Some 300 Indian Malaysians from the Makkal Sakthi (“People Power”) movement, many of them clad in their trademark orange, gathered at Komtar this morning in an attempt to meet Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon at his office. With them was five-year-old Vwaishnavi Waythamoorthy, the only daughter of one of the five detained Hindraf leaders, who brought along roses and a memorandum for Koh.

The memo was to seek Koh’s intervention to ensure the safety of the crowd – that the police would not take action against them – at the planned gathering at Parliament on 16 February. The group intends to hand over “Valentine’s Day” roses to the Prime Minister and to seek the release of the Hindraf Five.

Apparently, the group chose to see Koh because he is the “only non-bumi chief minister” in Malaysia. I feel Makkal Sakthi should not look at the world solely through ethnic lens. Lowly paid workers are often exploited by the super-rich business elite, which includes non-bumi tycoons who are very much part of the domination system. I mean, do you see any Indian Malaysian tycoons endorsing the MTUC’s call for a monthly minimum wage of RM900 and a cost of living allowance of RM300? A glance at the multi-ethnic cast of characters in the Lingam video scandal would be enough to tell us that things are pretty muhibbah up there in the elite circles of power and business – very cosy indeed. The sooner Makkal Sakthi sheds its ethnic worldview, the faster it can build bridges with marginalised Malaysians of all ethnic groups – and indeed non-Malaysian migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers.

Back to the story: One of Koh’s aides turned up to collect the memo from the crowd gathered at Komtar. He went in and signed the document to acknowledge receipt.

But the crowd expressed displeasure: “We are not anchadi (five-foot way) people to be treated this way.”

Taken aback, the aide invited five representatives from the crowd into the Penang state government’s offices. There, he apologised that the CM was unable to meet them due to other commitments, according to my source.

The crowd below was not convinced that the Chief Minister was unavailable. Armed police and riot police turned up.

Some in the crowd responded that they had come peacefully, that they were “flower people”.

“We are unarmed so why do you come with guns?” they asked.

Cries of “Makkal Sathi” pierced the air. Eventually the crowd dispersed peacefully.

The movement is not about to go away in a hurry. I must add that these Makkal Sakthi folks are pretty savvy and creative in their means of drawing public attention to their cause and in highlighting the plight of the marginalised among Indian Malaysians.

With Penang considered a front-line state in the coming general election, many Malaysians will be closely watching to see what impact the Makkal Sakthi phenomenon will have on voting patterns.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. im soo much intersted to join the MMSP to support and help the indian com in malaysia, pls advice me how and where can i join the party, im from johor, 26 ys old. thank u

  2. Hi there! Makkal Sakti Bros and sisters I”m humbly requesting a favour from you all. You people have done great job for the past few years. Hari Bol to our dear brave and dare Leaders. I am leaving in Penang and right now having a tough time to get a job. Recently I was rejected By one the private hospitals cox I dont know how to speak hokkien. I have got experice as a clinic nurse for 16 years. Despite of my ability and my working experience my application form was simply turn down by the HR people.Infact I went to see our 2nd chief Minister and went through them for the post. I stopped work for 3 years because of my child birth. But now, you know chinese are backing up for their race and the same thing goes to the malays. Who is there to help our society? Olease help me I really need a job now. The same disaster goes to my sister who is a fresh graduate, a diploma holder in computer studies. Nearly 10 places I have applied for her but not even 1 called her for an interview. See how we have been marginalised. So sad and dont know where to go. Please bros and sisters if you think can help…

  3. Makal Sakthi have not learnt from past history where even the largest Indian party were and have been marginalised.
    It is a case of “barking up the wrong tree”
    Indians need to unite and speak with one voice. There seems to be too many heads speaking the same voice!!

  4. The indians of today are very strong in their view and are willing to sacrifice for the future of their generation. We have woken fron our ineptitude to to the political situation in this country by MIC. Nov 25th last year we were woken to fight for our rights, we have to be united to fight all discrimatory acts by whomever, be it BN or Pakatan. Indians should be vigilent to all kinds of sweet words but no action.Fellow Brothers and sisters be united. We will not propagate violence toanyone but we will fight for our rights the Gandhian way by means of non violence and peaceful means. Bravo to all Indians for this day of remembrance. We shall all pray that our brothers will be soon out of ISA.

