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Malaysian Minister claims 'some' Indian group behind protests

Contributed by Anonymous on Friday, December 07 @ 07:36:59 CST

National: PoliticsFriday, December 7, 2007 The Hindu Kuala Lumpur (PTI): Rejecting claims that ethnic Indians are being marginalised, a Malaysian Minister on Friday alleged that "some" organisation from India and local opposition parties here were behind the high-profile protests launched by the community in this Muslim-dominated nation.

"Someone is behind them from India... some organisation... to create civil disobedience. They have their own objective and they succeeded in their first attempt when Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force, a non-governmental Organisation) called for the demonstration in November," Samy Vellu, the Indian-origin Minister for Works, told PTI.

Vellu, however, refused to elaborate or name the organisation but alleged that the demonstrators were lured by money.

He also charged that the Hindraf was supported by the opposition, including former deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim, and noted that another opposition group DAP had supported the outfit on the first day of the demonstration.

A police crackdown on a protest here Hindraf on November 25 against alleged discrimination face by the community in Malaysia, had sparked an uproar with India summoning the Malaysian envoy.

The minister dismissed allegations by the Hindraf that ethnic Indians were being discriminated against and said those without jobs were "either choosy or lazy". He claimed the outfit had sullied the image of Hindus in the country.

"Discrimination is used to discredit any person or a government. There has been no discrimination," he said.

On the state of Indians in Malaysia, Vellu, also the President of Malaysia Indian Congress (MIC) which is part of the ruling coalition, noted "I will not say they are 100 per cent on top, but then no one is."

Indians form 7.8 per cent of Malaysia's multi-ethnic population of 27 million people. The rate of unemployment among Indians was 3.1 per cent. "This is not because they don't get a job but because some are choosy and some are lazy. There are 847,900 Indians in the work force," Vellu said.

He said the average income per annum for Indians was 3,215 ringgit (Rs 38,101) while the national figure was 3,022 ringgit (Rs 35,807).

Employment in civil service is 5.12 per cent and according to the Ninth Malaysia development Plan, the Indian representation in Civil Service was much lower compared to the Indian population ratio. The report said the government wanted to encourage more Malaysian Indians to apply.

Since a majority of the Indians in Malaysia are Tamils, there are a total of 522 Tamil schools across the country.

The minister dismissed allegations that large numbers of Hindu temples were being indiscriminately demolished. "There were 17760 temples in 1980 and today there are more than 20,000 temples in the country," he said.

He said Hindus, who wanted to build temples, had to seek approval. Earlier, when the Indians had arrived in this country 200 years ago, they built temples wherever they worked or lived.

Some of the temples today stand in private properties.

"The builders today had to follow local government laws he said," adding that about 150 small illegally-built temples had been pulled down. He added that land was also allocated to relocate the temples.

Vellu said the demonstration, which had been banned by the Government, and its organisers had a "political motive."

"They (Hindraf) have created a very bad name for the Hindus in this country," he said.

Asked why thousands of people had participated in the demonstration to protest against alleged marginalisation of Indians here, the minister said "if one million dollars per head is promised, it is easy to get a crowd."

He said the population was not stimulated and it was only a group of people. "There are seven lawyers, they are the organisation, they think they are the government," he said, apparently referring to the Hindraf.

He was confident that the demonstration would have no impact on the elections, to be held soon in this country. "We will stimulate our machinery and tell the truth. There should be no misunderstanding among the races here," he said, adding "our strength is our unity."

The Malaysian Indian Congress party has 640,000 members. The total number of Indians eligible to vote are 820,000.

Hindraf has filed a suit against Britain, holding it responsible for their current woes as the country had brought their ancestors to work as indentured labourers to the then Malaya 200 years ago.
******************

BJP to take up Malaysian ethnic Indians’ issue with PM
 
Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party plans to take up with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the case of ill-treatment of Hindu Malaysians and people of Indian origin in Malaysia.


On Thursday, the party’s senior leader adopted a resolution urging the government to take up this issue seriously “at the highest level” and demand “immediate reversal” of Malaysia’s policy towards people of Indian origin.

Waytha Moorthy, chairman of the Hindu Rights Action Force in Malaysia, called on Leader of the Opposition L.K Advani in his room in Parliament House where several senior BJP leaders were present. He apprised them of the difficulties faced by the Indian ethnic group of Malaysians, saying they had been “marginalised and “persecuted.”

The allegation was that thousands of Hindu temples had been demolished in Malaysia since its independence 50 years ago; this had stripped the Hindus of their dignity and self-respect; there was an attempt to “Islamise” Malaysia’s non-Muslim population; and the Shariah Court’s rulings were being made binding on non-Muslims, especially in cases of inter-faith marriages and related to religious identity of children born in such marriages.

All these issues were discussed at the meeting and the BJP then adopted a resolution condemning “persecution of Hindus and PIOs in Malaysia.” Party spokesperson V.K. Malhotra later told reporters that the BJP would take up this issue with the Prime Minister.

***************

Govt shuns Malaysia Hindu rights leader
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 07, 2007

Having expressed its concern about the alleged discrimination of ethnic Indians in Malaysia officially, the government on Thursday chose not to meet P. Waytha Moorthy, head of the Hindu Rapid Action Force, even as senior BJP leaders met him.

Waytha Moorthy, in Delhi to garner support from the government, failed to meet the Prime Minister, external affairs minister and senior foreign ministry officials but did get an audience with the BJP’s LK Advani and Jaswant Singh.


 
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