KUALA LUMPUR: Kementerian Dalam Negeri mendedahkan Hindraf telah menganjur 17 forum dan 338 demonstrasi jalanan sepanjang operasinya bermula pertengahan tahun lalu dan terpaksa dikenakan tindakan pengharaman kerana menggunakan pendekatan ekstrem untuk menyebarkan ideologi.
"Kami mengambil masa yang lama sebelum mengambil tindakan sebab kami tidak mahu mereka memikirkan bahawa oleh kerana mereka sebuah persatuan yang kelihatan bercakap bagi kaum tertentu atau agama, kami mengambil tindakan.
"Kami mengambil tindakan kerana kami menganggap bahawa mereka tidak mengambil pendekatan ekstrem untuk menyebarkan ideologi mereka.
"Dalam kes berkenaan, ia akan memudahkan kami jika kita berpandangan bahawa mereka telah melakukan sesuatu yang salah untuk dikenakan tindakan di bawah Akta Pertubuhan di mana mereka mempunyai hak untuk mempertahankan mereka," kata Menteri Dalam Negeri, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar baru-baru ini.
Dengan merujuk kepada tindakan yang sama diambil ke atas beberapa pertubuhan agama seperti Jemaah Islamiah, KMM dan Darul Islamiah, jika tindakan tidak diambil untuk mengelakkan pihak berkenaan daripada beroperasi, negara ini sudah pasti dilanda masalah.
"Jika saya membenarkan kesemua kumpulan ekstrem ini beroperasi dan menunggu sehingga tercetusnya bergolakan, sudah tentu ini negara ini dilanda masalah," katanya.
Dalam temu bual untuk mStar Online dan Star Online, Syed Hamid berkata, kerajaan tidak mengharamkan Hindraf kerana kumpulan itu memperjuangkan hak kaum Hindu ataupun India.
"Mengenai isu-isu munasabah, tiada siapa yang boleh berkelahi dengan mereka.
"Tetapi kami mengambil tindakan sebaba kami menganggap cara mereka bergerak - menyebarkan eksremism.
"Mereka mengatakan bahawa 'musuh kita ialah Melayu, orang Islam'. Ini semua ada dalam ucapan mereka," katanya.
Beliau mengakui memang ada beberapa isu yang tidak ditangani dengan menyeluruh tetapi untuk mengatakan kerajaan menekan ataupun menggunakan aparteid atau pembersihkan kaum dengan pihak polis membenarkan pembunuhan di Kampung Medan adalah tidak benar.
SEDUTAN TEMU BUAL BERSAMA DATUK SERI SYED HAMID ALBAR, BAHAGIAN KEDUA
BANNING OF HINDRAF
Syed Hamid: Hindraf has an address. It has a committee. It has operated as if it’s a registered society. Under the law, we recognise two types of society by definition. One is a registered society under the Societies Act and the other is just a society, which for all intents and purposes, has got elements of a registered society.
That was why we had to take action to stop the activities and ban them (Hindraf). This is the same thing with al-Arqam. It was also not a registered society. It was formed and we had to take the decision of banning them, arresting all the leaders, arresting all the committee members and confiscating their assets. For al-Maunah, we took the decision of deregistering them because they were a registered society and charging one of their leaders for treason against the King and he was hanged. That is how sensitive extremism issues pertaining to religion are.
We are not banning them (Hindraf) because they were promoting Hindu rights or Indian rights. On legitimate issues, nobody can quarrel with them. But we are taking action because we consider the way they have gone about doing things - promoting extremism. They said “our enemies are the Malays, the Muslims.” This is in some of their speeches.
We have allowed them to go on and when you look at Indian issues, yes, there are some issues that are not totally resolved but to say that we oppress, or commit apartheid or genocide and that the police allowed murder in Kg Medan ...
They have organised 17 forums, 338 street demonstrations. We took a long time before taking action because we don’t want them to think that because they are a society that seems to speak for a certain race or religion, we take action.
We took action because we considered that they have taken a very extreme approach to propagate their ideology. In that case, it would make it easier for us anyway if we think they have done something wrong to take the action under the Societies Act where they have the right to defend themselves, right to counsel and all these things. Jemaah Islamiah was not allowed to operate, KMM was not allowed to operate, Darul Islamiyah was not allowed to operate. If I allow all the extreme groups to operate and wait for trouble to happen, then this country would be up in hell.
Somebody said you can imprison the body but you can’t imprison the mind.
Very clever as a damning statement. We are not trying to imprison anybody’s mind.
We are not stopping anyone from expressing their views but you must express your minds in the context of ensuring that you do not jeopardise peace, security and public order. How would one act when you talk about threats? Threats are questions of perception. If we act waiting for the threat to happen then it’s no longer perventive. It won’t help us to stop things. The fact is that today, we are able to go round, move freely, sit at roadside stalls, eating 24 hours. No country in the world is considered safe, not even in New York, for you to sit outside and enjoy life and laugh. And yet, everybody says we are not doing our job. It is because we are doing our job that people are able to do that, living in this country peacefully and able to make life comfortable.
I have a feeling that there is a lot of mixing up about what is security and what is crime. People tend to think security and crime are synonymous. They are not. They are two different issues. Security goes deeper than simply a question of crime.
