An Open Letter to the Leaders of Pakatan Rakyat on the Common Policy Frame

It is one thing to come up with a document like the Common Policy Frame, it is another thing to realize it in practice. What really matters to the people is whether all the leaders of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition really understand what is contained in that document with all its implications and whether they really mean all of that.

By Narayanan Ganesan, Pro-Tem Central Committee Member and Advisor to the Human Rights Party

Let me first first quote from Dato Zaid Ibrahim’s speech:

“Pakatan rejects policies that allow for corruption and other financial crimes and abuse of power. In order to ensure sustainable growth, oppressive policies that had only enriched the few should be replaced with a policy that ensures that the poor are assisted regardless of race.”

And I also quote from the CPF Section (3) Social Justice, subsection (B) on religion, with a focus on para 5:


B. Religion
Religion and other beliefs practiced by Malaysians should form the basis of unity that is founded on good universal values.

Malaysians have almost fallen into the boiling pot of discord and tension that was caused by manipulation of religious differences.

This should not happen in a genuinely democratic Malaysia, with Islam occupying a special position whilst the rights of other religions are guaranteed.

Pakatan vows to:



5. Ensure suitable areas for places of worship and burial grounds for all religions.      

Now let me pose this situation to the leaders of PR and see what the PR leaders would like to do on the matter. This one issue may not be large in its scope, but it will be telling about the seriousness of the PR leaders in relation to their pronouncements in the CPF. We do not expect a written response. We are interested in seeing the CPF spirit being applied to the situation. This is a test of the pudding, so to speak. Do they really mean what they say in the CPF document or are there some fine print we may all be missing out on.

In Kuala Ketil, Kedah, a Hindu Burial Ground that has been there from before independence and is on the verge of being demolished by the Kedah State PR Government because the PR government there wants to build a Kolej around it now. This is a development effort, we applaud it. But it is also about the method they have chosen to go about it that raises some questions in relation to the Common Policy Frame. Basically, we want to see how the Common Policy Frame relates to the needs, interests and rights of the poor and the marginalized.

1) This Hindu Burial Ground was obviously not considered for preservation at the outset of the Development project by the Kedah State PR government. Otherwise we would not have a problem here now.

Now, the CPF says – ensure suitable areas of places for burial ground for all religions. Should not the State government stop and reconsider what their decision should be now or should they proceed with the demolishment nevertheless.

Surely “suitable areas” does not mean a definition of suitability for the developer or for the state only. Surely it must mean suitability for the people as well. Therefore the unilateral decision by the PR State Government of Kedah to demolish the existing burial grounds and to merge it with pre-existing other burial grounds is inconsistent with the CPF document. So, should the State PR government pause for a while to review the situation in light of the CPF?

This is a real opportunity for the demonstration of the inclusive values espoused in the CPF. The consideration of the interests and needs of all the people and involvement of all the people in decisions affecting them is concrete expression of this inclusiveness. If this is not to happen, it raises the question as to what the word “Common” in the Common Policy Frame really means – common to whom, common for what. Is it Common to the poor and marginalized as well or is that common for a select few only?

2) The Kedah State PR Government, instead of resolving this issue with the proper representative Association, the Kuala Ketil Tamilar Association that it now calls it haram (even though it has had several discussions with the association previously until a deadlock happened), is now trying to get around it by offering a general offer to each of the poor families there RM3,000 to dig up the graves and move the remains over to the other pre-existing burial grounds.

This is already atrocious in itself. Now with the position of Pakatan on corruption as stated by Dato Zaid Ibrahim and let me quote “Pakatan rejects policies that allow for corruption and abuse of power. In order to ensure sustainable growth, oppressive policies that had only enriched the few should be replaced with a policy that ensures that the poor are assisted regardless of race.”  it makes it all the more urgent and necessary for the Kedah State Government to stop this corrupting act immediately and sit down with the legitimate representatives of the people there and hammer out an equitable and acceptable solution.

Does not the payment of RM 3,000 to each of the poor families while circumventing the Association not amount to corruption? When such  inducements are offered to the poor, the response is a given. They are poor. This is exactly the method that has been used to usurp the basic entitlements of the poor and marginalized all these years since Independence. Give them peanuts and take away their fundamental rights.

The UMNO government used this exact method of corruption by regularly offering inducements to the MIC Mandores and had them forsake the rights and opportunities of the Indians for the last 50+ years. This is what caused the big rebellion among the Indians. This is what the Pakatan seeks to change. So, here is an opportunity. Now what will Pakatan’s position be on this matter?

Sustainable growth and policies that ensure that the poor are assisted regardless of race surely means a permanent resolution to the question of land in so many areas relating to the Indian poor – burial grounds, places of worship, squatter settlements, Tamil schools, to name the major areas. In this case, sustainable growth will translate to having a Master plan for all these issues, and may be now starting with burial grounds for the Hindu dead in Kedah. This is the substance of sustainable  growth – a consideration of all requirements and optimization for the various requirements at planning stages so nothing valuable is compromised, everything is considered and the right balance is achieved.

This is our request to Pakatan. Please show us that you are serious about the Common Policy Frame. Please show us it is not just a vote-getting device. Show us now, before we vote. Show us you are different from the Barisan in Truth.