  5. SEBAGAI SEORANG BANGSA INDIA,KITA KENA BERJUANG UNTUK KESELAMATAN … MR.BALA & AHLI KELUARGANYA.HINDRAF TOLONG JANGAN ABAIKAN KES INI.TOLONG SEBARKAN ISU INI KEPADA SEMUA WARGANEGARA INDIA,KITA AKAN BERJUANG ….KITA BUKAN BANGSA YANG HINA,MALAH KITA JUGA KENA ADA HAK DALAM NEGARA INI.BERDOA AGAR KELUARGA MR.BALA DALAM KEADAAN SELAMAT.KALAU KITA SEMUA BERSATU,TIDAK ADA ORANG DAPAT MERUNTUKKAN KITA.

    (HINDRAF VALGA….MAKKAL SAKTHI VALGA)

  6. SETIAP INSAN MEMPUNYAI HAK DI NEGARA MEREKA.KERANA MANUSIA ADALAH SAMA WALAUPUN BERBILANG KAUM MAHUPUN BERBILANG BANGSA ATAUPUN MISKIN MAHUPUN KAAYA.KITA JANGAN PANDANG HINDRAF SEBAGAI “JENAYAH” SEBALIKNYA SATU “SUARA RAKYAT”TAK KIRA BANGSA MAHUPUN AGAMA.KITA MEMBERI SATU AMARAN KEPADA AHLI POLITIK BAHAWA “RAKYATLAH”MENENTUKAN PEMBANGGUNAN DALAM SESEBUAH “NEGARA”,MALAHAN PULA ADA SEGELINTIR GOLONGAN CUBA MENYALAHGUNAKAN.

  7. Bumiputra terpinggir dan kecewa dengan apa yang belaku di istana-istana dimana keadaan perlantikan MB bukan Melayu & Islam yang kurang senang oleh semua rakyat. Setelah 50 tahun kita Merdeka dengan slogan,lagu dan adat istiadat Malaysia tetapi masih rakyat dipecah dengan kata agama dan adat . Dimana,Pilihan Raya Ke 12 kali ini telah menghancurkan system keroni yang dipegang oleh segelintir pemimpin kerajaan dengan kaya dan kemewah.Pada kali ini rakyat ingin mengubahkan keadaan kerajaan demi masa depan anak-anak mereka yang akan menghadapi system globalsasi dunia dimana perhubungan manusia tanpa batasan.Kita mesti pandang kehadapan tanpa meninggalkan agama ,adat dan ketulinnan masyarakat Malaysia semasa menghadapi masalah globalsasi.

    Apa yang ingin dikatakan , perubahan perlu dilakukan diistana demi kebahagian semua rakyat tanpa kira kaum … Perubahan perlu dilakukan demi kesetian rakyat pada sultan dan negara dan bukan demi kepentingan segelintir manusia yang tidak bertanggujawab. Perubahan atau pembaharuaan perlu dilakuan demi menjaga kemakmuran dan kebahagian rakyat tanpa kira apa sahaja kaum dan agama.

    Pesanan yang selalu dikeluarakan oleh Bekas PM (Tun M), sejarah mengajar kita supaya tidak membuat buruh pada-pada dan buat baik selalu.Oleh demikan, biarlah sejarah buruh untuk Tanah Air ku tidak diulangi sekali lagi.Kami juga anak bumi Malaysia,mengapakah kami dipandang hina di bumi sendiri.

  8. our people did it very well by chosing new leaders for five state so free 5 brothers and destroy ISA . VALGA TAMIL MAKKAL.

  9. On this first day of a bright new era in the Malaysian political landscape, my thoughts go to all those in the past and present who have been rudely and brutally deprived of their personal freedom and torn from their homes under the ISA. I feel optimistic that with the strong winds of change now blowing away the bad smell of heartless, self-serving money politics, all laws that oppress, suppress, and repress the hopes and desires of the public will be repealed. May the Hindraf 5 be the LAST Malaysians to be subjected to such cruel injustice. I celebrate the moment of their inevitable release as bona fide cult heroes.

    One more thing: every time Dr Mopens his snarling mouth to bitch and moan about Badawi, whoever is within range should politely tell the evil old man to SHUT UP and enjoy his retirement. He ought to be grateful he has escaped Mussolini’s ignominious fate.

  10. who can we trust? i know it should not be skin deep but what can the makkal sakhti indians do when they felt they were cheated by bumis?

    there’re really lotsa rot going on, like temple demolisions, unfair allocation of scholarship etc

    it’s a good thing that hindraf demonstrated. this have awakened the sleeping politicians. they think we’ll remain passive

    NOT ANYMORE

  11. It is saddening to see a young girl having to step up to fight for her father’s justice. The government has practically destroyed this little girl’s childhood. There are many others like her in Msia.

