My political thoughts during the Hunger Viratham Day Four 

There are six major proposals in Hindraf’s 5 year blueprint. The first 5 are specific to programs and recommendations that directly impact the lives of the Indian poor. The sixth proposal is however universal in its implications to all of Malaysian society and is clearly a proposal that when realized will make Malaysia a mature democracy.


P. Waythamoorthy


This is the fourth day of my Hunger Viratham. Today I have begun limiting my talking. I spend my time in prayers, thinking, writing and resting.


In this third part I will be penning my thoughts on the contributions that Hindraf is making and has made to move Malaysia to be a true democracy.


Part 3


Hindraf is moving Malaysia towards true democracy


There are six major proposals in Hindraf’s 5 year blueprint. The first 5 are specific to programs and recommendations that directly impact the lives of the Indian poor. The sixth proposal is however universal in its implications to all of Malaysian society and is clearly a proposal that when realized will make Malaysia a mature democracy.


The sixth proposal in the Blueprint reads:


6. Bringing Human Rights Practice in Malaysia up to International Standards


1)        To bring the standard of Malaysian law to be consistent with international human rights law and international humanitarian law by signing and ratifying the following International Covenants of the United Nations and then to adjust the Malaysian laws to be consistent with our commitment to these International laws.. 


·                International Covenant  on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR)

·                International Covenant on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)


2)        To adopt the guiding principles as set forth in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement by the United Nations.


The implications of the signing and ratification of these UN Covenants obliges Malaysia to the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination. Parties are obliged to not discriminate on the basis of race, not to sponsor or defend racism, and to prohibit racial discrimination within their jurisdictions. They must also review their laws and policies to ensure that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, and commit to amending or repealing those that do.


This sixth demand in our blueprint is clearly consistent with all the Human Rights work that Hindraf has been doing. These Human Rights legislations are protective laws. Malaysia is a multicultural, multiethnic society and  is vulnerable to manipulations of greedy elements within.


Just look at what has happened in our country. An institutionalized racist regime has developed since the inception of the nation. Dr. Benjamin Bowling of School of Law, King’s College London defines Institutionalized racism thus: Institutionalised racism is the process by which people from ethnic minorities are systematically discriminated against by a range of public and private bodies. If the result or outcome of established laws, customs or practices is racially discriminatory, then institutional racism can be said to have occurred.


The hallmarks of the institutionalized racist regime in our country are:

a)        The Federal Constitution basically establishes 2 classes of citizens, vide Article 153, the root of the racist system. 

b)        The State sanctions racist and religious extreme laws and policies

c)        The State controls the Government Administration through one racial and religious group

d)        The State channels most funds for economic/education/social development programs and licenses, permits etc., to one 


e)        The State controls Religious freedom to the disadvantage of non-Muslims, imposes of Muslim religious laws on non- 

            Muslims and extends the jurisdiction of the Syaria Courts onto non-Muslims.

f)         The State sponsors violence and threats of violence both directly and indirectly (outsourced) on the citizens to create 

           fear among the non-Malay non-Muslims.

g)        The State sanctions draconian, punitive laws and gives blank cheques to the Police to make arbitrary arrests of 


h)        The State explicitly and implicitly declares that the Malays  are the masters  (Malay Supremacy) and the sons of soil.


All of this is in direct contravention to the stipulations of the International laws. Hindraf in including this into the Blueprint is boldly speaking up for all Malaysians.


The Blueprint document that boldly calls for the establishment of a set of laws that will eliminate racism in our country is categorized as a narrow race-centred document by our detractors. Both BN and Pakatan today are not inclined to open their mouths on these issues now or ever. Yet they can call themselves “ Beyond Racial Boundaries” and “1Malaysia” and turn around and brand Hindraf as a racist or an extremist organization.


In addition to these demands in the Blueprint, much of what Hindraf pursues relates to changes that are fundamental in nature. It is our belief that only changes that are fundamental can promote the cause of true democracy. Instead what we get today that which is called change and progress towards more democracy are cosmetic changes, one upmanship changes or just simple face changes. What we need are some fundamental changes like:

  • Clear and unambiguous commitment to the principles of Equality for all as stipulated in Article 8 of the Federal Constitution as in the original Reid Commission submission.
  • Strict adherence to the original spirit and intention of the Malaysian Constitution .
  •  Constitutional amendments  to incorporate a truly impartial and independent Constitutional Court .
  •  Increased checks and balances to maintain integrity of the key institutions of the Government.
  • To implement new economic programs to benefit all Malaysians irrespective of   race and religion.
  • To provide protection for minority rights.
  • To give Borneo states their promised autonomy as per the 1963 Malaysia agreement.
  • To adopt and ratify all International Human   rights treaties and to abolish all repressive laws.

These are some of the fundamental changes that Hindraf struggles for. In doing this Hindraf is promoting the cause of a more mature democracy in our country, of a more robust and prosperous Malaysia for all. The reality of Malaysia is it is a multicultural and multiethnic nation. The way forward is more fundamental change consistent with this reality. If all we tinker around with is some nominal change at the fringes we are going to be getting more of the same for years to come.

Those that wish to see our demise cast us as a narrow racist organization, inspite of the fcat that we struggle to promote democracy boldly. They use a convoluted definition of racism to cast us thus. We we stand up for the victims of institutionalized racism, and in which book of true learning does that constitute racism. The basis for truth cannot be who can shout louder.