Saturday, 3 March 2012

Forum on “Article 153 of the Federal Constitution and the Equality of Ethnic communities” cum the launching of Kua Kia Soong’s New Book “Patriots and Pretenders - The Malayan Peoples’ Independence Struggle” jointly organised by 3 Johor NGOs - Friends of SUARAM (FOS) Working Committee Johor, HINDRAF Johor and Persahabatan Semparuthi Johor.

Forum on “Article 153 of the Federal Constitution and the Equality of Ethnic communities”
the launching of Kua Kia Soong’s New Book “Patriots and Pretenders - The Malayan Peoples’ Independence Struggle”

jointly organised by 3 Johor NGOs -
Friends of SUARAM (FOS) Working Committee Johor,
HINDRAF Johor and Persahabatan Semparuthi Johor.

3rd March 2012

For the past 50 years or so, since Independence, the UMNO dominated ruling clique has adopted the “divide and rule”strategy used by the British colonial administration. Since then, it has been practising institutional racism as a state policy. This has led to the minority ethnic communities (together with the oppressed class and strata of society within the ruling ethnic group) being ethnically polarized, segregated, discriminated against, bullied and suppressed to an intolerable extent. The oppressed ethnic groups and oppressed class and strata of society find it impossible to ward off the increasingly serious disaster. They have come to the conclusion that there is no alternative but to wage a struggle for survival.

The broad labouring masses of all ethnic communities have been subjected to the ruthless repression by the Barisan ruling clique, and have been deceived by the chicanery practised by the yellow unions (i.e. pro-establishment trade unions).  They live in misery and hardship. In recent years, the Indian community as a minority group (particularly its labouring class), has a rude awakening. It is now extremely disillusioned with the ruling clique. Following from that, under the brilliant leadership of its leaders, it has courageously presented its core demands.

The current oppression of the labouring masses of all ethnic communities by the Barisan ruling clique, is, in actual fact, of a class nature, but it has taken the form of national oppression of each ethnic community. As such, the phenomenon is rather misleading and deceptive. The demands put forth by any ethnic community, and the demands raised by other ethnic communities should complement each other, so that all oppressed communities should act in unison, ultimately turning into a formidable force to be reckoned with. Only then can the root of institutional racism be eliminated, and the unpopular racist hegemony be done away with.

We, FOS Johor, HINDRAF Johor and Persahabatan Samparuthi Johor, as co-organisers, solemnly declare as follows: the Forum cum book launch initially organised solely by FOS Johor, will from now on be jointly organized by the NGOs mentioned above.

In the circumstances, the statement issued by FOS Johor regarding the Forum and the book launch is to be modified accordingly. The co-organisers, namely the NGOs mentioned above, herely confirm and endorse the following statement:

Since the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) rally held on 25 November 2007, the majority members of the Indian community who are at the bottom level of our society have generally become more aware of their poor state of conditions. Under the leadership of their progressive leaders, Hindraf has begun to delve into the causes of the dilemma hitherto faced by the Indian community (particularly the laboring masses).

Hindraf has resorted to action by way of courageously voicing their demands for equality. As a consequence, Hindraf suffered brutal suppression by the BN government. Waytha Moorthy, the Chairperson of Hindraf, was forced to go into exile. But, he persists in leading the Hindraf struggle from abroad. 

In the meantime, he is seeking international support. In his capacity as the leader of an organization, Human Rights Foundation Malaysia, he submitted a Report entitled “Institutionalised Racism and Religious Freedom in Malaysia” to the US Foreign Affairs Committee, and Tom Lantos Human Rights Committee towards the end of last year [2011].

Of late, Hindraf has also launched a global e-petition, demanding for the repeal of Article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution; for the removal of all racist and religious supremacist policies; and for the fair treatment of all communities. The just action on the part of Hindraf, shows that the Indian community has taken the initiative to put forward its demands for equality on behalf of all ethnic communities as an urgent agenda.

Currently, apart from a forum on “Institutionalised Racism in Malaysia” held in Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) on 17 January 2012, no other political parties or organisations (even the Parliamentary opposition parties who claimed to be well prepared to topple the BN government), have yet to show the necessary concern and support for the core demands raised by the Indian community represented by Hindraf. 

Friends of Suaram Working Committee Johor (FOS Johor) has decided to organise a forum on “Article 153 of the Federal Constitution and the Equality of all communities” in March this year. We intend to invite some experts and scholars to present their views. Such decision was made after some thorough discussions, and after taking into consideration the abovementioned circumstances. It is hoped that the forum will arouse the interest of the audience in these important issues. This decision and action received an immediate positive response from HINDRAF Johor and Persahabatan Semparuthi Johor. They have decided to co-organise this meaningful event.

The Forum has invited Mr Waytha Moorthy, Hindraf’s chairperson to be one of the speakers. He may deliver his speech either via teleconferencing or through his representative. The Forum has also invited Dr Azmi Sharom, Associate Professor of Law studies of Universiti Malaya, as well as Dr Kua Kia Soong, director of Suaram as speakers. These speakers from the three main ethnic communities are well-known experts and scholars for their in-depth understanding of the national and social issues. Their insight into such issues will serve as invaluable reference for the public at large.

In addition, FOS Johor will take the opportunity to conduct the book launch of the Chinese rendition of Dr. Kua’s recent publication, Patriots and Pretenders - The Malayan Peoples’ Independence Struggle (The original version of this book is in English. It was published and launched in Kuala Lumpur towards the end of last year. The Chinese rendition was just published and will be launched as scheduled below). In the book, Dr. Kua expresses his clear-cut stand and critical views regarding the origins of the so-called “social contract” and “Malay dominance”. The book provides important reference and material for exploring the current issue of repression suffered by the ethnic minorities as well as the struggle and resistance put up by them. It is particularly an instructive book on the campaign launched by Hindraf to repeal Article 153 of the Federal Constitution and all racist policies and legislation, and to advocate equality for all Malaysians irrespective of race.

The new book will be launched by the veteran bilingual columnist Lee Ban Chen, who will speak in Mandarin. FOS Johor has also invited a columnist Yong Sun Yong to have a review of the book, to be written in Chinese.

The speeches by the speakers and the book review will be made available at the forum. They will also appear in the blog or website of the organisers ( / / They will also be forwarded to the media for publication.

The particulars of the Forum and the book launch are as follows:
·         Date    : 18 March 2012 (Sunday)
·         Time   : 2pm
·        Venue : Johor Tourism Information Centre (JOTIC) (Next to High Court Johor Bahru )

We welcome the attendance of all citizens from all walks of life, who are concerned with democracy and human rights in our country. Admission is free. For further inquiry, please contact:

1. FOS Johor / Ms Fang Pei Fen (016-7782707);
2. HINDRAF Johor / Mr Y. Mohan (019-7102895);
3. Persahabatan Semparuthi Johor / Mr E.Silvarajah (016-7334469).


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