HINDRAF disssociates itself from the unilateral statements issued and actions taken by P. Uthayakumar in the name of Hindraf
Press Statement made on 7th April 2012 by Hindraf
Author/Source: Ramesh / HINDRAF
Chinese Translation by : Chuah Seong Peng
[Editor’s Note] This is another important statement issued by the National Organizing Secretary of Hindraf Ramesh. It was made after the release of the report entitled “Institutional Racism and Religious freedom in Malaysia” and followed by the launching by Waytha Moorthy of core demands to repeal Article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution. He is the Chairperson of Hindraf who is forced to go into exile.
This statement marks the turning point that from now on, Uthayakumar , Chairman of the Human Rights Party, is only entitled to speak and act on behalf of the Human Rights Party only, but not as Hindraf leader, nor on behalf of Hindraf itself. Besides, the statement indicates that the objective and direction of Hindraf under the leadership of Waytha Moorthy may differ from those of the Human Rights Party led by Uthayakumar.
Perhaps some may look upon Uthayakumar as the "central figure" or the "plenipotentiary" of Hindraf, or equate "Human Rights Party" to “Hindraf”. This is incorrect and may give rise to confusion between the two. It may result in miscomprehension or inadequate understanding of the difference between the Human Rights Party and Hindraf so far as their character and relationship are concerned. This is clearly not conducive to the sound development of democracy and human rights movement.
As an NGO striving for democracy and human rights, we certainly welcome and look forward to Hindraf steadfastly upholding its independence and autonomy as an NGO. We hope that it will use its best endeavours and make invaluable contributions towards the struggle and protection of the rights of its ethnic group as well as other oppressed ethnic communities.
The editorial board took pains to translate the Hindraf statement into Chinese, and posted it with an editor’s note on this blog, and regard it as an important material for reference. It apprises the Chinese-educated readers of the latest developments of Hindraf.
Appended below is the full text of the statement by Hindraf:
Over the last few months Human Rights Party pro-tem Secretary General P.Uthayakumar has been releasing statements to the media based on what are essentially his personal views, but issued in the name of Hindraf. The National leadership of Hindraf is deeply concerned with these unilateral statements and actions as it has been sending the wrong signals to the Malaysian public on the true stand of Hindraf.
In his most recent press statements on the 4th of April titled “Hindraf has urged top Pakatan Rakyat leaders to outline their policies for the Indian Malaysian poor at a public meeting on April 22 in Klang”, Mr Uthayakumar said the movement hopes Pakatan leaders Anwar, Lim Kit Siang and Abdul Hadi Awang will spell out what they plan to do for the Indian community within 100 days of taking Putrajaya, should they win in the 13th GE and has invited them to the Chetty Padang in Klang to share their positions on the issue.
Much as we applaud the desire to get the Pakatan leaders to publicly announce what they will do in the first 100days of their rule for the marginalized Indians, the decision to make this call was taken entirely by Uthayakumar without due consultation with the Chairperson for Hindraf P Waythamoorthy or the National Coordinator W.Sambulingam or the National Adviser N.Ganesan or any of the National Coordinating committee members as the situation naturally requires. This effectively renders the statement to be a personal statement and no more. Further the act of calling the Pakatan leaders to an open field, the Chetty Padang, to state their views is in the opinion of Hindraf, inappropriate and an unbecoming method for making the point.
Hindraf has matured from a movement based on a few individuals who were unmistakably the triggers to an organization that is systematically acquiring status as Human Rights Defenders for the marginalized and poor minority in Malaysia. It is gaining reputation and recognition from the work it is doing in raising matters of serious Human Rights violations both within the country and internationally.
Hindraf has made representations to the Government of Malaysia on various issues through a variety of channels, to the various Governments of Europe, the United States of America, United Nations ect on issues of racism and marginalization affecting the minority community particularly the Indian community and these moves have piled pressure on the Malaysian Government to bring about fundamental change. We have a serious responsibility and we need commensurate credibility. Poorly conceived actions and positions do great damage to the cause.
The supreme decision making body of Hindraf is the Annual National Convention of Hindraf. At this convention all major policy matters are discussed and major decisions taken. The National Convention hands over the responsibility for the execution of policy to the Chairman and to the National Coordinating committee. The National Coordinating committee of Hindraf meets monthly to conduct the operations of Hindraf. These have been the democratically agreed upon operating principles of Hindraf.
Uthayakumar, in spite of being a key member of Hindraf, has abstained from attending the last Annual National Hindraf Convention and consequently has not been accorded any organizing role at the Convention for the year 2012. We perfectly understand his decisions are based on the fact that he is leading the Human Rights Party and wishes to avoid and conflict of interests.
We have to go to this length to clarify, as we operate on the basis of mutually agreed upon principles in the absence of a legally binding constitution, pending our registration. Uthayakumar, however continues to be the Legal Advisor to Hindraf as he himself declared at the first Annual National Convention of Hindraf in August 2010.
We have gone along up to now with his actions of issuing statements in the name of Hindraf (what are in truth his personal views), giving due regard to the fact that he has been one who has fearlessly articulated the marginalization issue of the Indian poor, and one who went to prison for the cause of the Indian poor. We have tried to keep the matter under wraps as we did not want these differences to upset the people that we represent as it is invariably bound to. But given where all this may lead, we now think the threshold has been reached. If we continue to accept these undemocratic practices, it is clear that it is certainly going to cause serious impediments to our efforts to bringing the Indian poor into the national mainstream of development and of ending racist and religious supremacist policies of the present government.
If we do not correct this situation now, the cause for which we struggle is about to be set back. We are not about to let that happen. It is clear we have to struggle even harder to keep the boat on even keel. As with all struggles, this seems to be part and parcel of struggles. Not only the struggle with the outside, but also struggle on the inside. Ultimately truth will prevail and we stand on the side of the truth and justice.
In the larger interest, we humbly request Uthayakumar to return to the path of collective wisdom and to desist from issuing any statements or take any unilateral actions in the name of Hindraf without due consultation and consent of the organization. His contribution to the cause of the Indian poor is undeniable. However he failed to realize Hindraf has matured into a Civil Rights Movement with International standing. At the same time, we would like it to be known that we have no objections to any and all positions or statements issued or actions taken by Uthayakumar in the name of the Human Rights Party which he personally formed and have small following.
National Organizing Secretary
Hindarf Makkal Sakthi.