Sunday, February 9, 2014

Kula: We knew Waytha was on to nothing

1:49PM Feb 9, 2014-Malaysiakini

Kula: We knew Waytha was on to nothing

The announced resignation of Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia (PHM) chair P Waythamoorthy from his deputy minister’s post and as senator is the “honourable thing for him to do in the present circumstances,” DAP national vice-chairperson M Kulasegaran said today.

The MP for Ipoh Barat was commenting on the announcement by PHM yesterday that Waythamoorthy would quit both roles tomorrow, eight months after assuming them following a pre-general election agreement between the Najib Abudl Razak government and PHM.

The nub of the agreement was a pledge by Najib that a re-elected BN government would give special attention to PHM’s proposals for the alleviation of the plight of the Indian poor.

This pledge was contained in a memorandum of understanding signed between Najib and PHM just days before the May 5 general election last year.

“We were surprised when Persatuan Hindraf signed the MoU with Najib,” Kulasegaran said.

“We didn’t think the government was serious about the pledge but we could not air our scepticism too strongly because it was an agreement and for that reason it deserved attention and observation,” added the federal legislator.

“Now the observation period is over, our scepticism about the government’s intentions has been justified and Waythamoorthy is going to do what it is honourable for him to do in the circumstances – quit.”

In a statement issued after a PHM meeting in Penang yesterday, the NGO said Waythamoorthy has decided to quit both his deputy minister’s and senator’s positions because there has been no progress on the movement’s agenda for the alleviation of the plight of the Indian poor.

'PHM approach flawed from the start'

It blamed the lack of political will on the part of the Najib government for the absence of progress on a raft of socio-economic measures the movement proposed to combat poverty in the Indian community.

Kulasegaran said he was not trying to be wise on hindsight, but the PHM approach towards tackling Indian poverty was flawed from the start.

“They were looking at the problem as separate from, rather than integral to the whole question of the marginalised in Malaysian society,” he said.

The approach of Pakatan Rakyat was to see Indian poverty as integral to the whole issue of the Malaysian poor and requiring not race-specific measures of alleviation but comprehensive steps to “let loose a tide that would lift all boats”.

“The Pakatan way has the better chance of success because it will be popular and draw support of all groups needing help in this country.

“It also enjoys the merit that it reduces attention to race and views poverty as a national problem, not a race-confined concern.”

Kulasegaran said nobody in the opposition was surprised that Waythamoorthy has discovered that Umno-BN lacked the will to tackle Indian poverty.

“What they and I were surprised about was that PHM could believe that Umno-BN would be serious about tackling the problem in a concerted way,” he said.

“Tackling Indian poverty is way down their list of concerns and the only reason the MoU was signed was BN’s desperation for the Indian vote, which in the end did not swing their way.”

More the reason, Kulasegaran concluded, why the prime minister simply ignored the document after the general election.


TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for four decades now. He likes the profession because it puts him in contact with the eminent without being under the necessity to admire them.

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