Commentary and Analysis

Latest Breaking News

Latest Videos

Your Ad Here

PM urged to revoke Utusan's permits - Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader P Waythamoorthy has written to premier Abdullah Ahmad Abdullah to complain that Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia has been “inciting hatred” against Indian Malaysians.


And he has demanded that the annual publishing and printing permits of the Malay-language daily should be revoked, using ministerial powers in the Printing and Publications Act 1984.

pm open house 011008 small hindrafWaythamoorthy, who is living in London in self-imposed exile, was reacting strongly to a series of articles in the newspaper since a group of Hindraf supporters made their presence felt during the ministerial Hari Raya ‘open house’ on Oct 1.

Abdullah has since reprimanded the group for being noisy and causing “a lot of unhappiness” among guests by allegedly demanding the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and release of detainees including five of the movement’s leaders.

Utusan and private television station TV3 have been singled out by the movement’s supporters as having been unfair in their coverage of the event and subsequent comments by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar among others.

hindraf london demo 060208 waythamoorthyUtusan Malaysia has been doing this for years and (it) is the main stumbling block to racial unity, racial integration, co-existence and a peaceful and harmonious Malaysia,” Waythamoorthy (in coat) alleged in his letter, a copy of which was made available to Malaysiakini.

“It is plain and obvious that Hindraf’s (attendance at) the prime minister’s Hari Raya open house… is a case of making a mountain out of an ant [sic] hill…

Utusan is trying to incite Malay Muslim hatred for Indians. (It) is threatening the Indian minority with violence by the Malay Muslim majority or setting the tone for the same.”

He also claimed that the newspaper is carrying out a vendetta against Hindraf in order to “divert attention from Umno’s leadership tussle”.

“The headlines, front page stories, editorials, articles and letters indicate incitement of racial and religious sentiments against the Indians, when all we asked for was the release of all the detainees and for the ISA to be abolished,” he said.

Nevertheless, Waythamoorthy said the daily’s efforts to portray Hindraf in negative light will not succeed as the majority of the Muslims understand “the genuine reason” for the Hari Raya visit.

He noted that Indian Malaysian minority groups are fighting for their rights, equality and equal opportunities in a peaceful manner.

'Broadcast the footage'

Waythamoorthy said that, on Sept 22, “a sincere request to visit the prime minister” had been submitted to his office and that the secretary assured that there was no objection to the visit.

“More than 500 supporters attended the function but less than 50 were allowed to greet the prime minister. We went there with sincere intentions in the spirit of forgiveness and to appeal to the premier to release all ISA detainees.

TV3 and Utusan purposely exacerbated racial sentiments… if the allegations are true why (isn’t TV3) brave enough to play the video clip that supposedly showed Hindraf supporters behaving insolently?”

“We challenge (TV3) to show their video recording to prove their allegations or seek forgiveness from the people of Malaysia for straining our unity.”

Hindraf, he said, has strong evidence to show that the premier, his deputy and many others were “smiling widely” and “accepted greetings” from the supporters.

pm open house 011008 11 smiling abdullah

“Hindraf took the (opportunity) to appeal for (the release of) all ISA detainees inclusive of those accused of extremism and terrorism,” he added.

“There are only five of our detainees but many more Muslim children, Muslim wives and Muslim parents who celebrated Hari Raya without their parents, spouses and children.”

The Hindraf 5, arrested on Dec 13 last year, are among some 80 detainees being held for at least two years without trial at the Kamunting detention camp in Perak. The ISA provides for the detention order to be renewed indefinitely -

Utusan is owned by UMNO. You think the leader of UMNO would suspend it?