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Come and talk, unhappy Indians told

 | November 7, 2012

The government says that if Indians have problems, they are more than welcome to bring them to the prime minister.

FULL REPORT

KUALA LUMPUR: Indians who are not happy with the government will soon be able to bring their grouses to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz confirmed this to reporters in his Parliament office, saying that all groups, including those belonging to the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) movement, were welcome.

“I assure you, the prime minister is prepared to sit down with Hindraf [leaders]… including Waythamoorthy, Uthayakumar… and other groups to discuss their greviances… The government will arrange, invite and sit down over all these issues.

“All [are invited]. No one is barred,” he said.

He anticipated this meeting to take place as soon as possible, and that it was an “open invitation” on behalf of the government.

At the same time, he said that the move would not be done through the MIC, adding that Putrajaya wanted to meet with the “bigger group” of Indians that the political party was not affiliated with.

Adding that it was an initiative by Najib himself, Nazri said that even if the Indian community were not angry with the BN government, parts of it still felt that they were marginalised.

“We cannot just continue if we don’t sit down with them, or do what we think they want, like what we’ve been doing… like giving Tamil school allocations, civil service compositions.

“We are doing this, addressing the problem, but we think there is still more we have to do and we can’t know unless we meet them,” he said.

He denied that this move came about because of the upcoming general election, saying that much had been done under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) for the Indian community.

Details on how and where the meeting would proceed, would be revealed in due time.

The announcement also came days after Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy met with Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim at his Parliament office in a closed-door meeting.

Meanwhile, Nazri said that there was a perception that the culpable homicide conviction of K Saravanan’s teenage killers – who were both Malays – was a racially-based one.
He said that some groups who attended prayers over Saravanan, 14, claimed that prosecuters did not charge them with murder because the boys were Malays; a claim he found was “irresponsible”.

Nazri said that the culpable homicide charge was because there was no malice found in the killing, and that it was a fight occurring between juveniles.

Recognise us first, says Hindraf

In an immediate reaction, Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy told FMT that if the government was truly interested in resolving the long standing Indian socio-economic issues, it must first acknowledge that it was dealing with a bona fide human rights defender organisation.

“It is necessary that the government first repeal the ban on Hindraf,” he said.

He added that Hindraf wanted the government to offer permanent, comprehensive and practical solutions that will make tangible and immediate impact to the problems of the Indian poor.

“The PM must be ready to make significant commitments to addressing the problems along these lines for these talks to be meaningful.

“We as the lead organisation for the Indian marginalised in the country seek to find real solutions for problems of the people that we speak up for. If there is sincerity, we will explore,” he said.

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