Wednesday, 1 May 2019

The Malay Hegemonic Ruling Clique Should be the Main Target of Hindraf Struggle - Sahabat Rakyat’s interview with Uthayakumar, the key leader of Hindraf Rally on 25 November 2007

The Malay Hegemonic Ruling Clique
Should be the Main Target of Hindraf Struggle

- Sahabat Rakyat's interview with Uthayakumar, 
the key leader of Hindraf Rally on 25 November 2007


[Sahabat Rakyat Editor’s Note] This article is an exclusive interview with Uthayakumar on 17 March by Sahabat Rakyat before the "509" general election (14th General Election) last year. The release of this article is delayed until the election was over following Uthayakumar’s personal considerations and decision. Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee choose to publish on the eve of the May 1 International Labor Day, after the 14th GE is due to the following considerations:

(1) People of all ethnic communities generally have gained a certain extent of realisation and experience about P. Waytha Moorthy (Uthayakumar’s younger brother) who regards himself as “Hindraf leader” defected to Mahathir before 14th GE, as well as the 1-year practice of “change of government” (Ubah) under Mahathir’s leadership, therefore they are able to test Uthayakumar’s position in the political struggle and his opinions about the encounters of Hindraf.

(2) We would like to take the opportunity of May 1 Labour Day, a common festival of the working people all over the world, to remind the people of our nation again that: our Indian community, except from a very few who are lucky enough to enter the rank of the ruling clique elites, others are persecuted working class. They are the key target of unity of our people's struggle against the Malay racist hegemonic rule. They should not continue to become the tool used by politicians to cheat the votes to seize the political power.

The Hindraf mentioned in this article is the abbreviation of Hindu Rights Action Force. It was originally established on 29 December 2005 by 48 Hindu NGOs in our country. Its main objective was to deal with the case of the dead body of the Indian mountaineering hero M. Moorthy which was forcibly ‘snatched’ by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department. Although Moorthy’s widow, S. Kaliammal, filed this case with the civil High Court, requesting Moorthy professed Hinduism as his religion and that his body could be released to Kaliammal; on the 22nd of the same month, the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council obtained the order made by Kuala Lumpur Syariah High Court that Moorthy had embraced Islam and that his body must be buried in accordance with Islamic rites.

After Moorthy's widow and Hindraf defeated by the coercive role of the UMNO racist hegemony state machinery, in which the above-mentioned corpse case ended in failure, the demolition of Hindu temples frequently happen. This insatiable erosion of racism has forced the broad Indian masses to unite.  On 25 November 2007, a mass protest rally broke out to express the resentment against racist persecution and reflected a heroic struggle spirit against the reactionary hegemonic rule. This inspiring rally had shaken the foundation of the racist hegemonic rule of UMNO-BN. In the 13th GE, it successfully broke the political situation of the two-thirds majority of the Parliamentary seats dominated by UMNO-BN in the past 50 years. It can be described as a "people uprising" incident that is enough to make the Malay hegemonic ruling clique worried and fearful.

Not sure why, Uthayakumar did not speak in detail when describing about the establishment of Hindraf during interview. Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee therefore investigated the background of the formation of Hindraf from the official institution and found out the following situation which worth pondering:

25 October 2007 - Hindraf Enterprise (001718332-K) was established. This was a partnership established under the Malaysian Registration of Business Act. The company's owners were Vasantha Kumar A/L Krishnan, Renuga A/P Thanalingam and Shakila A/P Senganie. However, the company was terminated in less than two months, the termination date was 7 December 2007.

8 March 2013 - Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia (Hindraf) (PPM-016-14-08032013) was established. This is an organization established under the Malaysian Societies Act. Its President is Waytha Moorthy. The facts show that this society was approved by the former government headed by Najib, to support the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Waytha Moorthy and BN two days before the nomination day of the 13th GE (which is 18 April 2013).

After the election, when Najib, the then Prime Minister announced the cabinet members on 15 May 2013, he appointed Waytha Moorthy as a Senator and Deputy Minister of the Prime Minister’s Department (Waytha Moorthy was sworn in as Senator on 5 June 2013 and then officially resigned as Senator and the Deputy Minister of the Prime Minister’s Department on 10 February  2014).

After that, Waytha Moorthy once carried out his political lobbying work in the name of "Hindraaf". That was, from defecting to the UMNO BN in the past to defecting to Mahathir and Pakatan Harapan (PH). When we last met with Waytha Moorthy at the Sahabat Rakyat office on 26 August 2017, we asked him "Why was Hindraf renamed Hindraaf?". He did not respond directly, but simply said, "this is due to "religious superstition"" and he just laughed off weirdly. Until Waytha Moorthy officially being enlisted by Mahathir, he then reverts to use “Hindraf”.

Since Waytha Moorthy has successively accepted the enlistment and appeasement of different representatives (Najib and Mahathir) of the Malay hegemonic ruling clique, it can be confirmed that Waytha has betrayed the path of the anti-Malay racist hegemonic rule struggle of 2007 Hindraf rally. He is even attempting to lead Hindraf to the dead end of being finished off completely.

At present, we must probe into which leader(s) in the social reform movement of the Indian ethnic community can follow the path of struggle and continue the struggle spirit revealed by the “2007 Hindraf rally”. This is a major issue for the way out and prospects of the Indian community and even other oppressed ethnic groups nationwide. Therefore, Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee hope to explore the way forward of Hindraf by interviewing Uthayakumar, the important leader of 2007 Hindraf rally.

