Malaysian Indians than Malays in the Indonesian Medical faculties may seem justified because it you know only half the story. Only handful of Indians obtain a place at local public universities. Almost all Malays are allocated majority of the seats in local universities.Better qualified Malays are fully sponsored by Malaysian Government to the Irish, UK or American or even Indonesian universities. Dissappointed Malaysian Indians (including Malayalees, Sikhs,Sindhis and Ceylon Tamils) found alternative lower cost medical seats at foreign universities. The Malay controlled government having learnt of this , later derecognised those foreign universities without proper reason. You may research on Crimea Medical University.
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