Hindraf-BN talks: Decision this month

Feelings at the grassroots are ambivalent, say sources.

Athi Shankar, FMT

Hindraf will decide this month whether to hold talks with the Barisan Nasional leadership to find permanent solutions to the socio-economic problems plaguing Malaysian Indians.

The movement’s central executive committee (CEC) met on Sunday to discuss the matter but could not reach a decision after hours of deliberation.

Sources said the CEC members paid particular attention to the ambivalence of grassroots feelings. Apparently, while many grassroots members are in favour of an electoral tie-up with Pakatan Rakyat, they are also dissatisfied with the performance of Pakatan state governments in championing the cause of marginalised working class Indians.

Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy said the 15-member committee would meet again this month to make a decision.

“Personally, I feel there is no harm meeting the prime minister,” he told FMT today.

“But the CEC must collectively sanction any decision in the community’s interest, not personal interests. We will announce our official stand.”

The idea for the talks with BN emerged after the government lifted its ban on Hindraf last week.

This came months after Hindraf had held talks with PAS and PKR and submitted its “Indian Blueprint” to both parties for their adoption.

The movement has said that it would support any political organisation that would agree in writing to adopt the blueprint, which recommends a five-year programme aimed at the betterment of the Indian community.

Waythamoorthy told FMT he was upset that “certain quarters” had spread “rumours and misinformation” about Hindraf merely because the movement did not respond immediately to the lifting of the government ban.