In our two interviews with Uthayakumar, we discovered that after the 14th GE, he, in his capacity as the “de-facto leader of Hindraf 2.0”, sent Mahathir, the Prime Minister of the PH government “indictment”, hoping to remind or urge the PH government to materialize the PH government election manifesto that are related to the rights and interests of the Indian community. As for how will Hindraf 2.0 further develop? And where will it be heading for? The key lies in how will Uthayakumar lead Hindraf 2.0.


Part 1:
The experience, endurance and self-reflection of Uthayakumar in the Social Movement

1. The cause of Sahabat Rakyat's interview with Uthayakumar

Sahabat Rakyat: In view of Waytha Moorthy has always been regarding himself as “Hindraf leader” but at the same time he has been working hard to seek patronage from the Malay hegemonic ruling elites which betrays the “Neo Democratic Revolution” path of Hindraf, Sahabat Rakyat is therefore keen to understand from other Hindraf leaders the questions about “What changes have occurred in Hindraf?,“Who is the real leader of Hindraf?” and “Where will Hindraf movement be heading?”Hence, as per the resolution made by the Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee, Nyam Kee Han, on behalf of Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee, in early last year sent two text messages to Uthayakumar, the key leader of the 2007 Hindraf rally. The first one was sent on 27 January 2018 (Note 1) whereas the second one on 8 February 2018 (Note 2), conveying the will and request of Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee to conduct an exclusive interview with him.

Although Uthayakumar had many doubts about our request for an exclusive interview, after our explanation, and because of his frankness and straightforward personality, very quickly we had nailed down the interview date as 17 March 2018, 2pm at Cafe Bonda he proposed. Below are the contents of the first interview:

The first interview with Uthayakumar (3rd right) was held on 17 March 2018 at Café Bonda. The representatives from Sahabat Rakyat are (from left): Ngo Jian Yee, Choo Shinn Chei, Nyam Kee Han, Tan Seng Hin (@ChenXin) and Ang Pei Shan (1st right). 2nd right is Mahendran, friend of Uthayakumar.

Uthayakumar: I read your documents. According to your reply, you were contacting Waytha Moorthy at the first place. You mentioned that he is leading Hindraf, I am leading Human Rights Party (HRP). So, you continue to deal with him. The fact is, I am Hindraf, not Waytha Moorthy. You should have done your research and you will know who Hindraf is. You are not ordinary people. Waytha Moorthy only took over Hindraf when I went to Kamunting Detention Center. Before that, nobody knows who Waytha Moorthy is. You can find out about my background easily though internet, but you did not do it. You never bothered to contact me too. That is why I am curious why now only you contact me. You are 5 years behind.

Sahabat Rakyat: There’s a need to go through a process and it takes some time to get to know about a matter. We had the doubt about Waytha Moorthy’s representative of Hindraf along the process of getting to know about Hindraf, it doesn’t just happen now. After 5 years, we concluded that Waytha Moorthy not only cannot represent Hindraf, but also gradually deviates from the path of Hindraf. We even noticed that Waytha Moorthy did not want us to be closed with other cadres of Hindraf on purpose. Meanwhile, he has been misleading us that both of you are together, whereby you are in charge of the political party (i.e. Human Rights Party) which acts as a tool of political struggle whereas he is in charge of the NGO (i.e. Hindraf). As Sahabat Rakyat tends towards non-partisan cooperation method, therefore we did not come to you at that time. Waytha Moorthy’s ulterior segregation policy was another important factor why we have never been in touch with you all the while. We would truly appreciate your understanding.

There was an incident which left us a deep impression. In the end of March 2016, as an independent and autonomous NGO, we decided to visit Ganesan and some cadres from Northern Malaysia to understand about the situation when Waytha Moorthy split up with Ganesan and some other Hindraf leaders and cadres. Surprisingly Waytha Moorthy was angry with our action. He forbidden us from doing so and demanded us to consult him about the details before taking any action. From that incident onwards, we began to have more doubts on him. In the relationship between Hindraf and Sahabat Rakyat, how could he not respect us as an independent and autonomous NGO? How could he manipulate us and demand us to consult him and get his approval before taking any action that is related to Hindraf?

Uthayakumar: I wouldn’t blame you, because if you have asked me about our brotherhood at that time, I would have said the same thing to give you an impression that we (Waytha Moorthy and I) are together. I didn’t want to say that he is moving away (from Hindraf). For me, manipulating our brotherhood is all related to UMNO’s strategy. It is clear in their mind that they want to break Hindraf into pieces and ultimately destroyed it. I will share with you why I said that this is UMNO’s strategy later. Let me tell you about my background and you make your own judgement.

2. Uthayakumar's Experience and Thoughts in Social Movement

Uthayakumar: 25 years ago, I was a young lawyer. Even when I studied law, I still wanted to fight for human rights. When I came back from London, I went and fought with the policemen when I saw them bullied the Indians at Brickfields,. I just finished my study and not even a lawyer at that time, in year 1999.

You will know about my history if you read the documents in Police Watch. We managed to bring down incidents of shot to death by police. 7 out of 10 of those being shot to death were Indians. But Indians only make up 7% of the population in Malaysia. If any Indian people were found guilty, the government should have arrested them and sent them to jail. To me, the root cause of their problem is poverty related crime. If you got them job opportunities, they will not convict crimes and go to jail. I think the government would have reduced the crime rate by at least 70% if they have been providing job opportunities to the Indian people.

