Hindu Munnani, Tamil Nadu, urged the Malaysian Government to respect the rights of Hindus in the country and work towards dismantling the racial and religious apartheid that makes Malaysian Indians/Hindus the most neglected community in that country since the independence of the former British colony of Malaya in 1957.
In a memorandum presented to the Consulate at Malaysian Consulate'sOffice in Chennai on January 8, Shri Ram Gopal, founder organiser of Hindu Munnani, said since Malaysia is home to approximately more than two million Hindus and having thousands of Hindu temples and shrines, many built on private or plantation land before the country gained independence in 1957, the destruction of temples by local councils and the deliberate provocative manner in which they carry out the demolitions, using hammers to smash shrines and burying Hindu deities, which has been going on for at least two decades must be brought to a permanent end and all these places of worship should be properly gazetted.
The organisation called upon the Government of Malaysia to make suitable amendments in the laws to bring them in conformity with the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Malaysia is also a signatory, that all member countries of United Nations will have non-discriminatory laws, i.e. laws which will not discriminate between one citizen and another on the basis of race, religion, sex, colour, creed etc, and make them compatible with those of the civilised world, the memorandum added.
?It is saddening to note that despite being born in Malaysia and settled there for many generations, Indians/Hindus are still regarded as immigrants and outsiders and not recognised as Malaysians with the same rights as the majority Malays, who are known as bumiputra or son of the soil. They suffer widespread poverty and have been relegated to the lowermost rungs of the social and economic sphere as the political system openly discriminates them in regards to places of worship, jobs, scholarships, educational opportunities, and economic benefits,? the memorandum said.
Though statistically there was an existence of more than 1000 Tamil schools (ethnic minority Malaysian Indian Schools) at the time of independence and during the last 50 years it has diminished to 523, 80 per cent of these existing remaining 523 Tamil schools are in dilapidated conditions with almost no sports, recreational, computer, library and other basic facilities as accorded to National Schools. Though primary school education has been made compulsory by law, 95 per cent of these Tamil schools do not have kindergartens unlike 99 per cent in National Schools, which have the same. ?We strongly want all the Tamil Schools in Malaysia to be upgraded and made fully government aided schools and granted with the same facilities as National Schools,? the memorandum said.
Hindu Munnani called upon the Malaysian Government to not only look into this matter of discrimination but also called to investigate the extremely brutal police action against its own citizens. So many cases of police brutality of the poor and desperate Indian Hindus, which were brought to transparent with much difficulty, even through the legal process, have been purposely swept under the carpet and no action whatsoever was taken against the bullying police. So for even daring to voice their concern and grievances, ground reality, sentiments, pulse, blood, sweat and tears of the Malaysian Indians after 50 years of marginalisation, discrimination and oppression by the Malaysian Government against their community, five leading members of the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), were arrested, charged with making seditious comments, and had been made to face up to two years in jail. The only platform HINDRAF that was vocal for the minority Indian Hindus has also been banned thus shutting all avenues for them to voice out their pain of atrocities suppressed upon them. ?All the five HINDRAF persons who were put under ISA must be freed with immediate effect or brought before the judicial courts and its Chairperson be allowed to come back freely into Malaysia,? the memorandum added.