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Friday, November 30, 2012

Indian groups divided over MIC unity talks

While Indian leaders in DAP are cautious over the idea, PKR and Hindraf have slammed shut the door on such talks.
PETALING JAYA: Hindraf and PKR Indian politicians have snubbed MIC’s proposal for unity talks among Indian leaders while the DAP remained cautious of the idea.
Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy declined outright MIC’s invitation to such talks, saying that the move may be politically motivated in view of the upcoming 13th general election.
“Vel Paari is now making this call of ‘unity talks’ as he is worried that Hindraf’s blueprint is picking up momentum among the grassroots Indians.
“MIC and Umno are now worried that they would lose support of the Indian voters forever, now that Hindraf has gained momentum throughout the country over the last four months since my return,” said the Hindraf leader.
Hindraf had presented a blueprint for the betterment of the Indian community during its fifth anniversary gathering on Sunday.
Yesterday, MIC central working committee (CWC) member and party communications chief S Vell Paari announced that he has suggested to the CWC to call for unity talks with Indian opposition and NGO leaders for the sake of Indian community.
He also cited the Hindraf rally in 2007, saying that the movement had invited MIC to a discussion then but the latter had turned it down.
“We refused Hindraf’s invitation just to defend Umno’s stand of banning Hindraf and declaring it an illegal movement,” Vell Paari, son of former MIC president S Samy Vellu, was quoted as saying.
However, Hindraf’s Waythamoorthy denied this and called it a blatant lie.
“Vell Paari’s statement is an absolute lie. It was Samy Vellu, the then MIC president, who desperately called me on Nov 22, 2007, three days before the mass rally for discussion.
“He even volunteered to drive down to Ipoh immediately to meet me as I was then attending to a rally in Ipoh. However, I turned his invitation down as it was too late and we have absolutely lost confidence in MIC,” said Waythamoorthy, when asked to comment on the MIC leader’s call for Indian unity talks.
Let’s talk Malaysian unity
Meanwhile, PKR vice-president, N Surendran, rejected the idea altogether.
“We should talk about Malaysian unity, not Indian unity, and I don’t think the talks would help the community in anyway,” he said.
DAP, on the other hand, was more on a reconcilatory note.
Its vice-president M Kulasegaran welcomed the notion but added that there is a need to ensure MIC is committed to it.
Recalling a Tamil school blueprint initiative he had proposed in June last year, he said Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz chaired a meeting on that initiative.
“MIC president G Palanivel had sent his vice-presidents [Deputy Minister in Prime Minister's Department SK Devamany, and Deputy Federal Territories and Urban Well Being Minister M Saravanan]. But they had refused to follow through and yet this year Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced that there was a need for a blueprint for Tamil schools.”
National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT), however, has thrown its support for the unity talks proposal.
“I fully support his call. If MIC has the community’s [welfare] in its heart, it must align its political interest to the community,” said NIAT chairman, Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim, who has identified five major and 17 subsidiary issues concerning the Indian community.
Welcoming the call for Indian unity talks, he noted that Pakatan Rakyat was more open to consultation and was willing to listen to NGOs.
“MIC should talk to other Indian-based BN component parties such as IPF, Kimma, MMSP, MUIP, PPP and Gerakan Indian leaders. I am sure they have not sat down and discussed anything,” said Thasleem.
He also took note of MIC’s non-participation in the proposal for unity talks.
“MIC is least bothered. Only Vell Paari is communicating,” he said.

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