Sometimes I feel helpless because I have only myself and nobody wants to work together with me. I think the reasons are 3“H”s – high risk, high stake and high battle. However, I still go by my goal, even if it’s one-man-show. I managed to bring down cases of death-in-custody by about 95% and cases of shot to death by police by about 95%, in around year 2006. For me, it was a success. But if you ask how I did it, I don’t have the answer. Maybe it’s because I was still young and enthusiastic in pursuing my ideal.

Until now, I still don’t know why only Indians died in custody. I use the word “murder” as they were killed under police custody. We came out with annual reports on these cases, to let the facts tell you the truth. I want to focus on Indian poor, which is a very critical problem. For me, this does not happen to Malays, Chinese, Iban, Kadazan and Dusun. UMNO and Pakatan (Pakatan Rakyat and Pakatan Harapan) branded me as racist when I highlighted this. They succeeded and I lost. I surrendered. But, I highlighted the problem based on facts and figures of real issues.

Sahabat Rakyat: We understand the issues that you mentioned. When we were in SUARAM, we also dealt with a lot of death-in-custody cases where about 80-90% of the victims were Indians. We knew very clearly that this is because the Indian ethic community is the most oppressed most discriminated ethnic group since the independence of our country. The racial system implemented by the Malay hegemonic rule has resulted in the marginalization of the Indians. Hence, our conclusion is: the problems of racial oppression and racial discrimination are inevitable as long as the regime that advocates racist hegemonic rule still exists; only by overthrowing or even eliminating the regime that implements racist hegemonic rule we can curb or even eliminate racial oppression and racial discrimination, and the people of all ethnicities can live a life of freedom, equality and free from oppression.

SUARAM handled many similar cases as well, and spent a lot of time and money in them. However, they are not able to go beyond their limit and just ascribe all those cases to abuse of power by the police. They more they do so, the more unlikely they can solve such problems. You are like SUARAM too. You must let the Indian community to learn from various cases such as death in custody, police shootings and so on that these incidents are caused by the abuse of the state machinery by the Malay hegemonic ruling clique, rather than the law enforcement bias of “police abuse of power” claimed by some politicians. The people can only change the fate of being persecuted if they awaken and fight. If you lead the masses to stay at the understanding of "abuse of power by the police" and stagnate in the political struggle, these incidents will keep on repeating and may even intensify.

Uthayakumar: I agree. For me, changing the government in any country is good. The change of UMNO regime in Malaysia is supposed to be good too. I don’t deny that. But, I do not want to be part of the “change” that some people advocate, because the Indian poor is going to remain the same (even if we change the government). I have no doubt that changing the government is good from the bottom of my heart. However, I will not join Pakatan or openly urge people to vote for Pakatan because I take the responsibility for “supporting a team”.

Uthayakumar was detained for one and a half years under the Sedition Act. When he was released from Kajang Prison on 3 October 2014 9.40am, he publicly announced at the press conference that "I walked into the prison with this orange shirt, and I left the prison with this orange shirt”,  "I will not change it to dark blue, light blue or any other colors." He almost meant that he would not join BN nor the Pakatan Rakyat back then.
(Source of Picture: Malaysia Today)

Anyway, when the cases of death-in-custody and shot to death by the police went down, we started handling cases of demolishment of Hindu temples. In year 2006, one Hindu temple was demolished every two weeks nationwide. For your information, Waytha Moorthy and his people formed Hindraf in December 2005 for Corporal Moorthy case. To be honest, I did not involve in that. And I am not the founder of Hindraf. Waytha Moorthy had another NGO called “Vivekananda Youth Movement” and they used to have prayer meetings, Hindu functions and etc. They claimed that 48 Indians NGOs join forces in forming Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Forces). Everyone in the coalition claimed they are part of Hindraf. But, Hindraf “closed shop” after the Corporal Moorthy case. Even Waytha Moorthy didn’t operate Hindraf. He was too pride to be a chairman of Vivekananda Youth Movement. But, he is a chairman of Hindraf. So, when I finished my police cases regarding death-in-custody of Indians on hand, I wanted to focus on Hindu temples’ issues. If we are dealing with police, we can use Police Watch. Therefore, for Hindu temple cases, I asked Waytha Moorthy: “You have an NGO called Hindraf, can I use that name?” He said, “Ok, go ahead.”

So, I started using Hindraf since then. Waytha Moorthy didn’t join me when I was using Hindraf. In 2005, we carried empty coffin just to embarrass the government and drew attention. I remember 13 of us were arrested. And Waytha’s role was just a cameraman at that time, that’s it.

Out of my expectation, I didn’t realize it because I have been doing public works for many years. I didn’t feel it. When we took the temple cases, the “grass” started to grow up and high when we dealt with the temple cases. Waytha Moorthy did not join any of the Hindraf meeting before the rally in November 2007. He was not in the picture, but we communicated via phone. Just imagine, the biggest Indian event in the country but he attended not even one meeting. He was working as a lawyer at that time, in a firm by some others in Ipoh while I was my own boss. It’s different when you work for someone. To cut the story short, I went to Kamunting Detention Center after the Hindraf rally. When I came out from Kamunting Detention Center on 9 May 2009, Waytha didn’t say a word. His action said “Welcome home, I am your new boss (in Hindraf).”

3. Waytha Moorthy and Uthayakumar competing for Hindraf leadership

3.1) Waytha Moorthy seized Hindraf's leadership after Uthayakumar's detention

Uthayakumar: When I came out from jail on 9 May 2009, I didn’t know the persons in charge of Hindraf in various areas under Waytha Moorthy. While I was detained, Waytha Moorthy has been keeping in touch with these new comers of Hindraf whom he managed to draw. He controlled everything from London. He gave me “100 days of honeymoon” when I just came out. After the 100 days, he started moving these people to his side slowly and created “Team B” (in Hindraf).

