Hindraf vs Hindraf 2.0 as original body denies making new demands

Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy says there is no such organisation as Hindraf 2.0 and that its so-called leader P Uthayakumar heads the Human Rights Party.

KUALA LUMPUR: Hindraf clarified today it has not sent any demands to the Pakatan Harapan government, Council of Eminent Persons or the Institutional Reforms Committee.

The demands were made by some other group, Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy said in a statement today.

It was reported yesterday that a group calling itself Hindraf 2.0 led by lawyer P Uthayakumar had handed over their demands to the reform committee secretariat. The 25 demands are about improving the lives of the bottom 75% of Indians.

Uthayakumar and Waythamoorthy are brothers, but had a falling out over different approaches to handling the problems of the Indian community, especially when the latter worked with the BN and Najib Razak in the previous general election.

Waythamoorthy said: “There is no such organisation as Hindraf 2.0. It’s so-called leader P Uthayakumar is the leader of Human Rights Party. He was never part of any Hindraf activities since 2008 as he wanted to develop his own political party. His actions have caused confusion, anger and hatred among the public.”

“Confusing the people with a similar name to Hindraf is not helping our long struggle to find permanent and comprehensive solutions to the peoples’ problems.”

He invited Uthayakumar to formally join as a member of Hindraf “if he so wishes”.

Waythamoorthy said Hindraf worked successfully on the “zero vote for Barisan Nasional” campaign over the past two years and that it had worked closely with PH chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad over the past year to ensure PH’s victory.

More than 300 roadshows and meetings were conducted over the last 18 months to ensure BN was defeated “but Uthayakumar did not participate nor support any move to work with Tun Dr Mahathir nor Pakatan Harapan”, Waythamoorthy said.

“I wish to say clearly to Uthayakumar. The war is over with the defeat of BN. Uthayakumar must drop his confrontational path and join all those who are now working hard to build a new Malaysia.

“It is time to rebuild the community in the new Malaysia that was the result of hard work of all those who supported Pakatan. Tun Mahathir has given his commitment to Hindraf to solve the long standing issues and we are already working with Tun and other Pakatan leaders.

“Therefore it does not make sense to take a confrontational approach towards the Pakatan government that Hindraf has fully supported as opposed to past obstacles Hindraf faced with Umno,” Waythamoorthy said.

Uthayakumar, who told FMT in Nov 2016 that he had ruled himself out of active politics, had been quiet for a couple of years but emerged suddenly after the new government was formed.

He told FMT in 2016 that there was a perception that the group led by his brother had been bought over by the government and that “these days, I am concentrating on rebuilding my legal practice to earn a living”.

Hindraf was set up in 2005 by Uthayakumar, Waythamoorthy and several others to champion the cause of poor Indians.

Following the detention of Uthayakumar and four others under the Internal Security Act in 2007, Hindraf was briefly helmed by its co-ordinator, R S Thanenthiran, who later formed the Malaysia Makkal Sakti Party to join the BN.

Waythamoorthy, who was in exile in London after his passport was revoked, returned home to lead Hindraf and signed a memorandum of understanding with the BN just before the 13th general election. He was then appointed deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

However, he resigned his government position the following year, claiming that Najib had failed to honour Hindraf’s blueprint to uplift the poor in the Indian community. In this election, he teamed up with Pakatan Harapan.