SAJAforum: Malaysia bans HINDRAF for “promoting extremism”

Photo by Preston Merchant: HINDRAF supporters protesting the Internal Security Act in Kuala Lumpur, January 5, 2008

Events in Malaysia have been heating up again in recent weeks. On October 16, the government of Malaysia banned the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), a coalition of nongovernmental organizations that advocates greater protection for the rights of Hindus against what it regards to be a rise in Malay chauvinism within the country. According to Malaysia’s Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar:

We are not banning it (Hindraf) because it was promoting Hindu rights or Indian rights. On legitimate issues, nobody can quarrel with Hindraf. But we are taking action because we consider the way it has gone about doing things — promoting extremism.

Hindraf has said “our enemies are the Malays, the Muslims.” This is in some of their leaders’ speeches. We have allowed them to go on. Yes, there are some issues involving the Indians that have not been totally resolved, but to say that we oppress, commit apartheid or genocide and that the police allowed murder in Kg Medan and Kg Rawa?

Hindraf has organised 17 forums and 338 street demonstrations. We took a long time before taking action because we don’t want them to think that because it is a society that seems to speak for a certain race or religion, that we took action. We took action because we considered that they have taken a very extreme approach to propagate their ideology. [link]

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