Home English News Hindraf ban lift: BN’s master stroke to prop up dwindling Indian support

Hindraf ban lift: BN’s master stroke to prop up dwindling Indian support

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Waytha-SliderKuala Lumpur, Jan 27 – Finally, after 4 years of waiting, Hindraf has been declared legal by the Malaysian government. The movement was banned by then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in October 2008.

The Registry of Societies which is under the Home Ministry, in a letter dated 25January 2013 addressed to Chairman of Hindraf P.Waythamoorthy, lifted the ban.

It is a step in the right direction by the BN government as it reflects wishes of people and the government’s commitment on freedom of association.

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Technically, except for some matters like opening of official bank account, Hindraf continued with its struggle as though it is a legal entity. They did not succumb to the ban and its activities were conducted under the Hindraf banner in broad daylight.

All over the country, talks were arranged for Waythamoorthy under the Hindraf banner. The authorities did not make any attempt to stop these activities.

A master stroke to prop up dwindling popularity?

The government’s decision comes at a time when its popularity with the Indian community is at its lowest point since 2008. After taking over from Badawi as Prime Minister,  Najib took some serious initiatives to mend the rift between the BN government and the Indian community.

Although his moves brought some positive results, lately a series of issues have once again brought down the image of BN government in eyes of Indian community.

First it was the treatment accorded to Ambiga Seenivasan for organizing the Bersih rally. Then came the revelations of Sabah Royal Commission of Inquiry that showed thousands of illegal immigrants were given citizenships. The Indians were fuming because thousands of Indians have been waiting in vain for many years for their rightful citizenship without any positive reply from the authorities.

Later, Bawani issue exploded through face book and you tube, which showed the ugly side of forums being organised in the name of Najib’s 1Malaysia policy to brain-wash university students.

Recently, another Indian, Sukumaran, a security guard was found dead while held under police custody and this has caused uproar in the Indian community. Another such death in the past, that of Kugan, is still vivid in the memories of Malaysians.

Due to their political stand and their announcements on what they would do if they capture Putra Jaya, the popularity of Pakatan Rakyat is clearly seen growing within the Indian community.

So, the government’s decision to lift the ban on Hindraf seems to be a calculative move to restore its image and to divert the Indian community’s attention away from current negative issues plaguing the community. The timing of the lift on the ban is also suspicious since GE-13 is only weeks away!

Hindraf-BN talks next?

Recently, Hindraf leader P.Waythamoorthy stated that they are prepared to talk to BN but set a pre-condition that the ban on the movement must be lifted.

Now that the ban has been lifted, the doors are wide open for Hindraf and BN to engage in talks on mutual benefits.

Hindraf has received a cold response from Pakatan Rakyat leadership, probably because of the pre-conditions set by Hindraf which are only aimed at the Indian community. In the context of GE-13, Pakatan is moving towards Malaysian Malaysia policy without emphasizing on any particular race unlike BN which is still immersed deeply into race based political system.

Therefore, Pakatan’s move, not to engage with Hindraf is also understandable.

In politics anything can happen!

So, it will not be a surprise if BN accepts Hindraf’s demands and join hands with them with the aim of securing support of the Indian community during the forthcoming general election. Lifting the ban on Hindraf paves the way for such a move.

BN-Hindraf marriage of convenience is a new phenomenon in the making in Malaysian politics and to what extend it will sway the Indian voters in favour of BN is something we have to wait and see!

 

– MUTHARASAN