April 19, 2013
P Waythamoorthy sells out the Indians to Najib with MOU
Heeding the call of Hindraf, these people came from all over the country, braving tear gas, water cannons and police batons in the attempt to highlight their plight.
The authorities’ high-handed response to the protest and the subsequent detention of five Hindraf leaders saw Malaysian Indians, who until then were considered true blue supporters of Barisan Nasional, cast their ballots in favour of the opposition in the 2008 polls.
Much has changed since then and Hindraf’s influence has waned due to the infighting, which forced its top leaders to go in separate directions.
And now, six years after that mammoth protest, the movement’s self-proclaimed leader P Waythamoorthy, who spent several years in self-imposed exile in London, during which he championed the Hindraf agenda and condemned BN in the international arena, has made a 180 degree turn.
He has inked an agreement with BN and called on Indian voters to back Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s administration in the general election, a move which has drawn widespread condemnation.
Detractors are convinced that Waythamoorthy (right) pocketed a handsome sum in return for his allegiance but the Hindraf leader claims that he did so because BN is willing to agree to the movement’s terms of uplifting the Indians whereas Pakatan Rakyat ignored them.
‘What kind of message is this?’
Asked how she felt about the latest development, BERSIH co-chairperson S Ambiga preferred to withhold her comment, pointing out that Hindraf is free to enter into political pacts of its choice.
However, the former Bar Council president is appalled by Waythamoorthy’s statement based on the Hindu epic, “Ramayana”.
After inking the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Najib, the Hindraf leader remarked that it did not matter if the nation is ruled by Ravana or Rama.
According to Ambiga, this is a wrong message to send out to the community and children. “I am horrified that Waythamoorthy said it does not matter whether Rama or Ravana rules. This is shocking since Ravana is seen as the embodiment of evil and Rama, the embodiment of goodness.Furthermore, this message is intended for the Indians and the Hindus revere Lord Rama,” she said.
“I am utterly shocked that he is selling this idea that it does not matter if the ruler is good or evil and that it is all right to negotiate with evil. What kind of message is that?” she added.
Uthayakumar: I am shocked
Waythamoorty’s decision has also shocked his brother, Uthayakumar, who also addresses himself as the de facto leader of Hindraf. Speaking to FMT, he said Waythamoorthy only emerged in the picture after the five were detained under the Internal Security Act.
Just before he returned to Malaysia, Uthayakumar said there were some unsual movements, where his brother became more secretive and started creating a group for himself.
“When he came back, I did not want to challenge him because then people will talk that the brothers are battling for positions. But I went to jail, I did not run away, and I am still taking the bull by the horns; the ‘BN bull’ is Hindraf’s number one enemy,” he stressed.
“I always thought that he [Waythamoorthy] was trying to pressure Pakatan. But when he crossed over… that was it. The Hindraf struggle has never been about supporting BN,” he added.
Asked what he thought about Waythamoorthy’s comments with regard to the Ramayana, Uthayakumar said that to the Indian poor, it does not matter whether Rama or Ravana ruled.
“Our position has always been clear. We maintain that the Indians should not vote for BN but we don’t tell them to vote for Pakatan either; that is an individual choice as we do not want to be responsible for Pakatan’s non-delivery in terms of the Indians as seen in the states the Opposition controls.
“In that context, whether Rama or Ravana rules it does not make a difference to the Indian poor… but to the country overall, a change in government will make a difference, as there will be better governance, transparency, less corruption, independent judiciary and so forth,” he said.