Ethnic Indian leader urges compatriots to quit Malaysian government

Singapore (IANS): A Hindu rights activist in Malaysia has urged the ethnic Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) party to follow in the footsteps of P. Waythamoorthy who resigned as deputy minister from the ruling coalition for not delivering on its promises to the Indian community.

Stating that the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) was committed to preserving the rights of the Hindu community in that southeast Asian nation, its co-chairman W. Sambulingam urged MIC deputy president S. Subramaniam and vice-president M. Saravanan to follow in the footsteps of Hindraf chairman Waythamoorthy, The Malaysian Insider reported Wednesday.

The MIC is one of the three major parties of the country’s ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, the other two being the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA).

Waythamoorthy had resigned as deputy minister in the prime minister’s department Monday voicing frustration over the incumbent government’s failure to adhere to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreed on before the 2013 general elections to provide better opportunities in higher education to the Indian community.

“We challenge Subramaniam and Saravanan to openly say they would resign if (Malaysian Prime Minister) Najib (Razak) does not fulfill his promises,” Sambulingam said in a statement Tuesday.

On the other hand, Saravanan reportedly pointed out that it was Waythamoorthy himself who had signed the MoU with the government of his own accord without the MIC’s involvement.

“He was the one who signed the MoU. He did not request me or other MIC members to join him to sign in,” Saravanan was quoted as saying.

“Now, suddenly, he resigned from his government posts and Hindraf wants me to do the same? Hindraf must be out of their mind,” he said.

Hindraf had signed the MoU with the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coaltion before last year’s general elections.

Formed in 1946, the MIC is one of the oldest political parties in Malaysia.

Ethnic Indians comprise a little over seven percent of Malaysia’s total population of nearly 30 million.