Malaysian PM’s work for Indian community appreciated

Singapore, May 3 (IANS) As Malaysia goes to polls May 5, a major Hindu rights group has appreciated Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s efforts to help the Indian community in that southeast Asian nation.

Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) president P. Waythamoorthy said in a television interview that his group would support the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition because of its sincere intention to help the Indian community.

The BN coalition’s major constituents are the United Malays National Organisation, the Malaysian Indian Congress, and the Malaysian Chinese Association.

“Yes, it is true that we (Hindraf) opposed BN in the past but since Najib took over as the prime minister, he has shown a positive approach in trying to solve the problems faced by the Indian community,” the New Straits Times Friday quoted Wayamoorthy as telling the Tamil version of ‘Hello Malaysia’ programme being aired on Bernama TV Friday.

“He had openly apologised for BN’s mistakes in the past.”

According to Waythamoorthy, the BN was ready to accept the demands of Hindraf while the country’s other coalition, Paktan Rakyat, which holds power in four of the country’s 13 states, was not.

“In fact, there were a number of aspects that were added by Najib in the list of requests from Hindraf. That is an endorsement to the Indian community,” he said.

Hindraf, which projects itself as a Hindu rights protection group, had started as a coalition of 30 non-governmental organisations and had gained prominence in multi-racial Malaysia for its actions in the aftermath of the destruction of some Hindu temples in that country in the past few years.

Waythamoorthy had signed a memorandum of understanding with the BN April 21 where Razak had endorsed a blueprint for uplifting the Malaysian Indian community.

Hindraf was registered by Malaysia’s Registrar of Societies March 8 as Persatun Hindraf Malaysia, a non-governmental organisation.

“We met the prime minister and put forward our demands. We are confident that Najib will look into the demands,” said Waythamoorthy.

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

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