Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy

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Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy
வேதமூர்த்தி பொன்னுசாமி
Profile picture of YB Waytha Moorthy.jpg
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department
National Unity and Social Well-being
Assumed office
17 July 2018
MonarchMuhammad V
Abdullah
Prime MinisterMahathir Mohamad
DeputyDr. Mohamad Farid Md Rafik
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department
Indian Community
In office
16 May 2013 – 10 February 2014
MonarchAbdul Halim
Prime MinisterNajib Razak
Senator
Assumed office
17 July 2018
MonarchMuhammad V
Abdullah
Prime MinisterMahathir Mohamad
In office
5 June 2013 – 10 February 2014
MonarchAbdul Halim
Prime MinisterNajib Razak
Personal details
Born (1966-07-16) 16 July 1966 (age 52)
CitizenshipMalaysian
Political partyHINDRAF
(part of Pakatan Harapan along with DAP, PKR, etc)
Spouse(s)Nagesvary Karuppen
RelationsP. Uthayakumar (brother)
ParentsPonnusamy Arunasalam
OccupationHuman rights activist

Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy sometimes spelt Waythamoorthy (Tamil: வேதமூர்த்தி பொன்னுசாமி, translit. Vētamūrtti poṉṉucāmi; born 16 July 1966) is a Malaysian politician, lawyer and activist. Currently he was appointed as menteri perpaduan in the Upper House Dewan Negara of Parliament of Malaysia and serving as the Minister of National Unity and Social Wellbeing.[1][2] He is a Barrister from Lincoln’s Inn and began his career as a lawyer in Malaysia in 1997. Waytha’s work involved public interest litigation relating to arbitrary arrests, unlawful deaths in police custody, extra judicial killings; police abuse of detainees; denial of grant of citizenship status to ethnic Indians born in Malaysia, forced conversion of ethnic Indians to Islam, unlawful demolition of Hindu Temples or places of worship; and denial of government compensation to ethnic Indian Estate/Plantation workers. Much of Waytha’s work was done pro bono due to a lack of public funds allocated to those areas of the law. He is well known among Malaysian Indians as the Founder of HINDRAF and his domestic and international campaign to fight discrimination against Malaysian Hindus.[3]

Early life[edit]

Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy was born on 16 July 1966 to Ponnusamy Arunasalam who was a first generation immigrant. Waytha Moorthy mentioned in his statement of claim that his parents sold their home to finance his studies in the United Kingdom. Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy also stated that he was denied entry into a local university despite having all the requirements purely because he was an Indian.

Political career[edit]

Hindu temple demolitions in Malaysia[edit]

Waytha Moorthy has led a campaign against demolitions and relocations of Hindu temples in Malaysia by private companies and the government. Examples of Hindu Temple demolitions and relocations in Malaysia include the Sri Kumaravel Hindu temple Kampong Medan which had been relocated next to a sewerage tank in 2006, the Muniswarar Hindu temple in Midlands estate was demolished using sledgehammers in 2006, the Muniswarar temple in Seremban with a 100-year-old rain tree which was given notice for demolition in 2006, and the Sri Siva Balamuniswarar Hindu temple in Setapak of which Waytha was a devotee was demolished using government bulldozers in 2006.

Lawsuit against Britain[edit]

He sued and accused the British Government of "abandoning minority Indians to the mercy of majoritarian authoritarian government while granting independence on 31 August 1957". Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy sued the British Government to pay £1,000,000 to each Malaysian Indian for the "pain, suffering, humiliation, discrimination and continuous colonisation". This extraordinary lawsuit had the backing and support from HINDRAF or Hindu Rights Action Force.

Just as Malaysia was celebrating its 50th Independence on 31 August 2007, Waytha Moorthy led a team of lawyers to file a 4 trillion pound lawsuit against the British Government. "After a century of slaving for the British, the colonial government withdrew after granting independence and they left us unprotected and at the mercy of a majority authoritarian government that has violated our rights as minority Indians," said Waytha after filing the suit.[4]

Arrest[edit]

On 30 October 2007, Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy and other members of HINDRAFM. Manoharan, P. Uthayakumar and V. Ganabatirau—were arrested at 11:00 p.m. and detained until 8:00 a.m. the following morning for taking part in a demonstration against the demolition of a Hindu Shrine in Kuala Lumpur. Because of this "unlawful arrest", the lawyers are seeking 85 million Malaysian Ringgits in compensation, with Manoharan, Uthayakumar and Ganapathy Rao seeking 20 million while Waytha Moorthy is seeking 25 million.[5]