For me, basically, he (Waytha Moorthy) wants to be the Boss. This is what I feel with my own theory. Let’s me expose one thing, I got no evidence. Why do I say so? Because he told me that he met Khairy Jamaluddin to release us from jail. I told him “Very good, please see him and everybody including Abdullah Badawi. I want to come out from jail.” So, from there, UMNO would have given Waytha Moorthy a “package”, i.e. “when Uthayakumar comes out from jail, he will be the “hero” and you (Waytha Moorthy) will be “zero” (nothing). So, this is the “Plan B” for you (Waytha).” He just followed the “script” given by them. For me, whoever Indian ministers from BN or Pakatan Harapan are not my enemies. The enemy is the (UMNO’s) boss and the boss was Abdullah Badawi at that time.

I am very clear in my mind that UMNO wants us to fight among ourselves. The BN government’s strategy was to make Indian fight with Indian. Pakatan (PH) is employing the same strategy. They elected Indian EXCO, so if you (Indians) have any problem you can go to the Indian EXCO. Actually they (Indian EXCO) are not the decision makers. The decision maker is the Chief Minister (Menteri Besar), a Malay, not Indian. This is the ruling strategy of the Malay rulling clique.

For me, Waytha Moorthy’s motive is to be the boss (in fact it is just tool of the UMNO’s  (boss)).

Sahabat Rakyat: We feel the same too. According to you, Waytha Moorthy was uneasy that you would be replacing him and he would lose his leadership status when you came out from jail. Our view is, Waytha Moorthy was afraid that you would threaten his status and even regain leadership of Hindraf, therefore he purposely gave you a blow. What we suspected earlier is just the same as what you have described.

Uthayakumar: It’s simple, the day he joined BN, the next day we sacked him from Hindraf. (see malaysiakini.com/news/228201themalaysiantimes.com.my/waytha-sacked-as-hindraf-headvideoruclip.com/video/IUP5yXm9LeQ/uthayas-faction-sacks-waytha/ for details). We actually sacked him from Hindraf after he signed the MoU with BN. But we did not want to fight with him. That was the first and the last time I attacked him. I admit that by keeping quiet, I have actually acknowledge that Waytha Moorthy is running Hindraf and becomes Hindraf’s boss. This has caused public perception, including the Indian community that he is Hindraf leader. As I said, I do not want to fight against him, because he is not an enemy. My enemy is UMNO and other Malay ruling clique. To me, UMNO and other Malay ruling clique is using him to fight against me. People will get diverted and talked about brothers fighting each other instead of fighting on the real issues. “Najib uses my own brother to join BN”, then I am finished.

Uthayakumar (left) and Waytha Moorthy (right) are brothers

On the surface, they seem to be competing to become the "Big boss" of Hindraf. However, in Uthayakumar’s view, the Hindraf “Big boss” that Waytha Moorthy’s is competing for, in the previous regime, was merely a tool used by Najib, the former UMNO president to deceive the support of the Indian community to consolidate the Malay hegemonic rule; and in the present regime, it also inevitably becomes a tool used by Mahathir and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia to deceive the support of the Indian community to consolidate the Malay hegemonic rule.

Why (I said I am finished)? Let’s say you are Uthayakumar and a member of public come and ask “Come on boss, your own brother joined BN and you said you don’t know anything about it? You got nothing to do about it? How come?” How do you answer that?

My presumption was Waytha Moorthy wanted to be the boss. But, I didn’t know that he really was going to join BN. I only knew it on the day they signed the MoU. To me, Najib succeeded and I failed.

3.2 Uthayakumar suffered defeat in the 13th General Election for the Parliamentary seat

Uthayakumar: Let me explain why I stood for the last election (GE13) as an independent candidate. That was the election where Waytha joined BN. However, in Kota Raja, the Parliamentary constituency I contested in Selangor, the legal voters: 105909; the Malay voters 44%; the Chinese voters 25%; and the Indian voters 29%. Nationally, this is a Parliamentary constituency with a relatively high proportion of Indian voters. But, I only got 3% of Indian votes in that election, putting aside the Malay and Chinese votes. How can I claim myself to be the Indian representative, Indian leader in this country, a Hindraf leader and protector of the Indian community when I only got 3% of the Indian votes in election? That is why I kept quiet and did not fight with Waytha.

Sabahat Rakyat: As social workers who are striving for the interests of the people, we cannot be superstitious about the election scams advocated by the ruling clique and demagogues that, "government can be changed by winning the election, after the people change the government, their lives can then be improved." We also cannot determine own political future and trend based on the number of votes won the in the election (or success or failure of the election results). The electoral system implemented in Malaysia is just like in the Western countries, which basically reflects a money game played by different cliques in the ruling classes to struggle for power and winner will have the say.

Uthayakumar: I have been doing services for 20 years and only 3% of Indian votes for me when I contested in the election. How (do you think I can continue)?

