Hindraf doubts Najib’s sincerity

(FMT) — Hindraf has cast aspersions on the sincerity of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s invitation to hold a discussion. The premier’s courtship, said Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy, had not left the movement flushed with excitement as it could be related to the coming general election.

“We are not exactly excited about this invitation but we have decided to give him the benefit of doubt,” he told reporters here.

He said the invitation had come late on the part of the government since the Indian poor had been marginalised for decades.

Waythamoorthy also urged Najib to lift the ban on Hindraf imposed by his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration.

“It does not make sense for the prime minister to meet leaders of a banned organisation.

“There is no timeline on when it should be lifted but of course we would like for the ban to be lifted as soon as possible,” he added.

Hindraf had become a foul word during Abdullah’s tenure after the movement staged a massive street protest in 2007, which was seen as the catalyst for the following year’s political tsunami.

Meanwhile, Waythamoorthy also called on Najib to shed his “current box of thinking” in order to facilitate meaningful discussions between them.

“He must be able to come far with us to consider our suggested solutions which are permanent, comprehensive and practical,” he added.

On Aug 29, Hindraf made open requests to both Najib and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim to hold discussions on finding solutions to the long-standing problems plaguing the Indian poor.

Anwar responded first and talks between them had started, with more meetings in the pipeline.

On a related matter, Waythamoorty said Hindraf would unveil its five-year blueprint to bring the Indian poor into the mainstream of national development on Nov 25.

This would be its prioritised plan as derived from its 18-point demand given originally to the government in August 2007.

Asked for a preview of the blueprint, Waythamoorty said he was not in a position to reveal its contents but gave an example of the condition of 350,000 stateless Indians in Malaysia.

“The solution would be for anyone born in Malaysia from Aug 31, 1957 onwards to be declared as citizens of Malaysia.

“A statutory declaration by those involved should be sufficient for the National Registration Department (NRD) to issue them with a blue identity card,” he added.