Saturday, November 24, 2007

Anwar Ibrahim, Article 153 & Hindraf

The latest news in town is the intrepid Hindraf campaign to highlight the long outstanding issue of the marginalization of Indian Malaysians and their unanswered grievances. Yes, those poor Indians, after 50 years of independence and all they can show for themselves is the dubious title of Malaysia’s ‘Forgotten Community’.

So who can really blame the Hindraf people for taking the sensationalizing road to bring the world’s attention, especially the most important and much needed one of PM AAB, to their plight, that of being left behind, mired in hopelessness and carrying the impossible load of despair.

But Malaysiakini has reported that de facto leader of the PKR, Anwar Ibrahim has “… urged the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) to direct its grievances towards the ‘corrupt’ Umno-led Barisan Nasional government” and not Article 153 of the Constitution.

Campaigning against UMNO is a ‘given’ but why not against Article 153?

Let’s remind ourselves of what Article 153 is. According to Wikipedia:

Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia grants the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King of Malaysia) responsibility for safeguarding the rights and privileges of the Malay of East and West Malaysia, and other native people of Sabah & Sarawak, Malaysia, collectively referred to as Bumiputra.

However, it should be noted that this special protection does not cover the aboriginals of West-Malaysia, who are the original inhabitants of West-Malaysia. As such, the aboriginals of West-Malaysia does not have special privileges.

The article specifies how the federal government may protect the interest of these groups by establishing quotas for entry into the civil service, public scholarships and public education.

It is often considered to be part of the social contract, and is commonly cited as a legal defense of
ketuanan Melayu — the belief that the Malays are the "masters" (tuan) of Malaysia.

Article 153 is one of the most controversial articles in the Malaysian constitution. Critics consider it to create an unnecessary and racialist distinction between Malaysians of different ethnic backgrounds, because it has led to the implementation of affirmative action policies which only benefit the Bumiputra (excluding the aboriginals of West-Malaysia), who comprise a majority of the population.

Technically, discussing the repeal of Article 153 is illegal — even in Parliament, although it was drafted as a temporary provision to the Constitution. Despite this prohibition on discussion, the article is heatedly debated both privately and publicly among Malaysians. Opposition groups, especially the Democratic Action Party, are often against the implementation of the article although ostensibly maintaining support for it. Nevertheless, the article is viewed as a sensitive matter by many, with politicians who oppose it often being labelled as racist.

Malaysia’s most famous blogger, Raja Petra Kamarudin of the very popular and widely read Malaysia-Today website wrote 2 years ago, on 26 September 2005, that:

The truth is, the NEP is not ‘new’; meaning, created only in 1970. For all intents and purposes, the NEP, though it was never called that in the beginning, was always with us and was part of the Merdeka ‘package’, in that it had been written into Malaysia’s Federal Constitution. Therefore, whether one likes it or not, the NEP was something agreed by all races even before Malaya gained independence in 1957. The only thing is, it was never given any name (NEP) and was not aggressively implemented until 13 years after Merdeka.

Maybe that’s explains why Hindraf is suing the British for their colonial role or, to be more contemporary in Hindraf’s eyes, their colonial lack of due diligence to ensure equality and fairness for all Malayan/Malaysian citizens, by allowing such an Article to be written into the Constitution.

But then, why is Anwar Ibrahim concerned about Hindraf campaigning against Article 153? Why has he said, according to the Malaysiakini news report,
that “Hindraf has incorrectly attributed its grievances to the Constitution, in particular Article 153”?

Article 153 was, in Raja Petra’s words (see above), “aggressively implemented … 13 years after Merdeka”.

Raja Petra had also written: “The NEP, which was launched in 1970 after the infamous race riots of May 1969, was supposed to run for 20 years. By the end of the NEP in 1990 though, the 30% target set for the Bumiputera share of the economic pie fell far short, forcing the government to introduce a new policy that was basically the NEP in another form.”

If there was no Article 153, one could argue that Indian Malaysians might possibly not have suffered the same biblical fate as Moses (pbuh), wandering around for approximately 4o years in the Malayan/Malaysian ‘wilderness’ since 1969, during which time they fell off by the wayside, a callously castaway casualty of the relentless broadening and escalation of the ethnocentric NEP programmes, where now, even statistics on bumiputera economic achievements are deemed almost a State secret, sensitive and seditious to discuss.