Sahabat Rakyat: As a senior lawyer and leader of social activities, you should know better than us about the following facts: (1) Our country, Malaysia, is a country that implements a dual political system of constitutional monarchy, which is, on one hand The Malay feudal monarchs appoint senators to form the Senate (Dewan Negara); on the other hand, voters who have citizenship status under the Federal Constitution vote for the representatives (namely members of Parliament) to form the Parliament (namely House of Representatives / Dewan Rakyat), the Parliament will then elect the Prime Minister and the “Yang di-Pertuan Agong” elected by the highest feudal monarchs will approve the Prime Minister to form the cabinet and various government agencies to govern the country (2) The delineation of the electoral boundaries of the parliamentary constituencies (the size of the constituencies, the number of voters and so on) is not carried out in accordance with the democratic principle of 1 person 1 vote of the Parliament, but in accordance with the needs of various figures delegated by the Malay ruling clique to guarantee victory in the election. Therefore, the deception of the electoral system of our country is already well known to the people of the country. Perhaps some have even felt numb to it; (3) As the ruling clique controls the state machinery and almost all major propaganda institutions, internet resources, unless the level of corruption of the ruling clique has reached a point that is no longer bearable by the people, or the national economy is no way out and the people can hardly survive, how easy you think it is to overthrow a reactionary regime that oppresses the people via parliamentary elections? We can understand your various encounters and concerns.

3.3 About Hindraaf and Human Rights Party

Sahabat Rakyat: We wish to understand the ins and outs of the formation of Hindraaf by Waytha Moorthy and whether Human Rights Party founded by Uthayakumar still exists?

Uthayakumar: I believe he just uses Hindraaf but the registered name is still Hindraf. You can do a search with the ROS to know in detail. As I know, we tried to register “Hindraf” or “Human Rights Party”, but failed. In April 2013 or even earlier, just before he signed the MoU (with BN) and joined BN, he suddenly announced that Hindraf’s registration is approved. So, I think it’s all planned.

To me, if you want to use the name, you can just use it. Article 10 (in the Federal Constitution) provides us Freedom of Association. Of course the government will still make use of the Society Act to charge us for committing an offense. But, I will just use the name if I wanted to.

I feel very shy to fight with Waytha on whether Hindraf is his or mine. People are doubt when brothers are fighting for the position (in Hindraf). That’s what I don’t want.

4. How was the split of Hindraf deployed by the UMNO hegemonic ruling clique

4.1 How were the “5 Hindraf leaders” being concocted by the UMNO ruling clique

Uthayakumar: On 25 November 2007, when ten thousands of Indian masses went on the street to protest, Waytha Moorthy was not a Hindraf leader. There was no such thing as the 5 Hindraf leaders (at that time). Actually, I was the only Hindraf leader. But I was hiding behind and describing myself as the legal advisor of Hindraf. I didn’t want (to call myself the Hindraf leader) because I was very shy to say that there’s only one leader in Hindraf. We never had the idea and arrangement for the second or third line (leaderships). The Indian elites refused to join us. So, there was only me and one or two people, and the Indian masses, the non-educated group.

The 5 Hindraf leaders was merely a creation by UMNO. They were not actual leaders.

The above picture shows the 5 "leaders" who were arrested by the authorities under ISA in 2007 due to the rally on 25 November 2007. They are (from left): 1. P. Uthayakumar 2. M. Manoharan 3. V. Ganapatirau 4. R. Kengadharan 5. K. Vasanthakumar.

We were arrested under ISA on 13 December 2007. 5 were arrested then. I would say that it was a master strategy because only I was qualified to be arrested under ISA. In my book, I mentioned “my brother and I”. But now I correct myself, it was only me. The government would be creating a hero if they only arrested me. When I was released from Kamunting Detention Center one day, be it six months, one or two years after that, I will be much more powerful than Samy Vellu. Therefore, they didn’t want that to happen and applied another strategy, i.e. they arrested 4 more people and made the 5 of us equal. Then, they made use of “5 Hindraf leaders are not united and fighting among themselves” to split and damage the Indian community further.

I give you an example for one of the 5 ‘leaders’. His name is Vasantha and I don’t know who he is until now, after 11 years. I asked him, “Hey Vasanth, what do you do during weekend?” He replied, “My wife and I cook nice food and then I sleep.” And the story ends there. I cannot ask him other questions such as what his social life is, what his private life is. We don’t know who his friends are, who his enemies are, who his relatives are and etc until now. But, he is the one who created problems within the 5 of us. (see: thenutgraph.com/spotlight-on-hindraf-in-fighting/).

We, the 5 Hindraf leaders, had the first and the last meeting before the Hindraf rally. We had different views on whether to call off the Hindraf rally. The Special Branch did not interfere with our decision. Actually, there was only one decision maker – me. Even though the rest of them wanted to cancel the rally, my word would stand if I did not agree so. So, who are the 5 Hindraf leaders? They were actually leaders announced by Musa Hassan, the Inspector General of Police when the 5 were arrested.

Sahabat Rakyat: All that you have mentioned are true. The same has also happened to the Labour Party of Malaya (LPM), Malayan Peoples` Socialist Front (MPSF) and even the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM). This is just another example.


4.2 The UMNO ruling clique disintegrated Hindraf movement via Special Branch

Uthayakumar: When I was in jail, the Indian prisoner asked me, “Hey, do you think your brother can walk beside the road?” Waytha Moorthy was still with BN at that time. The Indians will insult and shout at you (if you become a traitor). They looked at him as a traitor. But, it’s neutral now since he joined Pakatan (PH). [Sahabat Rakyat: We see him as an opportunist! We witnessed him being bombarded by Indian masses in GE13 where he was forced to leave the scene under police escort.] I couldn’t believe my eyes when I watched that video. The same FRU that we were fighting for years was protecting him. I wouldn’t do until that extend.

