Hindraf Rally spillover

*Some of the comments have been updated recently

The spillover effect of the Hindraf rally on Sunday continues to cover the pages of the newspapers on 27th Novermber 2007. Malaysiakini compares the key news and views in major English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil dailies:

English newspapers

Both the Star and New Straits Times led with Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s assertion that the government will not back down from the political challenges presented by Hindraf. The Star also front-paged the release of three Hindraf leaders and that the 105 protesters are still detained for participating in Sunday rally. The Sun reported yesterday’s release of three Hindraf leaders charged under the Sedition Act.

Malay newspapers

Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian led with the deputy prime minister’s dismissal of the Hindraf protest as a politically-motivated event. Berita Harian also reported Malaysian Airline’s record earnings of RM610 million net for the first nine months of the year. Utusan Malaysia also led with the release of three Hindraf leaders and 136 protesters who will be charged.

Chinese newspapers

Sin Chew Daily also reported about the release of the three Hindraf by the Klang Sessions Court. Nanyang Siang Pau highlighted that former Unico Bhd director Tan Kai Hee refused to apologise for his defamatory statement against the company's chairman Lim Guan Teik and advisor Ngan Ching Wen. Oriental Daily reported Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak as saying that the government would not back down against Hindraf's rally.

Tamil newspapers

Tamil Nesan led with DPM Najib’s vote of confidence on MIC president S Samy Vellu, calling the veteran community leader as a person who continues to fight for the community. The daily also reported on the court victory of the three key Hindraf leaders. Makkal Osai had a clarification from the police that they had dispersed a gathered crowd at the Batu Caves temple on the request of the temple committee.

The politicians have voiced out their views and comments as well pertaining the cry of desperation by the rally supporters last Sunday.

Najib Tun Razak : The Barisan Nasional Government will face the “political challenges” thrown by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) group which defied the law and went ahead with its rally on Sunday. “We will meet the challenge. We will not back down from political challenges,” Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said when asked if the Government was pressured by the group, which alleged that Hindus in Malaysia were being marginalised.

Samy Vellu : MIC president said he was “deeply saddened but not angry” with the Hindu Rights’ Action Force (Hindraf) for organising Sunday's illegal rally. Samy Vellu said Hindraf could have taken a better approach to air its grievances and should not have accused the MIC of failing the Indian community.
Updated Read his exclusive interview with NST.

Lim Kit Siang : The government should stop their truculent and confrontational responses to the Sunday 30,000 Hindraf demonstration. If the cabinet is truly serious about addressing the long-standing grievances of the Indian Malaysian community, it should back a proposal for a parliamentary select committee. More in his blog.

S.K Devamany : K Devamany (MIC-Cameron Highlands) said the rally organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) reflected the Indian community’s disgruntlement towards certain government policies. He added the rally proved the failure of government policies which do not benefit the Indians. Devamany said even though the government promised many things to the Indians under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, the community's reaction through the rally demonstrated its frustration.

Mohd Nazri : Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, commenting on Devamany's response in the Dewan Rakyat said if Devamany feels that the government has failed, the only honourable way is for him to resign from MIC. At a today's press conference at the Parliament lobby, he said Devamany is scheduled to meet Najib, who is the Barisan Nasional (BN) chief whip, on Thursday for breaking ranks over the rally.

Updated Johari Baharom : Hindraf manipulated innocent Indian Malaysians to further the interests of certain quarters. We must see what had attracted thousands of Indians to gather on Sunday. They were there because they were given false hopes by the organisers.

Updated Abdullah Badawi : The Government will use the Internal Security Act (ISA) against street demonstrators who threaten national security and disrupt racial harmony if necessary, warned the Prime Minister. Abdullah said using the law, which allows for detention without trial, would be preventive action to spare the country untoward incidents that could affect its peace and national security.

Updated Dr Toh Kin Woon : Penang state executive councillor for economic planning, education, and human resources development, science, technology and innovation declared that he "disagreed with the country's leaders" on the issue. In his letter to Malaysiakini, he said instead of condemning, one would have thought and hoped that they should have been more concerned over the grievances, frustrations and disappointments that have brought so many thousands to the streets in the first place and to seek fair and just solutions to them.

Updated M.Kulasegaran : A revolving fund of RM1 billion should be set up to uplift the economic well being of the Indian Malaysian community, said M Kulasegaran, the DAP parliamentarian for Ipoh Barat. He also was of the view that the government must set up a department, headed by a minister, to deal with minority issues. Explaining that the protest on Sunday was evidence of the Indian community's anger, Kulasegaran said: "Even Barisan Nasional ministers, the New Straits Times and Suhakam are saying that the Indians are marginalised. They have urged the government to wake up.

..did i missed anyone? Hope not. Well, here I share some of the views from relevant NGOs. Check out what they have in their mind.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s Dr. Kumar has written a well thought critics of the rally saying this local fight-backs must continue whenever any community is faced with bullying by developers or government. But national level mobilization should be of all ordinary Malaysians (from all races) and not of Indians only! Perhaps, you may want to read the full comment at Malik Imtiaz's Disquiet.

Updated Malaysia Hindu Sangam said the authorities must listen to the grievances aired by some 30,000 Indian Malaysians who participated in Sunday’s rally. Describing it as a “wake up call for all Malaysians”, the influential Hindu umbrella body saud the government must stop “festering wounds” within the Indian community from becoming worse. Its president, A. Vaithilingam said t is clear that there are tens of thousands of Indians in Malaysia who feel the government is not protecting their best interests.

Updated Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) commissioner Prof Khoo Kay said that the Indian community is not doing so well compared to other races in this country. I believe that the rally was well-intended unlike the many accusations that the rally was racially-driven. According to Khoo, the rally provided a clear picture of how the Indian community has suffered prolonged marginalisation before and after the country achieved independence from the British.

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