He was arrested again on 23 November together with P. Uthayakumar and V. Ganabatirau, this time on sedition charges. All three were granted bail, but Waytha refused bail as a sign of protest.[6] But on 26 November, the court discharged Waytha Moorthy, Uthayakumar and Ganapathy Rao[7] because "the prosecution had failed to adhere to Zunaidah's (the judge) instructions on Friday to attach the Tamil transcripts of the speeches to the charge sheet".[8]

The movement grew in numbers and on 25 November 2007, approximately 100,000 ethnic Indians joined HINDRAF in a peaceful public rally based on Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent protest to highlight the plight of the marginalised Indian community in Malaysia. The government used tear gas and chemical-laced water at the protestors. Despite their peaceful manner, many participants were arrested by the authorities.

International Campaign[edit]

Waytha Moorthy left Malaysia on 26 November 2007 to obtain international support for HINDRAF's cause.[9] He began with India and planned to proceed to London, Geneva, Brussels, Washington DC, New York and Atlanta. BERNAMA, the Malaysian national news agency on 3 January 2008 reported that Waytha Moorthy said that the HINDRAF cause has been lost. This report was quickly denounced as false by Moorthy and the report was met with public backlash. [10]

Waytha Moorthy in his international awareness campaign to highlight the predicament of the marginalised Indian community, worked with the UNHCR, the UK government, the US State Department, the US International Commission on Religious Freedom, Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch, Beckett Foundation, the International Bar Association, the Law Society, the UK Bar Council, the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT), the Human Rights Defenders (Dublin), the FIDH and the International Red Cross as well as many foreign governments.[11][12][13][14]

Waytha Moorthy's campaign caused great embarrassment to the Malaysian government, this resulted in the Malaysian government revoking his International Passport in May 2008.[15] Waytha was forced to seek protection from the UK government, which duly granted him asylum status under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

On August 1, 2012, despite fears that he would face arrest and detention on return to Malaysia, he voluntarily returned to Malaysia.[16][17] Immediately after his return, he invited the government to engage in talks on issues relating to human rights issues. On March 10, 2013, Waytha Moorthy began a hunger strike to raise human rights issues.[18][19][20] 21 days into his strike, then Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak invited him for discussions, which led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Hindraf and the government in uplifting the socio-economic standing of the Indian community in Malaysia.

Support of BN[edit]

On 18 April 2013, HINDRAF and the then ruling government BN signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). At the MOU signing ceremony, Waythamoorthy had also urged Indian voters to vote for BN in GE-13, saying only the ruling coalition can take care of the community's welfare.[21]


Joining the BN government[edit]

Wathya was appointed as the deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department after Barisan Nasional formed the government following a simple majority seat victory in the general election. Waythamoorthy said that he and Hindraf would be able to solve the issue of stateless Indians in the country within five years.[22][23]

He was the first NGO leader in the nation to be appointed into the government's administration as a Deputy Minister.[24]

However, on 8 February 2014, after being in the government for eight (8) months, Waytha announced his resignation from all government positions and the Dewan Negara, for the failure and breach of trust of the government to start reform policies and programs to uplift the Malaysian Indian community.[25][26]

Return to PH government and appointed as a Minister[edit]

In August 2017, HINDRAF under the leadership of Waytha Moorthy met with Chairman of Malaysian United Indigenous Party (PPBM), Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and initiated a working relationship with Pakatan Harapan (PH) for the General Election 14 in 2018. Tun Dr. Mahathir recognizing the importance of HINDRAF in its ability to reach out to grassroots Indians in the semi-rural and rural areas officially accepted HINDRAF as an associate / strategic partner of Pakatan Harapan (PH).[27][28][29]

HINDRAF under the leadership of Waytha Moorthy managed to swing over 88% of the Malaysian Indian votes to the Pakatan Harapan (PH) that lead to the historical defeat of Barisan Nasional (BN) in the General Election 14 (2018). The Indian vote for the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in General Election 13 (2013) was 50.56%.

In recognition of the contribution of HINDRAF, Waytha Moorthy was sworn in as a Senator on 17 July 2018 and appointed as the Minister of Unity and Social Well Being under the current Pakatan Harapan government administration.[30][31][32]

Waytha Moorthy’s government appointment is unique because he is the first NGO leader of the nation to have achieved a Minister status in the government.

