High Chaparral: Kampung Buah Pala is Hindraf’s new rallying cry|
Contributed by Anonymous on Thursday, July 02 @ 03:34:47 CDT
Analysis by Baradan Kuppusamy, themalaysianinsider.com, July 02 2009
KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — The campaign to save Kampung Buah Pala in
Penang from demolition is shaping into a big “do or die” battle for
Hindraf, the banned movement whose fortunes have been on the decline in
recent months for want of a rallying cause.
Saving Kampung Buah Pala is the new call to battle for Hindraf.
Hindraf founder P. Uthayakumar and his supporters are mobilising
supporters across the country to rise up and protest the impending
demolition of the village.
He is also personally visiting the village over the weekend and rallying his supporters to gather there to protest.
Any cause needs an enemy and unfortunately for Pakatan Rakyat (PR)
this time it is the DAP and its alleged failure to “save” the village
Previously it was Umno, for doing “nothing” for the Indians.
In both cases the key uniting element for the aggrieved Indian underclass was the sense of “betrayal” they suffered.
The Hindraf fight to save Kampung Buah Pala is similar to the
movement's mobilisation to stop the demolition of the Mariamman temple
in Kampung Karupiah, Padang Jawa in October 2007.
The demolition of this temple a week before Deepavalli was a key
reason for the size of the mass protest on Nov 25, 2007 in the federal
Uthayakumar hopes to revive his flagging fortunes and use the
campaign to save Kampung Buah Pala, and once again capture the
imagination of the Indian underclass.
It was thought, and rightly so, that freedom from ISA detention
would lessen his appeal to the Tamil masses. Uthayakumar’s popularity
among the Indian underclass dropped as seen in the smaller crowds
attending his functions since his release in May.
Some of his key lieutenants have also called it a day while others
have gathered under the Makkal Sakthi Party Malaysia banner headed by
Hindraf's former national coordinator R.S. Thanenthiran.
Another reason for rallying around Kampung Buah Pala is that
Uthayakumar is set to form a new political party called Parti Hak Asasi
Manusia or Paham in Klang on July 19.
“My experience tells me and recent political developments prove it
that we (Indians) need a third force,” he told The Malaysian Insider on
“We cannot rely on either Umno or Pakatan to help us,” he had said.
He said the Kampung Buah Pala incident is a “perfect example” of how
Pakatan Rakyat in general and the DAP in particular had “washed their
hands” of Indian problems.
“They have the power to right the wrongs but give excuses to act,” he said.
The Penang controversy which he hopes to capitalise on provides the perfect backdrop for the launch of his party.
His aim is to corral the Indian vote which, although is only about
10 per cent of the total electorate, plays a kingmaker role in about 60
parliamentary constituencies, and negotiate with PR or Barisan Nasional
to uplift the Indian poor.
However the majority of Indians are now supporting the PR alliance, unlike before when they were with the MIC/BN.
This is why Uthayakumar is increasingly turning his guns on the PR
coalition to show the Indians that the fledgling alliance is just
another BN, unwilling to help Indians unless they unite under his
banner and demand for their “fair share.”
The Hindraf protest campaign to “save” Kampung Buah Pala advances
his cause and signals a parting of ways between Hindraf and PR.
Ironically, by damaging PR and weaning away Indian support from the
alliance, Uthayakumar may unwittingly play into the hands of BN.********What do you get when you have two Indian lawyers? JULY 2 — I’m sure you all have heard of this racist joke: what do
you get when you have two Indian lawyers? The answer is: three law
firms — one each and the third is the partnership. The joke is to
convey the public perception that Indians are fine lawyers and just
love to argue.
I’m not sure what the origin of the joke is but it may have to do
with the fact that some of the most famous lawyers in this country are
people like Karpal Singh and his son, Mr Looks-And-Sounds-Like-Me V.K.
Lingam and judge Gopal Sri Ram. There are many others, some sadly no
longer with us. These are formidable legal minds and known to suffer no
I’m bringing up the issue of lawyers simply because one other
interesting bit about Indian lawyers is that they tend to get involved
in politics (not all but many of them). Most of the Hindraf leaders are
lawyers and if you believe the news, one of them has just registered a
new political party called Parti Hak Asasi Manusia or Paham.
This comes after the formation of the Malaysian Makkal Sakthi Party
(MMSP), led by former Hindraf national coordinator R.S. Thanenthiran.
There is also a rumour floating around that another Indian leader is planning for another party.
At least half a dozen parties are chasing the support of the 7.8 per
cent of Malaysia’s population of Indians who made up slightly more than
10 per cent at the time of independence. The really bad news is that in
about a decade’s time, the Indian population will fall to below 5 per
So you can clearly see that with more Indian-based parties and an
Indian population (in percentage terms) going down, the political voice
of the Indians is going to be a whisper.
