Manoharan wants Bumiputra status for all born after independence
Manohran signing a DAP memorandum asking for a new bridge in Klang. – Picture by Jack OoiBy Shannon Teoh
SHAH ALAM, May 20 – Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader M. Manoharan today called for all those born in Malaysia after independence to be accorded Bumiputra status, saying that this would truly unite Malaysians and give 1Malaysia some meaning.
Fresh from being released from Internal Security Act (ISA) detention, M. Manoharan may well be courting trouble again with his speech at a teatime function today.
“I want to meet the prime minister to propose that we accord Bumiputra status to all Malaysians born here after August 31, 1957 to dismantle racial barriers,” he said.
In an interview with The Malaysian Insider later, he said that such a move might give PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia slogan of unity a chance of bearing some fruit, as it would be the first step towards recognising all citizens as equal Malaysians.
Recognising the sensitivities surrounding Bumiputra status, he explained that it was not meant to impinge on the constitutional rights and privileges of Malays.
“The constitution enshrines the rights of Malays, not Bumiputras, so they can still continue to enjoy their special status. I am not trying to take it away from them,” he said.
The Kota Alam Shah assemblyman added that, along with four other Hindraf leaders released recently from ISA detention, he would resume its 18-point demands to the government which includes affirmative action for ethnic Indians as well as protection for its schools and temples.
In his own capacity as a DAP assemblyman in Selangor’s Pakatan Rakyat government, he hopes to pursue some of these issues.
“I have a masterplan for Selangor. If we solve these three problems – Tamil schools, Hindu temples and graveyards or crematoriums – then we will have solved 90 per cent of Indian problems,” he said.
He said the state government had the power to end these Indian issues as it was in charge of giving out land titles.
“We are asking for nothing more than what are government obligations to its citizens. We are not asking to be prime minister, deputy prime minister or to be astronauts,” he quipped.