Formation of Malaysian Advancement Party (MAP)[edit]

A new political party has been submitted for registration by its pro-team committee lead by YB Minister Waytha Moorthy with the Registrar of Societies. This party will be called Malaysian Advancement Party (MAP).

The Party’s main objectives amongst others will be to protect, promote and advance the interests of the Malaysian Indian community’s political, economic, educational, cultural, religious and social interests.

With the birth of this political party, there is a hope among the Malaysian Indian community in Malaysia to ensure that there is an effective representation of the Malaysian Indian community and that their interests are protected and advanced.

The party’s direction and vision are to adopt a fundamental rights-based approach for advancement, progressively moving away from state-assisted, welfare and hand-out based community towards community empowerment and resilient.

The values that the party will propagate will include inclusiveness, equality, quality, originality, integrity, and transparency within the government. The party has stated it will work and cooperate with all political parties in Pakatan Harapan to enhance the reform agenda under the new Pakatan Harapan administration.[33][34][35]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Five senators appointed as one minister and four deputy ministers". The Star. 17 July 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  2. ^ https://www.perpaduan.gov.my/en/jpnin-info/management/top-management
  3. ^ http://www.hinduhumanrights.info/waytha-moorthy-a-name-every-hindu-should-know/
  4. ^ [1] Inter Press Service news report.
  5. ^ "RM85 Million Suit by 4 Lawyers For wrongful arrest & detention".
  6. ^ "Lawyers charged with sedition", The Star, 24 November 2007.
  7. ^ "Al Jazeera report Al Jazeera 27 November 2007.
  8. ^ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/11/27/nation/19583267&sec=nation&focus=1 The Star, 27 November 2007.
  9. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/archived/religionreport/malaysias-hindu-minority/3293766
  10. ^ [2] BERNAMA, Pure Barisan Nasional Propaganda
  11. ^ https://www.forum-asia.org/?p=7263
  12. ^ https://www.hafsite.org/human-rights-issues/exiled-malaysian-human-rights-activist-addresses-large-crowds-us-tour
  13. ^ http://www.freechoudhury.com/HRDI.htm
  14. ^ http://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/press-releases/malaysia-uscirf-concerned-over-destruction-hindu-temples-and-need
  15. ^ http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Malaysia/Story/A1Story20080516-65507.html
  16. ^ https://spdb.ohchr.org/hrdb/22nd/public_-_UA_Malaisie_27.07.12_(5.2012).pdf
  17. ^ http://cj.my/post/73244/return-the-passport-of-p-waytha-moorthy/
  18. ^ http://www.cpiasia.net/v3/index.php/history/219-contributors-sp-642/contributors/2487-waytha-moorthys-hunger-strike-to-highlight-humanitarian-aspect-of-hindraf-blueprint
  19. ^ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2013/03/31/hindraf-chief-calls-off-21day-hunger-strike-after-he-collapses/
  20. ^ http://sahabatrakyatmy.blogspot.com/2013/03/my-expectations-of-hindraf-struggle-led.html
  21. ^ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2013/04/18/ge13-hindraf-to-partner-with-barisan-says-waythamoorthy/
  22. ^ Waytha upbeat in solving stateless issue in five years
  23. ^ http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/waythamoorthy%E2%80%99s-real-work-begins
  24. ^ https://www.asiasentinel.com/politics/najibs-survival-cabinet/
  25. ^ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2014/02/08/hindraf-wahthamoorthy-resigns/
  26. ^ http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/hindraf-says-sorry-indians
  27. ^ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/08/17/waythamoorthy-hindraf-pakatan-pact-possible/
  28. ^ https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/national/admit-hindraf-in-pakatan-urges-former-isa-detainee/ar-BBFMmxP?li=AAaD62f
  29. ^ http://www.themalaysiantimes.com.my/hindraf-welcomes-dr-ms-announcement-pledges-deliver-indian-votes/
  30. ^ https://sg.news.yahoo.com/hindraf-apos-waytha-moorthy-made-134703087.html
  31. ^ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2018/07/391774/waytha-moorthy-appointed-minister-four-other-senators-made-deputy
  32. ^ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/07/18/minister-and-deputies-appointed-waytha-moorthy-to-head-national-unity-and-social-wellbeing-portfolio/
  33. ^ http://www.bernama.com/en/politics/news.php?id=1640718
  34. ^ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/09/08/waytha-moorthy-launches-indian-party/
  35. ^ http://www.utusan.com.my/berita/politik/parti-baharu-untuk-kaum-india-tunggu-kelulusan-ros-waytha-moorthy-1.744174