To me, all these are government agendas – to finish off Hindraf, i.e. Operasi Padam Hindraf. The day when I was arrested from my office and being brought and transported to Kamunting Detention Center, there was an Indian SPD. He was very kind to me at first and didn’t handcuff me. He talked nicely to me, he said, “I am your supporter.” Actually he tried to brainwash me. When I told him that I trust no police, he changed his way quickly. He said, “You think you are a Hindraf leader? You just wait, I give you 6 months and I will break Hindraf (apart)!”

At that time, in my heart I said, “no way, it is impossible to break us (apart).” Today, what he said has become reality. They have broken Hindraf into small pieces.

From my personal experience after Kamunting, due to my fight for Indian poor cause in Malaysia, I almost became a bankrupt. Previously, I had a house and office. As I couldn’t pay the instalments, all my property went for auction. This is because I got diverted my focus from legal work to public work. It caused lack of income and at the end I couldn’t pay my instalments. I have been paying my AKPK (Agensi Kaunselling dan Pengurusan Kredit) RM1318 monthly since 2008, I think I have another 2 to 3 years finishing my AKPK. My house almost also went for auction. I took a RM100,000 overdraft (OD), it became RM210,000. That is another instalment I need to pay for my house too. After being released from Kajang jail, I said I don’t want to do general public work anymore. I would say at least 60% of my energy was focusing on public work last time. Now, unless something is very serious, and then I make a stand. I can even take the case for free. But otherwise, I don’t do. I need to settle and stabilize my debt now.

5. The substantial meaning of the Neo democratic revolution

Sahabat Rakyat: Thank you for telling us openly that you were once on the verge of bankruptcy in the wake of neglecting your lawyer profession because of your excessive focus on the struggle for the interests of the Indian community. We would like to understand if you are ready to lead the Indian community to move forward following the path of the Hindraf struggle since Waytha Moorthy has sought patronage from Pakatan Harapan (from our point of view, he is seeking patronage from Mahathir instead of Pakatan because the original 3 parties of PH do not need a leader like Waytha Moorthy). Can you please explain and elaborate what is exactly the path of Hindraf is? We once asked Waytha Moorthy, what is the definition of “striving for neo democratic revolution” mentioned in a leaflet distributed upon his return to Malaysia? He just smiled and did not answer our question. Therefore, we want to understand from your perspective, what path should Hindraf take to thrive? How can the Indian ethnic group in our country get out of the marginalized situation?

The right picture above shows the cover page of a leaflet distributed in Tamil and Malay languages on 5 July 2012 when Waytha Moorthy decided to return from exile on 1 August 2012. The phrase circled in yellow clearly shows that “The Neo-Democratic Revolution Continues…” Waytha Moorthy mentioned in the end of the leaflet that “All these oppressed people are part of me and until now they suffer and continue to suffer in their own homeland known as Malaysia. They are meaningless to us as long as we are regarded as second class citizens and labeled as immigrants. Our struggle is for equality in terms of rights and dignity. The Neo-Democratic Revolution continues…(Semua orang yang tertindas ini adalah sebahagian daripada saya dan sehingga kini mereka menderita dan terus menderita di tanah air sendiri yang dikenali sebagai Malaysia. Mereka tidah bermakna kepada kami selagi kami dianggap sebagai warganegara kelas kedua dan dilabelkan sebagai pendatang. Perjuangan kami adalah untuk kesaksamaan dari segi hak dan maruah.)
Upon return, Waytha Moorthy betrayed the aspiration of the broad Indian masses by accepting the enlistment and appeasement of Najib and Mahathir successively (2 representatives of the Malay racial hegemonic rule who used to trample the Indian community ruthlessly) to enjoy the great wealth of himself and his family!

Uthayakumar: The only conclusion I can make if Waytha Moorthy didn’t answer your question but kept smiling is he is a “politician”. To be honest, “neo-democratic revolution” is his word. To answer your question, Waytha Moorthy did tell me “neo-democratic” was “neo-Nazi” (I didn’t understand what he meant). Normally we see some countries, they had a revolution, they overthrew the King, they became a democratic country. But when they became democratic, primary of the President would be like a King, so they need a revolution to “overthrow” the President. So this is what they regarded as the “neo-democratic revolution”.)

Sahabat Rakyat: In our opinion, what we call as the Neo democratic revolution in Malaysia, it is about opposing feudalism (abolition of the monarchy), opposing bureaucratic capitalism (the Malay hegemonic ruling clique), and opposing all imperialisms that infringe on our country. Malaysia is currently a constitutional monarchy country. To launch a neo democratic revolution is to abolish the monarchy, to oppose Malay hegemony, and to oppose the invasion or subversion of the imperialism. Only in this way the expanded democracy will come. The “striving for neo democratic revolution” mentioned in Hindraf’s leaflet might have included the abolition of the current constitutional monarchy and the change of the status of the people of all ethnic groups and the expansion of democracy. Perhaps because of Waytha Moorthy's true color as an opportunist demagogue, he made use of this slogan to deceive the support of the masses without making a clear account.

Uthayakumar: Yup, your saying is correct. From my view, Waytha Moorthy has tasted the power, being a Senator and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. He didn’t gradually work up like me, where I have been doing public works for the Indian community for 20 years. He was nobody. Suddenly, when Hindraf burst, he became the boss of 100 thousand people’s movement overnight. So, he thought he is the “representative of the Indians” after that. He negotiated (with the government) and got himself Deputy Minister and Senator positions.

I still remember when the government made the announcement of the Cabinet, I had the feeling that Waytha Moorthy would be in the Cabinet. I was suspicious. I waited and checked the internet for the list of ministers, and my guess was right. I couldn’t believe it. To me, his every move was to make himself a minister. But, to be fair, I would say it makes no difference whether he or any other Indians become the minister. They cannot deliver even to satisfy the basic needs of the Indians. Indians in this country are actually nobody.

