'Hindraf’s detractors want Hindraf to split and implode; it makes life a lot easier for all of them to help themselves to the Indians votes'
INTERVIEW: K Kabilan, FMT
After spending almost five years in exile in London, Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy is scheduled to return home to Malaysia on Wednesday.
He is now in Singapore, having arrived from London late Sunday. He has been issued a Malaysian passport by the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore, facilitating his return to his home nation without any glithces.
While Waythamoorthy himself believes that the authorities could arrest him upon him stepping into the country, his mere presence back home after the long absence has reignited a strong belief among Hindraf supporters.
Most of them believe that the timing of Waythamoorthy’s return was perfect, just as the nation was gearing up for a general election, a time when the Indian community’s plight could once again be raised at the national level.
Speaking to FMT in an interview recently, Hindraf adviser N Ganesan said Waythamoorthy’s return will herald the emergence of a strong and determined leader to lead the Indian community towards a better future.
“There is unfortunately a serious vacuum in this space today,” he said.
“His presence back in the country will rejuvenate the core Hindraf activist group,” he added.
Ganesan said that Waythamoorthy, who left the country on Nov 28, 2007, three days after the movement organised a mammoth rally in the streets of Kuala Lumpur, would be able to “tell a convincing story on the current sordid state of the marginalised Indians”, especially to the marginalised Indians throughout the country.
“His return will be above partisan politics and will have great appeal to the people and has significant opportunity to unite the Indian Malaysians,” he said.
In the interview, Ganesan also dismissed talk of frictions within the Hindraf ranks. He also explained the relationship between Hindraf and Human Rights Party, helmed by Waythamoorthy’s brother Uthayakumar.
Below is the excerpt of FMT’s interview with Ganesan:
What will be the impact of P Waythamoorthy’s return on Aug 1? What has he achieved during his period in exile?
To start with, the exile is not self-imposed. It was imposed on him. He has only used the exile period to Hindraf’s great advantage and now sees a logical point in his sojourn to return home and test the will of the government to continue to keep him in exile.
Waythamoorthy’s return will herald the emergence of a new strong, determined, independent, proud, brilliant leader of high integrity to lead the Indian community towards a better future. There is unfortunately a serious vacuum in this space today.
Waythamoorthy is a brimming personality for all those who know him. His presence back in the country will rejuvenate the core Hindraf activist group. The logistics of formulating and executing plans will be greatly facilitated. His depth of knowledge about the antecedents leading up to the current sordid state of the marginalised Indians will enable Hindraf to tell a convincing story, especially to the marginalised Indians throughout the country. It will be above partisan politics and will have great appeal to the people and has significant opportunity to unite the Indian Malaysians.
Notice the dead silence on the part of Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat on news of Hindraf’s registering of the case against the UK government and his announcement to return to Malaysia. It is not that they are not interested. They are very interested. In the recent candle-light vigil on July 20, 2012, across the country demanding the government issue a passport to Waythamoorthy to return to Malaysia, there was a very significant number of Special Branch plainclothes policemen in attendance at all the vigils. What was the need?
What is the role of Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy and that of Hindraf de facto leader P Uthayakumar?
Uthayakumar has always only been the legal adviser to Hindraf. Uthayakumar has been named the de facto leader by the local media in the absence of Waythamoorthy from the local scene. Uthayakumar remains the legal adviser to Hindraf and the pro-tem secretary-general of the Human Rights Party and Waythamoorthy is the chairperson of Hindraf, who leads and directs all activities of Hindraf.
Is there a split within the Hindraf ranks?
The answer is clearly, no, there is no split within the Hindraf ranks. Hindraf has its share of differences like any other and the media has a field day with all of that.
Look at (DAP chairman) Karpal (Singh)’s ‘over my dead body comment’ on the Islamic state issue and look at all the senior Chinese DAP leaders’ ongoing dead silence on the matter – do they have a split in their ranks?
Look at the recent statement by PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat who congratulated Umno on its assemblyperson’s proposal to implement hudud law in Johor for all races. Not long after, Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud, the Kota Raja PAS MP, in a comment stated that Pakatan would also fight for Hindraf’s cause, although not on a racial platform.