Without Article 153 there wouldn’t be any legal legs for the NEP to stand on.

Now, isn’t dismantling the NEP one of Anwar Ibrahim’s latest policy? Or have I been wrong?

Anwar Ibrahim confuses me further by saying that while he expressed support for Hindraf to hold a peaceful demonstration,
"he appealed to the organisation to consider a more balanced and responsible approach to address its grievances" (see Malaysiakini).

What does he mean by Hindraf “to consider a more balanced and responsible approach to address its grievances”?

How would Hindraf be not balanced and not responsible in its approach of campaigning against Article 153?

Within the context of his statements, would I be wrong in assuming that to mean “Hindraf, hands off Article 153”?

(1) Malaysia's Economic Pariahs?
(2) The Toddy Syndrome


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I appreciate what Noor Aza wrote but I need to edit just a teeny weeny part of it ;-)

    Here's what he wrote:

    Noor Aza Othman said...

    This corrupted, coward and vicious Malaysian government is so afraid of ordinary people especially from the working class, expressing their discontent and resistance through democratic rights and means, that includes through peaceful protests.

    The main ruling party UMNO’s elite/capitalist class of Malay leaders who professed falsely to be devoted Islamic followers have indeed hijacked the religion so as to be barbaric, uncivilized and abusers of human rights!

    Being a Malay myself, I’ve only contempt for this elite/capitalist class of Malay leaders who actually manipulate racial-religious capitalist ideology of “Ketuanan Melayu” i.e. Malay-Islamic racial-religious (male) supremacy.

    To brainwash the (imaginary) united Malay/Islamic communities especially from the mostly brainwashed Malay [deleted] masses, to go on supporting them uncritically despite of these leaders’ betrayal to the whole Malay civilization and Islamic religion! And ashamedly, despite of my high education but due to my ignorance and uncritical consciousness and activism, I myself fell into the trap of such brainwashing strategy of defending such ideological racial-religious supremacy out of a sense of false loyalty and patriotism almost my whole life (Thus this is why we need to learn and educate ourselves with critical-thinking education throughout our whole life in order to be a true human being).

    Thus, the whole Malaysian (and hopefully, global) communities should move towards true socialist politics [deleted] (not pseudo ones like Maoism, Stalinism, Pol Pot-ism, Milosevic-ism and so on), to fight for true social justice for the poor and oppressed from any background, ABOVE race, religion, gender and nation-hood. That’s where loyalty & patriotism should be for - that is for true social justice consciousness and activism that encompass true equality, true freedom and other universal & secular-based fundamental human rights principles.

    Hopefully, the opposition parties in Malaysia such as the racial- religious Hindu based new party HINDRAF, despite of its good intentions, will also move away from such divisive racial-religious politics towards such socialist one; in order to fight for the oppressed and poor Indian communities. And to fight against the real enemy - the corrupted & greedy [deleted] from the ruling elite & capitalist class, be it from UMNO (Malay party), MCA (Chinese party), MIC (Indian party) & so on, although UMNO leaders are the main and most deceitful culprits. That is what & where the opposition parties in Malaysia should be moving towards, in the new era of Malaysian politics, based fundamentally on true social justice consciousness and activism especially for the poor & oppressed from all backgrounds; and for the preservation of our natural environment. And hopefully, where opposition parties globally also need to be heading towards, especially against the extremely corrupted and vicious “Third World” governments and ruling elite/capitalist class.

    Noor Aza Othman,

    Selangor, Malaysia.


    8:04 AM, November 24, 2007

  3. Remember the Kg Rimba Jaya incident where a 100-year old temple was unceremoniously demolished (observe the Malaysiakini youtube video embedded below)? Remember how "ineffective" Samy Vellu had become when he attempted to stop the demolition? At the rate we're going, Malaysia "Truly Asia" is demolishing a Hindu temple every 3 WEEKS! Talk about religious pluralism here, the creeping so-called "Islamisation" is definitely taking its toll on the Indian community. What's more, don't forget about the Moorthy's conversion case, and the many cases where Indians are forced to remain in Islam, via the infamous "rehabilitation" centre.

  4. By the statements of the leadership of the Indian ruling elites who run their political party and its affiliations just like that of the ruling elites in Umno, they seem very scared of the fact that the whole world will be watching the handover of the memorandum by the leaders and coordinators of Hindraf to the representatives of the British High Commission in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25.

