Friday, 13 January 2012

Controversy between Waytha Moorthy and Ambiga : An opinion expressed by an Indian social activist

Controversy between Waytha Moorthy and Ambiga:
An opinion expressed by an Indian social activist
By Dharmalingam Vinasithamby, 6th January 2012

[Editor's note] The recent statement by Ambiga, the President of Bersih 2.0 entitled "Citizens and not race determines rights" made in Sungai Siput, Perak, attracted the attention of P.Waytha Moorthy, President of Hindraf in exile. He wrote an open letter to Ambiga in the Hindraf website, disputing Ambiga's view that 'there is no discrimination as far as rights arising from citizenship (in Malaysia)' are concerned.  He gave his grounds and the relevant facts to substantiate his disagreement with Ambiga.

The controversy raised by Waytha Moorthy has caused concern, and stirred up discussions among the NGOs and democrats, especially the Indian NGOs and democrats.

On 6 January 2012, Mr Dharmalinggam, a social activist, wrote to P. Mohan, President of Persahabatan Semparuthi Johor, expressing his views on the matter. With permission from both of them, we have published his letter in our blog for ease of reference.

The editorial board hopes that, by publishing different points of view would bring forth wise and mature opinions from others, and greater efforts and contributions will be made by more people for the purpose of achieving unity and development of the NGOs, as well as for promoting democracy and human rights movement in our country.


Dear Mohan,

As a Malaysian and an Indian, I too feel there are big problems in our constitution and I agree with Waytha Moorthy that the issue of special privileges has created two classes of citizens in the country.

However, the constitution is the agreement on which this country was created. Till we change this agreement, we must respect it.

But it does not mean that we should close our eyes to its problems. If people who feel they have been made second class citizens do not say the constitution is unfair and unjust, those belonging to the “first class” may think that this is not a big problem. Then there is no reason to rewrite the constitution. Dato Ambiga should not forget this

But if these problems in the constitution are not dealt with, it will be bad, not only for the second class citizens, but for the whole country.

The issue of special privileges has hurt not only the 2nd class citizens but also the first class, by making them unable to compete with other races on an equal basis. It has also allowed the rich and powerful “first class” citizens to make use of most of the privileges while there are many “first class” citizens who still live in poverty.

Most of all, it has divided the country and made it easy for politicians to get votes without having to be good leaders.

So our problem today is not a racial conflict between “first class” citizens and “second class” citizens but a struggle between Malaysians and corrupt leaders from both the first and second class. Waytha Moorthy should not forget this.

Many of the problems we have in Malaysia today is caused not by the problems in the constitution but because the government either ignores the constitution or purposely misinterprets the constitution.

So what we need today is to elect a government that will be responsible and accountable to the people. Then we can look at changing the problematic clauses in the constitution.


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