Friday, October 17, 2008

Is it lawful to outlaw Hindraf?

When I read about the recent decision made by the Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar to outlaw The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), I am again forced to question the mentality of our government. However, it comes as no surprise since this is not the first time the government has carried out such ridiculous move.

Although to be fair and to speak from a legal point of view, Hindraf has been operating illegally; i.e. it has never been approved by the Registrar of Societies. Nevertheless, this in return, begs the question of why its application has been denied in the first place? Isn't it a constitutional right for the people to form association?

Ah, but according to the Home Affairs Minister, Hindraf is a danger to public order and national security; saying it as if it is a terrorist group.

Now, personally, I do not agree with some of the things which have been initiated by Hindraf. For instance, while I consider the founders of Hindraf to be courageous and commendable in their attempt to fight for justice and the rights of Indians in Malaysia, to accuse the government of ethnic cleansing is not only untrue but also irresponsible. I am not sure whether they have actually sent an email to Prime Minister Gordon Brown regarding this, but if this is true, then Hindraf has to do much more than this to gain credibility from the local and international communities.

Ethnic cleansing is a serious crime and being a Malaysian, I doubt that our government has gone that far yet to advance the "Ketuanan Melayu" (Malay Supremacy). Discrimination against minority races, yes but ethnic cleansing? I would say no.

By filing a class action suit against the British government for allegedly bringing Indians to Malaysia and  failed to protect their rights in the Federal Constitution when independence was granted,  and not to mention seeking a compensation of RM1million per every Indian is  way too ambitious and unrealistic. Normally, you don't start to run before you learn how to crawl.

After saying all this, there are two questions which I would really like to know:

1) Why was Hindraf denied by the Registrar of Societies in the first place?

2) The Minister of Home Affairs justified his decision by saying that Hindraf  "exploited racial issues which caused uprising against the government and created hatred between them and the Malays..."

If this is the case, isn't UMNO guilty of the same crime?  Perhaps UMNO should also be judged for its occasional racist remarks which have been one of the reasons why the Barisan Nasional has failed to secure a 2/3 majority seats in our recent election. If you want to be pedantic,  we can also say that it has caused an uprising against the government and created hatred between the minorities and the Malays.

Written on 17 October 2008

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