    The ruling elites have come to a point where they no longer represent the Indian/Hindu masses in the country anymore as it has become pointless to go to them as they are not in a position to talk and debate with the Malay ruling Malay elites on the fate of the Indian masses in the country.

    Whenever a Hindu temple in demolished, the leaders of the Hindraf and the Indian leaders of the opposition are the first to be on the scene to look into the legality of such an act of demolishment as oppose to the leaders of the Indian ruling elites who are only there after the whole temple is in rubbles.

    The `community leaders` (touted by the Media like the Star) are in fact slaves under the kangani system of UMNO.

  5. I believe Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang has made a timely call for the royal commission to look beyond the mere authenticity of the Lingam videotape, when one considers that in late August this year, the chief justice Ahmad Fairuz made a startling proposal for the Malaysian courts to discard use of the time-honoured English common laws after 50 years of independence, and to use in its place syariah law.

    Needless to say, Dr Abdullah Mohd Zin, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department for religious affairs, praised Fairuz's proposal. Abdullah said that syariah law gives importance to justice.

    He said that didn`t he. I recall that too-after the `nyonya` case. A better understanding of that `importance to justice` can be obtained if a complete reading of that Syariah Court`s so-called `fairness` in their judgement - particularly with reference to the fact that the Syariah judges were guided by Ibn Khaldun - 3 times to recant and then its death for conversion.
    Of course, `nyonya` was dead by then.

  6. The Indian community is pissed off, and they’re not taking it lying down any more.

    Samy’s panties are in a knot: the media campaign in the NST is massive.

    No less than four pages dedicated to demonizing Sunday.

    Looks like a) Bersih really shook them up, b) Samy/MIC’s days are numbered.

    I mean, I think it’s the first bloody time four pages were ever dedicated to anything Indian :P

    Too little, too late.

  7. In this I agree. When I read what DSAI said in Malaysiakini, I had the sudden urge to tell him off. What more balanced and rational means? Through the castrated political process? Through an ambiguous opposition coalition? Through the intervention of MIC?

    Just what balanced and reasonable way of doing things?

    Indians are, if DSAI doesn't get it, damn angry. But for the consequences of any violence tomorrow on BERSIH's rally - or any future rally, for that matter - I would be fully behind Hindraf's cry for something to be done.

  8. Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy has said that Tunku had only wanted the Malay special privileges instituted for 15 years.

    Hindraf has collated some of the declassified documents (e.g. on Reid Commission) it looked at when in London into a booklet selling for RM50. However, it's not really a proper book but photostats bound.

  9. kamu semua tidak berguna..
    menghancurkan tanah air sendiri..
    sepatutnya kamu semua(kaum india) bersyukur dapat hidup senang lenang di malaysia..membiakkan keturunan kamu..mencari kesenangan dan kekayaan..
    tapi kamu semua tidak bersyukur..malah membuat pelbagai kekacauan.terima kasih dgn demonstrasi itu,dan percayalah bahawa selepas ini kejadian 13 mei pasti akan berulang kembali.pastinya akan terjadi pergaduhan antara kaum..dan akhirnya akan tertumpahnya pertumpahan darah sekali lagi..
    kte sebagai org melayu seppttnya berganding bahu sesama bangsa melayu.dan tdak menjadikan hal ini sbgi isu POLITIK atau sebagainya..tapi kiter seharusnya mempertahankan maruah dan kehormatan org melayu..bukan nyer cube menjatuhkan martabat kaum melayu sendri..berfikirlah demi anak bangsa melayu...

  10. Why not the Malaysian's leader practise what they preach by "Democratic Country" where every citizen is allowed to voice out their inidividual/groups oppinion towards government action? Why is the separation based on RELIGION, when there is only one race in malaysia-MALAYSIAN ? The benefit which is currently "enjoyed" by one race now, should be made availableto all malaysia born MALAYSIAN, not only so-called BUMI'S !!!

    *separation here means the priveligies given only to one ethnic when every inidividual deserves for it.

  11. God is truth and truth will win....
    This is SATYAM.

  12. "kamu semua tidak berguna..
    menghancurkan tanah air sendiri..
    sepatutnya kamu semua(kaum india) bersyukur dapat hidup senang lenang di malaysia..membiakkan keturunan kamu.."

    malay membiak apa...cakap ...
    mulut tak mahu jagake....