Indian minister(s) just listen to the order of their Boss. They want Malay and Chinese votes, therefore they have to listen to Malay and Chinese bosses. They don’t bother about Indians’ matters.

So for me until now, I failed. I am a failure. I am defeat. But in my heart I don’t want to join Pakatan. I don’t want to join Barisan. Let me die like this. When I die, I never beg please give me one seat, Pakatan; please give me one seat, Barisan. I don’t want. Because I know I won’t be able to deliver even the fundamental needs of the Indian community.

Let me give you an example of my dilemma. For me, 80 – 90% of Indians are pro-Pakatan (PH). If I ask the Indians who should we vote for in the coming election, for sure they will request for me to tell the Indians to vote for Pakatan (PH). But, regardless of whether I really urge the Indians to vote for Pakatan in GE14, they will still vote for Pakatan. That’s my assessment. Indians now wish that Pakatan will take over Putrajaya and Anwar Ibrahim become the Prime Minister.

Then, the daughter of a married couple, who wants to be a doctor, studied very hard and got 12As in her exam. She cannot afford to go to India, Indonesia nor London. Unfortunately, she cannot get a place in medical college in local university. Then, her parents will come up to me and say, “Sir, my daughter got 12As, how come she cannot get a place in the university?” I can only answer, “Look, the place is only for Malays. Indians will have no chance.” This will happen again when Pakatan come into power. The Indians will not ask Lim Kit Siang or Anwar Ibrahim, but they will come for Uthayakumar. That’s why I don’t want to take blame (for asking the Indians to vote for Pakatan). So, we just have to see what to do when the dust settles down after the election.

6. Is Uthayakumar willing to continue leading Hindraf?

Sahabat Rakyat: Your response reflects the general sentiment of the Indian society. We are of the view that you should, as always, be obliged to lead Hindraf that represents the spirit of the anti-racism hegemonic rule struggle of the Indian community in our country, and we hope that the Indian community will understand you and support you. This is our conclusion from this dialogue. We will follow your instructions, not to disclose what we have discussed before the 14th GE, we will select a suitable timing to release publicly the truths that occurred in Hindraf which are rarely known after the dust settles after the election or after the new government rules for a year or so.

Uthayakumar: If there is concrete support, I will lead Hindraf. The problem is, the support is there but it doesn’t move beyond. For example, I was helping and accompanying my wife to buy some groceries on the eve of 2013 General election in Brickfields. Suddenly, an Indian man came from across the road towards me. He was very emotional, he shook my hand and said, “You should be somewhere, you know?” There were tears in his eyes. I kept quiet. As we drove off, my wife told me, “You know, there were tears in his eyes?” I said yes. The Indian man cried when he saw me, maybe because I went to jail due to handling issues of the community. Therefore, to me, there’s support, but it stops there. I believe there are quite a number of people in that category. What do we do? How do you jump start from there? Maybe you can tell me and give me some ideas from an outsider’s point of view.

Sahabat Rakyat: From your narration, we can draw the conclusion that: Waytha Moorthy has hijacked the fruits of Hindraf movement. Therefore, before the upcoming 14th General Election, shouldn’t you stand up and call on the Indian community to carry on with the path of the Hindraf struggle in opposing racial system and Malay hegemonic rule resolutely?

We have explained that we earlier on we believed in Waytha Moorthy’s one side story, believed that he is a key leader of Hindraf who initiated the Indian mass rally on 25 November 2007 who was then forced into exile. In the process of getting in touch with him, we noticed his strong opportunistic demagogue character and a clear tendency to accept appeasement. In October 2012, 5 months before the 13th General Election, we, together with Hindraf Johor jointly issued a Letter to the Johore People entitled “Unite! People of Johore, Realize 3 Pressing Demands; Smash UMNO Hegemony, Form a Democratic United Front”. However, when Waytha Moorthy signed the MOU with BN, without hesitation we issued a statement condemning him for selling the interests of the Indian community. Before the 14th General Election, we asked him how his sees Mahathir. Without hesitation he responded that: Mahathir is an untrustworthy person. But then he quietly moved towards Mahathir and being enlisted, becoming his pawn.

In the face of the upcoming 14th GE, can we and Hindraf still do anything together? We should make it clear. We are of the view that, there is no more chance to work together as Waytha Moorthy is making use of Hindraf to achieve his personal goals, thus it is even more important for us to give a saying. Therefore, our account is to reflect the facts that we have experienced and you have experienced, and let people judge. Despite this, we still think that Hindraf itself is divided. We have no way to stop Waytha Moorthy from what he wants to do. What we can do is to express our position and opinion on what we have seen and heard about the deeds of Hindraf leaders, and let people judge.

Uthayakumar: As I have said earlier, I will not express my opinion during this election. I don’t want to make a stand because I am of the view that Barisan (BN) cheats (the Indians) more than the Pakatan (PH). I didn’t stop after coming out from Kajang Prison. [Sahabat Rakyat’s note: Uthayakumar was arrested and imprisoned twice. The first time was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for 1 year and 6 months in Kamunting detention camp (13 December 2007 to 9 May 2009); the second time was convicted under the Sedition Act, imprisoned in Kajang Prison for 2 years and 6 months (5 June 2013 to 3 October 2014)] I am still monitoring Indian poor issues. If the case is very serious, I will make a stand and take the case for free. But I keep quiet recently because election is coming. The reason is, either Barisan (BN) or Pakatan (PH) will benefit for whatever I said or do. Therefore, I don’t want to get involved.