    Charles Chia,
    Thank you for your empathy with the Indian community. Yes it is true that Indians are not the only marginalized group in Malaysia. There are many others. Yet this community is undoubtedly the MOST marginalized. You can check the data I consolidated in my blog: orangewaves.blogspot.com. If Indians succeed in getting equality, the rest of the marginalized communities can hope for a better future. And if nothing else, at least get inspired enough to demand for it!

    I am only thankful that we Indians are waking up to a new paradigm shift in the way we look at ourselves; as Malaysian citizens (finally!) who should voice out for our rights. Hopefully this momentum will not dwindle.

  12. To all our Indian Malaysians brethrens you are not the only group marginalised, races other than bumiputras are systematically marginalised, with no exception since 1969. We are exactly in the same boat. Also, most malaysian chinese do not believe at all what the police and PM says about leaders of Hindraf, they are certainly not terrorists but peace loving malaysians whose burden is too heavy to bear and we are now hearing their cries for help. We are with you all the way. MIC are no different from MCA both …. serve their UMNO masters.

  13. IN D MAKTAB PERGURUAN PULAU PINANG,THERE WERE 110 WERE TAKEN UNDER GOVERMENT SCHORLASHIP.IN 110 PEOPLE THERE WERE ONLY 2 PEOPLE WERE CHOSEN N 7 CHINESE PEOPLE WERE CHOSEN.BY THIS OUT OF 100%,not 1% of indian also WERE CHOSEN.IS THIS A DEMOCRATIC NATION.WE R NOT GIVEN OUR RIGHTS.I AS A TRUELY N PURE INDIAN SUPPORTS HINDRAF.VALGE HINDFAF,VALGE MAKKAL SAKTHI,VALGE 5.

  14. valga makkal sakthi……my sopport always be there…..talk last work more in voting day..show our POWER in that day

  15. Many dead people are still voting in the elections in the form of postal votes.

    This is how many BN politicians win.

  16. Why such a tittle,my fellow friend a drama is better than you fellows journalist colleagues theatrical performances so please choose right words don’t play with words.
    One days favour is thousand days labor king soloman said so what ever good you guys are doing it will return million times ,so kindly say the right things and try to understand others feelings.

  17. Sg. Siput MAKKAL!

    Please throw the old man! We need a new leader to lead our Indian community!!

    VOTE WISELY!!!

    VALGA MAKKAL SAKTHI….

  18. Indian community need few Face same like the 5 brother’s. The person who work and help for community MUST undi and NOt for the OLD (deleted) like sami.

    PLs INdian Makkal in SG Siput -Tunjuk your color this time (UNDI)!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. brovo for the indians or rather malaysian for having the spirit of Ghandi. They are the heros who fight in peace for justice. Let us all malaysian do our parts in the coming election ensuring that the present or future goverment know that the rakyat are the boss. Look around, listen around and weight with the dacing what have been done and decide who should be given the mandate to rule the country. Should we need a change or go on with the present one? it’s all up to the people or rather we the malaysian.

  20. A lot of have been said about makkal sakthi and hindraf. Many think of this as being a ploy of the “HINDUS” in Malaysia. But that is not so. I am so touched of what our 5 brothers have done to voice the concerns among the indians. Seriously, I feel that the government should abolish ISA knowing for fact that is bountiful corruption in place. Just take a look at the Lingam case and you will know what I mean. Looking at the links that are brought up in the case, it makes you to wonder if our jusiciary system could be trusted. Is Malaysia a country where the Strong continue to be the law makers? You ask yourself the question and i am sure you will have the answer.

  21. Indians have been very passive and accomodating to Barisan promises far too long. The patience and tolerance has burst in to anger because everyone is pushing them around all this while depriving them of their basic needs. Indians have always given 100 percent support to Baisan and MIC in all the previous elections but got little or nothing for their loyalty. Even emperor Samy Vellu(longest serving President of MIC) and king Subramaniam ( longest serving Deputy President of MIC) did nothing much for the community. These two leaders are the worst performers in the history of MIC who took away our priveleges (probably) for their own/cronies benefit and encouraged to us to fight amongst ourselves so that they could be relevant. Indians under the leadership of these two leaders will never be united and there is a urgent need to revamp the entire party under an Independent Commission.

    Indians today are not weakened by the discrimination and have strengthen in themselves to face the challenges with or without any help from the ruling party. We will not bow down to pressure but pursue the journey peacefully to achieve our objectives. Let us remind our children to be ready for the challenges to face the future and look at other options instead of depending on the … Barisan.

  22. thanks for the info. its gratifying that some people take so much trouble to make the ordinary folks to know and be aware of whats going on in this country.
    im fully aware its a thankless task and yet people like you have the courage and character to do so.
    thank you once again.

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