Reexamining the Hindraf Memorandum

By Hakim Joe

On the 18th of August 2008, Hindraf leaders presented an 18-point Memorandum to the PM. This was a time when militancy has yet to seep into the rank and file of this group of people, but no matter how one look at the demands, it still emanates racism.

Point Number 3 – Call for affirmative action plans for all poor Malaysians especially the ethnic minority Indians.  

Point Number 4 – All 523 Tamil schools in Malaysia to be made fully aided government schools … and a grant amounting to RM100 billion to be allocated (over 5 years) for refurbishing the existing 523 Tamil schools and the rebuilding of 300 Tamil schools demolished over the past 50 years.  

Point Number 8 – 20% of the Government top most level postings (Secretary Generals), middle level management (Directors) and Management level (Managers) postings, and the same for the Private Sectors and positions of District Officers, Foreign and Diplomatic Service positions, civil service positions are reserved for Indians for the next 15 years. 

Point Number 10(b) – Compensation at RM10 million per temple be paid by UMNO controlled Malaysian Government for the 15,000 Hindu temples demolished up to date over the last 50 years. 

Point Number 12 – The UMNO controlled government forms with immediate effect a Royal Commission of Enquiry into the Kampung Medan mini Genocide, condemns the violence thereto, apologizes to the Indian community on this mini genocide, undertakes not to repeat the same in future and pay a compensation of RM1,000,000 for each and every citizen killed, permanently maimed, maimed or injured in this tragedy. 

Point Number 13 – Each and every Indian especially the Indian poor in the aforesaid 70% poor and hardcore poor category is paid compensation which is to be adjudicated and determined by the United Nations Secretary General for the aforesaid 50 years of Constitutional violations by the UMNO controlled government. 

Point Number 15 – A Royal Commission of Inquiry is initiated to report on the aforesaid constitutional violations by the UMNO controlled government and appropriate recommendations for amongst others further affirmative action plans for especially the 70% Indian poor and hardcore poor category. 

Point Number 16 – All forms of religious discrimination, oppression and suppression of the Indians/Hindu in both the public and private sectors are stopped with immediate effect and a Race Relations Commission Act 2007, an Equal Opportunities Commission Act 2007 and a Freedom of Religion Commissions Act 2007 be passed and powerful Commission thereto be put into force to give effect to anti racism, anti Islamic extremism and anti direct discrimination practices by the UMNO controlled government in both the public and private sectors. 

Point Number 17 – The UMNO controlled government passes specific laws to give effect to the Independence of the Judiciary, the Attorney General’s Chambers, Civil service, Police Force, Army, the Malaysian Human Rights Commission and the Malaysian media and for the opposition parties, NGOs’ Civil Society groups, Bar Council and the media not to discriminate and side step Indian issues but instead to voice out the same without fear or favour. The Malaysian media is also to be legislated to report the real happenings especially on the 70% Indian poor and hardcore poor without fear or favor. 

Point Number 18 – A minimum of 20 Opposition members of Parliament are elected exclusively by the Indian community to represent their interest at the highest political level and also as a Parliamentary Democracy check and balance and the same is safeguarded and entrenched into the federal Constitution and which is to be increased proportionally with the increase in parliamentary seats. 

How many MT readers can stand up and truthfully say that the above does not smell of pure racism?

Point Number 3, why use the “especially” word? Are there no poor and hardcore poor Chinese and Malays or Ibans or Kadazans? Why must the entire Malaysian people give special preference to the poor and hardcore poor Indians? 

Point Number 4, are all Chinese schools fully government aided? Same as above, why must all Malaysians cater to the needs of one race? Isn’t it bad already now with the NEP? Why specifically RM100 billion? Look, even the economic stimulus packages are not allocated such budgets. So tell me, should the country bankrupt itself merely to satisfy the minority Indians? 

Point Number 8, 20% to be allocated especially to Indians for the next 15 years. Come on, you have got to be kidding. Firstly, the ratio of Indians as compared to the other races are but a mere 8%. Secondly, ever heard of the word “meritocracy”? Thirdly, who makes the final decision as to which Indian is allocated which position? Hindraf perhaps? 

Point Number 10, Compensation of RM10 million per temple for 15,000 temples equals RM150 billion. First you want RM100 billion, now you want another RM150 billion. And who gets to pocket the “compensations”? 

Point Number 12, if I am not mistaken, it was an Indian fella who started it first by kicking the chairs and tables. Just mere misinformation from UMNO again? Tell you what, I happen to know the family whose chairs and tables were kicked around. Nice Malay chap. Okay, he might have told me lies (or not) but Hindraf wants a Royal Commission and an apology and an undertaking and compensation. Tell me something, what is the purpose of a Royal Commission? To investigate the matter, right? How can you force an apology, undertaking and compensation when the Royal Commission you seek has not revealed its investigation findings? Jumping the gun a wee bit, right? An another RM 1 million compensation for each and every individual involved in the fracas? So, if one Indian hits a Malay and the Malay retaliates and hits the Indian, both get compensated RM 1 million for their sakes, right? 

Point Number 13, what gives these poor and hardcore poor Indians the right to make such claims? Malaysia is a land of opportunity. For those who are determined to get an education and to work their butts off, there will be rewards. It is only those that bum around hoping for charity that remains in the “ghetto”. Get that right! 

Point Number 15, affirmative action plan? Isn’t that akin to NEP? So, instead of doing away with any such plans, the Malaysians owe it to the Indians to have an affirmative action plan for them. If this were to happen (which I sincerely doubt), Malaysia will now possess two affirmative action plans, one for Bumiputeras and one for Indians. 

Point Number 16, same as Point Number 3. Why the special treatment for Indians only? Aren’t we all Malaysians? Hindraf speaks of anti racism but attempts to garner special treatment for Indians only. 

Point Number 17, one “favor” is spelt the Americanized way without the “u” and the other is the British way with the “u”. (Gosh, I sure am pedantic!) Anyway, the last sentence smacks of racism again. Why, oh why, the Indians only? 

Point Number 18, that a minimum of 20 parliamentarians must be of Indian ancestry. Hello, this nation supports a democratic system and in a democratic system, parliamentarians are elected by the masses, not appointed. If Hindraf supposes that the Indian community supports them through and through, let them appoint a representative to contest in the elections and if the voters think that this chap is capable, then he 9or she) will be elected. It is as simple as that! 

Okay, now what does much of the 18 points tell you?