IPOH, 17 Oct 2008: Gerakan sees the government’s decision to ban the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) as not appropriate as it means putting aside the issues raised by the group, besides creating other problems.
Its deputy president Datuk Chang Ko Youn said although many of Hindraf’s actions had been improper, the government must give them an avenue to voice out their concerns and grouses.
He said many of the issues raised which concerned the economic status of the Indians, Internal Security Act detentions, human rights and places of worship, were also raised by other non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
“With the ban, the group may find another avenue to voice out its grievances and perhaps set up another body for the purpose.
“Therefore, the government should take proactive steps to prevent them from compromising with opposition parties to achieve their aim … a dialogue should be forthcoming so that their problems can be resolved,” he told a press conference at the Perak Gerakan headquarters, here today.
Chang proposed that the government allow Hindraf to be registered while the group should also abide by the conditions and country’s laws.
“As a registered body, it will be able to voice its opinions like other NGOs and have an avenue for discussions over issues with the government as long as it does not go against the Federal Constitution.
“They will be allowed to hold demonstrations at the stadiums or other safe places to convey their message, and not assemble illegally on the city streets or around KLCC like they did previously,” he said.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar had on 15 Oct announced that the government had declared Hindraf as illegal as its activities contravened Section 5(1) of the Societies Act 1996 and which threatened public order, peace and stability.
In another development, Gerakan has asked the Pakatan Rakyat-controlled Perak government not to turn the coming Deepavali celebration into a political platform.
Chang who is also Perak Gerakan chairman, said the state government’s move to include the Pakatan Rakyat component party logos on Deepavali celebration banners around town was improper.
“In the past, they had asked the Barisan Nasional (BN) government not to politicise religion but now they are doing it blatantly. At Ipoh’s ‘Little India, it’s as if they are competing to put up such banners, much like a general election atmosphere.
“This kind of situation did not exist during the days of the BN state government,” added Chang, a former state executive councillor. — Bernama