I refer to the Hindraf rally that took place in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. In a nutshell, I am very disappointed with both the organisers and the police.
I feel the police and the government is largely responsible for turning what could have been a positive event into a disaster. Malaysia seems to be globally popular for the wrong reasons. Yesterday’s action by the government and police further reinforce international opinion about Malaysia.
CNN: Malaysia clashes – Malaysian police tried to disperse more than 10,000 ethnic Indians who tried to stage a rally, demanding equal rights.
Al Jazeera: Police break up Malaysia protest – Malaysian police have fired tear gas and water cannons to break up a massive street demonstration by ethnic Indians in the country’s largest city, Kuala Lumpur … Rally organiser, the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), had called the protest over alleged discriminatory policies which favour ethnic Malays.
BBC: Ethnic Indian protesters in Malaysia are calling for reparations from the UK for sending Indians to Malaysia as indentured labourers a century ago.
Singapore Straits Times: Kuala Lumpur police fire tear gas to halt protest – Malaysian police used tear gas and water cannons on Sunday to quell a street protest by more than 10,000 ethnic Indians complaining of government discrimination against their community.
From what I see, except for Malaysiakini, all the papers has given a slanted and negative view of the scenario. Why did this happen? I believe this happened because the politicians sitting in their almighty offices at Putrajaya were not given the right advice. I also believe they need to attend a crash course on public relations. The foreign media will snap up any news features that will help sell its papers. From what I see, all the major international news organisations like CNN, BCC and Al Jazeera has portrayed a negative picture of the government.
I would like to appeal to all, including the government, police and event organisers, to look at the request objectively and accommodate requests for gatherings with common sense. I think if the police and the organisers agreed for the event to be held in an indoor stadium and arranged for the British high commissioner to accept the memorandum at a stadium, it would have turned out well for Malaysia at large.
As for the MIC, I feel they should have played a greater and more positive role in this matter. Instead, Uncle Samy makes things worst for MIC and himself by taking a cheap shot at the Indian community that took part in the demonstrations.