[note]
:1st message: 27th January 2018: 
Dear Mr Uthayakumar

I am Mr Nyam Kee Han (Nyam), one of the presidium members of Sahabat Rakyat Malaysia base in Johor Bahru. We have been following and giving much attention on Hindraf Movement since 2007.

The awakening of Indians Ethnic under Hindraf Movement 2007 led me to further my Master in UKM from 2011 to 2013. I have completed my thesis entitled "Kualiti Hidup Komuniti India Bandar dan Pergerakan Sosial Hindraf". I later published an article entitled "Pergerakan Hindraf Merupakan Hasil Gerakan Demokratik Semasa Komuniti India Malaysia" based on the content of my thesis and my social work and political involvement in Sahabat Rakyat. The article was completed in Chinese and later translated into Malay and Tamil.

We noticed that the Hindraf movement 2007 was split into few forces. This is a big sadness for Hindraf Movement and the oppressed ethnics in Malaysia. Previously, we have had in depth discussion on the development or setbacks of Hindraf Movement with Waytha Moorthy.

We are mainly in contact with Waytha Moorthy (and not other Hindraf leaders) due to the following:
1. He presented a report on the Institutionalized Racism in Malaysia ;
2. He argued that Article 153 in Federal Constitution was distorted;
3. His neo-democratic revolution slogan before re-entering Malaysia after few years in excile.

During last general election, we criticized him and other Hindraf leaders when they signed the MoU with Najib. Not long after he resigned from the Senator post, the split in Hindraf led by him emerged. And now, the Hindraf organization was changed to "Hindraaf". We are unsure is the current "Hindraaf" led by Waytha Moorthy the same as Hindraf in 2007? Franckly said, we are a bit doubt on that.

However, we will not give up to concern on the struggle of Indian ethnic in Malaysia. We would like to understand more on the current status of Hindraf movement and the Indian community from your perspective. It is much obliged if we can have an appointment with you and hear from you directly.

Sincerely

Nyam 
017-7696713


Note: 


Reply by Uthayakumar on 4th February 2018 as below: 

ok.i am qurious why didnt u get my perspective earlier n why only now?tx.


2nd message: 8th February 2018:

We (Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee and I) have not requested to meet you earlier due to the following reasons:

1. In a meet up discussion with Waytha Moorthy few years back, he told us that : (i) he himself represents HINDRAF, and HINDRAF is an NGO that is the "voice of the voiceless" marginalized Indian Community; (ii) Human Rights Party (HRP) is a political party that fights for the rights of the marginalized Indian Community and represented by his elder brother Uthayakumar. But, in recent years, we found that : (i) "HINDRAAF" led by Waytha Moorthy is not the HINDRAF that we knew; (ii) not only that he never mentioned HRP again, but he also told us that he will form a political party. These scenarios led us to some doubts.

2. Sahabat Rakyat is an NGO formed by a group of volunteers who wanted to push forward the development of Human Rights and Democratic work in our country to work on exploration. We are really serious and committed in exploring the marginalisation of Indian Community in Malaysia and the struggle to safeguard basic human rights and interest of the Indian Community; we have few years experience in dealing with Waytha Moorthy and found out that we might have insufficient or even wrong understanding about the struggle of the Indian Community if we only be in contact with him and his organization; we must approach more people in order to understand the dynamic of Indian Community from various perspectives.

We hope the above explanation may eliminate your doubts on our request to meet and discuss with you. We hope that you will give us an opportunity to have better understanding about HINDRAF and the struggle of the Indian Community in improving their lives.

Is it convenient for you to meet up on 17th or 18th March in KL?

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《人民之友》发表对国内政局看法
马来文版已于9月23日刊出
英文版已于10月26日贴出


人民之友成立于2001年9月9日,2018年9月9日是人民之友成立17周年纪念的日子。我们在这一天发表了一篇题为< 联合起来,坚持真正的民主改革! 丢掉幻想,阻止马哈迪主义复辟!>的文章作为纪念。

我们一如既往选择在这一个对我们来说,具有里程碑意义的日子,对我国当前阶段(大选后新政府上台)的政治局势发表一些意见,与为推动我国和世界民主人权运动而奋斗的同道们,互相交流。

为了面向国内不谙华文的广大非华裔群体,也为了让我们对当前阶段的政治局势的意见能够更广泛地传播开去,工委会决定尽快把这篇纪念文章先后翻译成马来文和英文。马来文版已于9月23日刊出。英文版也已于10月26日贴出。点击以下链接即可阅读——



此外,现居新加坡的庄明湖已将他在《人民之友》发表的《20世纪60年代新加坡左派工运问题探索》(正篇)一文的英文译稿传送到编辑部,因原文中所述人物的姓名或者是党团工会组织的全称或简称,在译文中尚未解决或有待查证,需要一些时日来完成——人民之友工委都是自愿挤出时间来进行工作的,因而无法很快完成。经过一番努力,我们终于在9月30日刊出,为我们的17周年纪念增添光彩!

值得在此一提的是,庄文所述的20世纪60年代新加坡工运遭遇问题(除了遭受来自外部的镇压,还要遭遇来自内部的破坏)的见解,或许能为一些读者(特别是不谙华文和不懂新马历史的读者)思考马来西亚民主改革运动在当前阶段面临马哈迪主义复辟的问题,提供一个历史殷鉴,或者是一个新的启示。

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