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Waytha calls for setting up of Minority Affairs Ministry

Waytha calls for setting up of Minority Affairs Ministry

 | March 30, 2016

Most of those marginalised and discriminated against do not have representatives in Parliament or the state assemblies to defend their interests.

Hindraf

KUALA LUMPUR: Race relations are at its worst in the country and unless something concrete is done to repair the damage, Malaysia would sink into “a hell with racial and religious bigots” running amok and causing irreparable damage, warned Hindraf Makkal Sakthi in a statement.

“We call for the setting up of a Minority Affairs Ministry (MAMi) which would look into the plight of the over 45 per cent non-Malay citizens, especially those left out by the system.”

“They are being marginalized and suffer all kinds of discrimination.”

The Ministry was necessary, added Hindraf Chief P. Waythamoorthy. “Most of those marginalized and discriminated against do not have representatives in Parliament or the state assemblies to defend their interests.”

“Their issues, crucial in a progressive democratic state, are swept under the carpet. “

The clear discrimination against and marginalization of the 800,000 displaced estate workers was one of many examples, stressed the Hindraf Chief.

The initiative by the Dayak National Congress (DNC) to formulate its own Agenda for the Orang Asal was another clear example that they are being discriminated against as well, and marginalized, by the racial policies adopted by the government.

Hindraf, an ad hoc human rights NGO, was begging to differ with a statement in Parliament that the government does not intend to formulate a “Prime Minister’s Council for Minority Rights” on the grounds that existing laws are adequate to combat racial and religious discrimination against minorities.

The Prime Minister’s Office was reported to have said that the Federal Constitution, the highest law in the country, was complete in all aspects, noted Waytha. “Fifty eight years of Merdeka has seen the slide in racial and religious co-existence.”

“This has come to an extent where certain quarters are threatening violence when so called sensitive matters are raised. This includes those related to discrimination and unlawful conversion.”

Though Article 153 provides a special position for the Malays, and ostensibly the Orang Asal, the government was secretive on the true intentions of the framers of the Constitution and adopts a “sapu bersih” (clean sweep) attitude in channeling state funds to a particular people or sections of the people, lamented Waytha. “Article 153 does not mean the rights of non-Malays can be sidelined.”

Waytha, in pressing the case for a Minority Affairs Ministry, argued that the Federal Constitution was ambiguous on various important provisions. “The government has been deliberate in not tabling the necessary amendments in Parliament.”

“Article 4, Article 8, Article 10, Article 11, Article 12 (4), Article 153, and Article 121 (1) (a) are the crucial provisions in the Constitution which deals with various issues of fundamental liberties.”

These Articles, continued Waytha, lack clear direction. “This (direction) was important for a progressive nation.”

The vague provisions, coupled with the reluctance of Federal Court Judges to interpret the Constitution in accordance with the historical intentions of the framers of the Constitution, and/or avoiding the plain meaning of those provisions, and/or the consequences of interpretations has resulted in abuse of executive powers and lack of protection for the rights of non-Malay citizens. “The government, given its racial policies as well, has failed to protect the rights of non-Malay citizens.”