Malaysian Indians to raise racism issue at diaspora meet While people of Indian origin continue to script success stories in various parts of the world, a group of human right activists from fifth generation Indians in Malaysia claim the situation is a little different in their country.

P. Uthayakumar, secretary general of Human Right Party in Malaysia, a fifth generation Malaysian Indian himself, has come here to attend the
Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) 2010 conference Jan 7-9 and garner support to raise the issue of alleged human rights violations against people of Indian origin in Malaysia.

People of Indian origin form about eight percent of Malaysia’s 27 million population. Most are from Tamil Nadu, taken to Malaysia by the former British colonial rulers to work in rubber plantations.

Uthayakumar, 49, told IANS: “We Indians in Malaysia, who have lived in Malaysia for up to five generations in many cases, find ourselves hemmed and blocked by racism and religious extremism there.”

“Complete neglect of the conditions of the vast majority of the Indian Malaysians has resulted in large scale dispossession and marginalisation
of the vast majority of Indians in Malaysia,” he added.

Uthayakumar said: “The extent of human right violations can be gauged from the fact that a group of lawyers was detained without any trial for about one and a half years after they led a rally of Malaysian Indians in 2007 which was protesting demolition of Indian temples and growing ethnic violence against them.”

Uthayakumar himself spent 514 days in a Malaysian jail after he was charged with sedition for using the term “ethnic cleansing”.

“I was jailed without any trial under the draconian Internal Security Act. I was released after 514 days in detention without trial on May 9, 2009.

“As soon as I go back to Malaysia after this conference I may be jailed gain for another three years under charges of ‘sedition’ just because I
have been raising the issue of ethnic cleansing of Malaysian Indians at various public platforms.”

There are around two million ethnic Indians in Malaysia, says a report on human rights violations against the ethnic Indian minority, prepared under the aegis of Human Rights Party of Malaysia by Uthayakumar and his co-workers, mostly lawyers.

“We have documentary evidence, pictures and facts and figures to prove that Malaysian Indians are suffering from grave human rights violations,” he said.

Uthayakumar said he would try and present this report titled “Malaysian Indian Minority and Human Rights Violation Annual Report 2009” during the BD 2010 conference.

The 59-page report lists various alleged human rights violations against Malaysian Indians in Malaysia under 15 different categories including
education, basic citizen rights, poverty, housing, licences and permits for trades and regulated occupations, and government funds allocation.

A copy of this report, which Uthayakumar and his colleagues would be sharing with delegates in the conference, is with IANS.

The report says: “The current ruling coalition in government, dominated by the UMNO (United Malay national Organisation) party runs a racist, religious extremist and supremacist government.

“By explicit state policies the vast majority of Malaysian Indians are excluded from the national mainstream development of Malaysia.”

It adds that people of Indian origin are being systematically denied equal opportunities.

As a result about 70 percent of the Indian Malaysians are suffering from acute poverty, the report says. It cites several incidents related to
demolitions of Hindu temples, burial grounds and traditional settlements of Indian Malaysians.

“Much of the details are from reports in various Malaysian dailies. These acts cannot be argued as most of them come from the establishment sponsored mainstream media,” the report says.