PETALING JAYA, 19 May 2009: A new Indian Malaysian party, Malaysia Makkal Sakti Party (MMSP) — a breakaway faction of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) — was officially launched today to champion the cause of the community.
Led by former Hindraf National Coordinator RS Thanenthiran, the party hopes to unite Indian Malaysians under one banner and provide a legal platform to continue the banned movement’s struggle to uplift the marginalised community.
“We came a long way and cross many obstacles throughout our struggle to champion the cause of minority Indian [Malaysians],” said Thanenthiran in a press conference today.
The party membership is limited to Indian Malaysians only. This, Thanenthiran explained, was because the Indian Malaysians are still lagging behind. “We can’t reach them [to help them] without singling them out first.
“This party will house Indians from all walks of life under one umbrella besides acting as a bridge to unite the multiracial people of Malaysia to realise the vision of ‘One Malaysia concept’,” said Thanenthiran.
The MMSP president also said he would be meeting both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders in the near future.
“We are independent, [but] we will work with any coalition or party we believe would benefit the Indian [Malaysians] at large … We are the people’s party, wherever the people are, we’ll be there,” said Thanenthiran.
Expressing confidence that MMSP will attract Hindraf supporters, Thanenthiran said he expects to recruit around 300,000 members by June 2010. To get the ball rolling, the party is offering free membership to the first 100,000 members.
Crucially, the MMSP president said the party will continue to participate in Hindraf’s struggle.
“Hindraf is in our blood … We would like to thank Waythamoorthy (Hindraf chairperson) and all the other Hindraf Makkal Sakti supporters, who became the instrument for the birth of this party.
“This party would be able to function as legal platform to continue the struggle,” said Thanenthiran, who described his current relationship with exiled leader P Waythamoorthy as being “good”.
Unlike Hindraf, Thanenthiran said the MMSP would eschew street demonstrations and negotiate with the government before taking to the streets in the future.
“When the necessity arises, we’ll still go to the street. [However], if there is a platform for discussion or forum, we would make full use of the platform first,” Thanenthiran explained.
Also present at the press conference was was MMSP patron P Thiagaraja, deputy president M Waythamuthi, committee members M Loganathan and B Susila.
Genesis of MMSP
Thanenthiran’s decision to form a political party to ride on Hindraf’s coattails first came to the fore during the Bukit Selambau by-election in April.
Upset at the candidate fielded by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Thanenthiran had initially said he would call on Hindraf supporters to boycott the by-election. However, the movement decided to back the PKR candidate after Waythamoorthy issued a formal statement on the matter.
Then on 17 April, Waythamoorthy suspended him as Hindraf coordinator along with nine others, and Thanenthiran announced plans to form his own political party.
Waythamoorty had also stated that he would prefer that Hindraf remains a political pressure group. However, he added that he would not stop any Hindraf leader from forming a political party.