The basic problem is the failure of the MIC. For a long time, the
MIC had a monopoly of Indian support but along the way, since the
1980s, it had squandered its support among the Indian population due to
its inability to stand up to Umno and deliver government support to the
community. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s strongman politics had no place
for the MIC since it was unable to get its act together.
It did not help that the Indians did not “control” any
constituencies, and at best were a significant majority in about seven
to 10 parliamentary seats. In any case, a series of financial scandals
in MIC and internal fights ended with the party totally dominated by a
By this stage it was almost impossible to revive the MIC as all the
talented Indian professionals had either left the country,
sacked/expelled from the party, joined the opposition (especially the
DAP and PKR) or joined NGOs. As a joke went: if you want to attend a
gangster meeting, go to a MIC meeting.
It took the Indian community nearly a decade to find its new
champion — Hindraf. It was only logical that since the Indians did not
have a political platform, they would turn to religion as the primary
mobilising force. The destruction of Hindu temples and related issues
on religious freedom and body snatching were just the right *****tail
mix to ignite the Indian population.
The most interesting bit was that nobody, and I mean none of the
mainstream political parties (including the MIC), saw Hindraf coming.
When Hindraf staged the demonstration in front of the iconic Petronas
Towers, people suddenly realised that a new political force was in
town. The rest is history.
No matter how racist Hindraf is, the truth is it forced both the
government and the opposition to look at the Indian problem in this
country. The Indians many be small numerically but they can mount an
effective demonstration that captured headlines around the world.
Unfortunately for Hindraf, at the height of its popularity, it did
not play its cards well. The ISA effectively broke its back and it did
not have a strategy to deal with it. The BN paid a heavy political
price but it was a price worth paying since the MIC could no longer
deliver the votes. The IPF was also unable to get Indian votes. Umno
knows that in order to win back the Indian voters, a new Indian party
has to emerge. It tried before with the Malaysian Indian United Party
(MIUP) but it did not work. Hence it is relatively generous when it
comes to approving new political parties that target the Indian
community. This high-risk strategy works well. It will split the Indian
community politically but also allow the most talented new Indian
leaders to emerge outside of the usual suspects of the MIC, IPF and
PPP. If they can prove they can get Indian support, they can later be
co-opted into the BN or remain an ally of the BN outside, like the IPF.
Where does this leave the ordinary Indian Malaysian? The short
answer is that the Indian community will now actually get politically
weaker in the short term as all these parties fight among themselves to
see who can command the support of the Indians. Unless you have a clear
champion like what Hindraf was two years ago, the Indian community will
end up neither here or there for the coming decade.*********
Hindraf leader defends Guan Eng, asks who made Waytha boss
Ganapathi today came to Lim’s defence.
By Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — Now it is Hindraf's turn to deal with
disagreements from within its ranks. Senior leader V.S. Ganapathi Rao
came out unexpectedly to defend Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng over
the Kampung Buah Pala demolition issue.
One of the symbolic "Hindraf Five" detained under the Internal
Security Act after a mass rally in 2007, he questioned Hindraf's
aggressive stance against the DAP secretary-general over what some
claim to be the last Indian heritage village on the island.
Speaking to The Malaysian Insider,
he said: "It appears
that some people are using the Hindraf name to manipulate the issue to
criticise DAP." He was referring to calls for Lim to resign as chief
minister for his failure to solve the displacement of over 30
households in the village.
"We had agreed to end public demonstrations and when a Hindu temple
was demolished in Kuala Lumpur, nobody said anything. So why are they
doing this to Lim? To make Barisan Nasional happy?" he added.
Despite other Hindraf leaders such as national co-ordinator S.
Jayathas and chairman P. Waythamoorthy having strongly criticised Lim,
to the point of calling him a "heartless man," Ganapathi called for
those involved not to politicise the issue but to let the chief
minister do his best.
He also questioned the authority of Waythamoorthy and Jayathas to represent Hindraf's stand on the issue.
"Who made Waythamoorthy chairman? There was no election. The few of
us just sat down one day and decided to start Hindraf. There is no one
leader in charge. But if he wants to claim to be chairman, that is his
problem," said Ganapathi.
He also said that Jayathas was appointed co-ordinator by
Waythamoorthy but without the agreement of the rest of the leaders
including those in the Hindraf Five.
Ganapathi said he was saddened that "those who had not contributed"
are now claiming to be leaders and causing cracks in the organisation.
He said Hindraf was "losing its direction" with political parties and individual agendas coming to the fore.
"I do not see the team working together anymore," he said.
Ganapathi added that since the Kampung Buah Pala issue was caused by
the previous administration under Barisan Nasional, Lim should now try
to give the residents some alternatives and options even if the land
cannot be acquired back from the developers due to the cost involved, a
cost Lim claims would be more than "tens of millions of ringgit".
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