Crimes are activities conducted by criminals. security threatens public order, threatens peace. It is important for us all, whether we are in the media, whether we are in a society, whether in human rights, whether in Transparency, to see how we can promote our shared values and common destiny.
I always feel that Malaysians should represent Malaysian interests and not looking at it from our narrow ethnic or religious perspective. We have got a very unique mix. Anything can happen, it is so delicate. In some countries, they take action against people, you would not be misinterpreted. In this country, if the policeman is a Malay, it could always be misinterpreted as the Malay guy is after the non-Malay. In other countries, nothing would happen. You take action because there is a need to take action.
Q: Wouldn’t the Indian community be further alienated by the banning of Hindraf, which is seen by some quarters to be the voice of the under-privileged Indians? There has also been talk that Hindraf was banned to help MIC make inroads into this segment of the Indian community.
Syed Hamid: I think there is a wrong perception that Hindraf represents all Hindus or all Indians. FYI, the Indians are a mixed community. The Sikhs are also Indians. There are Indian-Muslims, Indian Christians. When they (Hindraf) do their activities, there are only 100-300 people. Twenty-eight per cent of lawyers are Indians. There are Indian doctors. There are 14 Indian elected representatives - they are represented in the various states. I don’t mind to be underprivileged if my voice is the loudest and that I am very well represented. Even on the poverty line, the Indians are better than the Bumiputeras.
Syed Hamid: The Internet is now the mainstream media blogs, websites and chat portals. Now the mainstream is the bloggers, not the print media. They seem to be the driving force. You can criticise the Minister and the exercise of the functions or in governance. But when you propagate incitement and ideology ... You see, all the ideologies is to support the Opposition. When you support the Opposition, then you are already political.
I believe this country depends very much on understanding. The PM always says we can accept comments and criticism, no matter how hurtful they are. But if it goes beyond that, we may have to take action because peace and security is threatened.
People ask: ‘Show us how peace and security is threatened?’ How can we show that? It’s not something that is tangible until we wait for the thing to happen. When it is our responsibility to prevent, we have to ensure that it does not happen.
Blogs ... I think so long as I’m doing my job I answer to legitimate questions that are being asked. The beauty of democracy we must recognise is that we have a right to agree to disagree. Criticisms are also subjected to responses. Give the same equal treatment and it will be fair. What we are seeking is to give us room to give our side of the story.
Syed Hamid: Umno can win over all the Malays and PAS would be finished if we take the extreme way and promote just Malay national interests because the Malays are also feeling threatened. They feel that everything that was agreed to by our forefathers, what was called the social contract that was put into the Constitution has been undermines. The debate has been reopened. In our history, I have never read that the Raja-Rajas coming out with a statement of very strong concern about these issues. So, I believe we have a role to play, whether we are bloggers ...
People say we are just creating a bogeyman to scam. The Opposition will use that. But it’s very political. There are certain things that should not be given political leaning. We must realise that sometimes the voice of the majority is very silent. It is for us to interpret, the police with their network, to interpret the voice of the majority. The minority voice is always vocal. The Opposition always talk like they are the voice of the majority but they have got 80 MPs, and we have got 138 now. So, we represented. Yes we understand they disagree because they are in the Opposition and they want to make sure that in the future, they will to govern.
Syed Hamid: I was considering whether there could a possibility of only licensing (publication licence) once? No need for renewal? But this would also depend on how the media accepts it. How it would affect them - that self-censorship rights are looked at with responsibility. I have never heard people talking about responsibility or being a true Malaysian but I always hear about rights. At first, the United Nation talked about about rights. But later they realised that rights must be balanced with responsibility. Social programmes are also recognised to uplift the well-being of the people.
In the media, you do not realise that you are a government unto yourselves because of how things get propogated. How do they become popular? Because you think an issue is sensational, you think it will sell papers. The media must own up that you have a fantastic and important role in shaping opinions, that you’re opinion makers and leaders. Embedded (American) journalists in the Iraq War - there are many things that they know but they do not publish. Why? Because they have a sense of patriotism. Same with us. We are building a nation. It is not easy. You can talk about Singapore being multi-racial but they have one dominant race. Here, you have dozens of ethnic groups.
I am not blaming the media. If we criticise the paper, we get in trouble. Many times I have been rejected. None of my news came out, and there are instance when even I got good news, they will put it in a negative exposure. But coming out everyday in the newspaper does not mean it’s good for you. If you are fair, everything would come out better. The media must understand more what the functions of the ministry are. Don’t rubbish us all the time. Give us credit when it is due.
As far as Malaysia is concerned, we are seeking to do the best for the country, for the nation. Everyone has got a role to play in nation building. At the end of the day, if you want to talk about self-censorship and that sort of thing, there must be that sense of responsibility. That sense of not simply reporting but thinking of what is good and what is bad for the country.
Some papers wrote that Filipinos were threatened when we sent them back. You see in the case of deporting in Sabah, it is done together with the Government of the deportees. We document them. But this one particular person spoke without even justifying. It was taken as the gospel truth. When you prejudge an issue, then it is difficult for us. we have to respond.