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Islam and Human Rights ( 23 Jun 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Malaysia: Mahathir under fire from exiled Hindraf leader


By Ahti Veeranggan

Dr Mahathir Mohamad came under fire today for suggesting that the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) was made up of Tamil racists.

Exiled Hindraf leader P Waytha Moorthy slammed the former premier's racist attack as "typical of Mahathir trying to erase all his wrongdoings during his 22-year dictator-like rule as the country's fourth prime minister."

All Malaysians, he said, know that Mahathir was single-handedly responsible for wiping out the impartiality of the legislative, judiciary and executive powers through widespread abuse or power, corruption, nepotism and cronyism as well as destroying racial harmony in multi racial Malaysia.

"We are disappointed but not surprised by Mahathir's remarks. He is bent to safeguard his personal agenda rather than Malaysian interests", Waytha Moorthy added.

In a blog post this week, Mahathir chided MIC president Samy Vellu for campaigning alongside DAP chairperson Karpal Singh and former UN special rapporteur Param Cumaraswamy in calling him (Mahathir) a racist.

He criticised Samy Vellu for requesting the government to release the five Hindraf leaders detained under the Internal Security Act despite the fact that Hindraf represented Tamil racists, whose motives were akin to Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka and were seeking their former British colonial masters to protect them and did not believe in Malaysian institutions.

"Hindraf speaks not just of Indians but of Tamils as a separate race. Hindraf and its apologists are racist to the core," Mahathir wrote.

"His racial sling shots hurled at others will not undo the damage he had done to the country, nor will it address his failures as premier to provide equal and fair education, business, economic and religious opportunities to all, especially Malaysian Indians," said Waytha Moorthy in his online posting to his Makkal Sakti supporters, as Hindraf is popularly known now.

Indians conveniently ignored

Pointing out that Hindraf represents the oppressed and suppressed Malaysians of Indian origin, so systematically marginalised over the years, he stressed that the struggle for equality and fairness goes beyond race, religion, creed and skin colour.

The administrations under both Mahathir and current Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Waytha Moorthy said, have conveniently ignored and swept under the carpet the plight and grievances of Indian Malaysians raised by Hindraf over the years.

"However, Mahathir will continue with his usual antics to divert attention from his wrongdoings which are all being uncovered now," said the exiled Hindraf chairperson.

Waytha Moothy's brother Uthayakumar, Kota Alam Shah state rep M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and T Vasantha Kumar are being detained in Kamunting Detention Centre, Taiping since last Dec13 last after organising a mammoth rally in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25 against perceived marginalisation and discrimination of Malaysians of Indian origin.

MIC deputy president G Palanivel has rebuked Mahathir's wrong perception on Hindraf and reminded the former premier "to remember his own roots" before making such statements, obviously referring to the former premier's forefathers, who are from South India.

It is an open secret that Mahathir's father, a school teacher, migrated to Malaysia from the southern Indian state of Kerala and subsequently married a Malay woman.

Waytha Moorthy likened Mahathir's continuous political and racial bickering as 'a broken record' failing to seek solutions on the grievances of the oppressed and suppressed Indian Malaysians.

Hindraf's goal, he pointed out, was to defend and protect Indian Malaysians in their quest for equal and fair participation in the educational, religious and economic spheres, and to set themselves free from the current oppressive system practiced by the ruling administration that clearly defied basic human right and freedom.

Jun 21, 2008, Singapore Indian Voice