Malaysia bans Hindraf, says it’s a threat to national security

The Malaysian Government has banned the non-governmental Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), branding it as a threat to national security.

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar on Wednesday issued a statement declaring Hindraf, which has been advocating ethnic Indian rights since late last year for the minority community, an illegal organisation. He said the government move followed the result of monitoring and investigations by the country's Registrar of Societies (RoS) since Hindraf was formed.

Albar accused the Hindraf of exploiting "racial issues which caused an uprising against the government and created hatred between them and the Malays. I feel that if we don't rein in their activities, they will continue to jeopardize security and public order... and upset the harmony among races."

Hindraf came into international focus after it organised a massive rally on November 25 last year to protest alleged marginalisation of the ethnic Indian minority in this country. A large section of ethnic Indians supported the Hindraf as they felt that the Malaysian Indian Congress, led by Samy Vellu, had done little to uplift the community over the decades.

Syed Hamid said the decision to ban the movement was not made based on one or two misdemeanors committed by Hindraf, but covered the entire gamut of activities the group had been involved in since its inception.

An opposition MP has called the government's decision to ban Hindraf as ridiculous and uncalled for, adding that he would move an emergency motion asking for an open debate in Parliament on Thursday. "This is against the interest and aspirations of the Indian community that is seeking a more tolerant and fair government," M Kulasegaran said, adding that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had agreed to hold a dialogue with Hindraf leaders but "nothing was done".

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