It is surprising that there is so much of confusion among Hindraf members on whether to support the Bukit Selambau candidate S.Manikumar, although the chairperson P.Waythamoorthy has given full support of Hindraf to stand behind Pakatan Rakyat candidates. If the members don’t agree with the chairperson, it is a pity these disgruntled members are not in touch with the sentiments of the Indian population at large. Hindraf started well, had fixed ideologies and the members faced tear gas and chemical laced water because of agreeing to the ideology the Indians were marginalised. They did not sacrifice to gain positions or name. The March tsunami and the defeat of Barisan Nasional in 5 states gave rise to the popularity of Hindraf leaders who then were people not interested in gaining anything. Within a year the tide has changed, Hindraf leaders want political posts, although the party is not a political one. Human greed takes over and ideologies are forgotten. The silent Indians, who don’t belong to Hindraf are taking note of ambitions among the leaders, they are no better than MIC where it is power and money. These silent Indians can make a decision as to which candidate to vote and the legacy of Hindraf as a neutral entity only concerned with the welfare of the Indians, is slowly being eroded.
Should Manikumar fail, Hindraf will be blamed. Then there will be a backlash from the Indians who want changes, and the hitherto support and sympathy may be lost, and quite rightly the influence of Hindraf among Indians will wane and disappear altogether. I think Hindraf should consider this.
With the present awareness, and the bickering in Hindraf, Indians will vote the way they want, and Hindraf will have no influence over their decision. What a sad way for Hindraf to go.
Waythamoorthy’s stand divides Penang Hindraf leaders
Athi Veeranggan | Apr 4, 09 11:44am
Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) chairperson P Waythamoorthy’s open support for Pakatan Rakyat candidates in next week’s by-elections in the country met mixed reactions from two leaders in Penang.
While Hindraf coordinator on Penang island S Shanmuganathan backed his London-based leader’s political stand, its Penang deputy coordinator Sanjeeviramah Subramani, also commonly known as Sanjay, from the Penang mainland declined to heed the call.
Sanjay (pic, left) insisted that although Hindraf activists respect and accept Waythamoorthy’s decision, many of them, especially from Penang mainland and southern Kedah, would continue to boycott PKR candidate S Manikumar in Bukit Selambau.
Shanmuganathan, however, pointed out that although Hindraf would remain a bi-partisan movement, the group’s supporters on the island would back Pakatan candidates in Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang (Nizar Jamaluddin).
“We support Waythamoorthy’s call to support Pakatan for mutual interests and benefits.
“It’s imperative for Hindraf to back Pakatan in the by-elections to defeat our common enemy Barisan Nasional,” he stressed.
He said among the common political platforms that Hindraf and Pakatan share were the abolition of the draconian Internal Security Act, release of all ISA detainees and closure of the Kamunting Detention Centre.
Uthayakumar in poor health
Hindraf and Pakatan leaders have also condemned the authorities for not providing proper medical care for detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar, who is suffering from worsening health condition.
“Both Hindraf and Pakatan are committed towards creating a free, equal, just and liberal society.
“We will dispatch campaign teams from Penang island to Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang to campaign vigorously for Pakatan candidates,” Shanmuganathan told Malaysiakini.
On dissenting views among grassroots Hindraf leaders on Waythamoorthy’s stand, Shanmuganathan said such differences of opinion were common in a democratic movement like Hindraf.
In declaring support for Pakatan candidates, Waythamoorthy warned that if Hindraf and the opposition coalition failed to work and act together to get rid of BN in the next general election, the chances to dislodge BN and for Pakatan to take over the country’s reign will be gone forever.
"Once this happens, Pakatan would crumble and crack from then on.
"The chance to end BN political hegemony will die permanently," said Waythamoorthy.
Sanjay, on the hand, reiterated that a segment of Hindraf grassroots leaders and supporters, especially from Penang mainland, would continue to boycott PKR in Bukit Selambau to protest the candidature of Manikumar.
‘We are actually against Manikumar’
“We are actually against Manikumar, not PKR or Anwar (Ibrahim) or Pakatan,” said Sanjay, who had lobbied with the PKR top leadership to field Hindraf national coordinator RS Thanenthiran as candidate indeed.
Sanjay and several local leaders are angry that PKR de facto leader Anwar had chosen Manikumar ahead of Thanenthiran and several other credible candidates.
This led to Sanjay and other leaders to boycott Manikumar in the Bukit Selambau state constituency, while backing former Perak menteri besar Nizar in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary contest.
Manikumar faces 14 rivals, including MIC S Ganesan and 13 independent candidates, in Bukit Selambau, while PAS strongman Nizar faces BN candidate Ismail Saffian and independent Kamarul Ramizu Idris in Bukit Gantang.
Sensing that a Hindraf boycott on PKR would severely undermine the party’s chances to harvest a majority of the Indian votes, which make up nearly 30 percent of Bukit Selambau’s 35,140 registered electorates, Anwar had a “clear the air” phone chat with London-based Waythamoorthy a few days ago.
Following this, Waythamoorthy declared that Hindraf would fully back Pakatan to defeat their common enemy, BN.
Thanenthiran, meanwhile, did not pick up his phone calls despite several attempts by Malaysiakini to reach him today.