For the first time since its inception, the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has officially met PKR's top brass, including opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, to discuss issues affecting the Indian community.

NONEThe Hindraf delegation was led by the movement's chairperson P Waythamoorthy (right), who appears to have a less acrimonious relationship with the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, in contrast to his brother, Uthayakumar.

Uthayakumar is Hindraf's most recognisable face who was the movement's de facto leader in Waythamoorthy's absence. The latter was in exile since December 2007 and returned  home on Aug 1.

Under Uthayakumar's stewardship, Pakatan components, save for PAS, have repeatedly avoided any high-level talks with Hindraf.
Uthayakumar has since formed the Human Rights Party, which has threatened to contest Pakatan held seats.

Speaking to Malaysiakini later, Waythamoorthy said that the meeting lasted almost two hours and also involved vice-president Tian Chua and former vice-president R Sivarasa, among others.

Waytha: Fruitful meeting

Waythamoorthy said that although there were no agreements reached "yet", the discussion was nevertheless "fruitful".

NONE"There is a clear desire that PKR wishes to work with Hindraf," added Hindraf national adviser N Ganesan (left), who was also at the meeting.

He said the issues discussed included displaced estate workers, stateless Indians, and education.

While there are some kinks to be ironed out, he said overall there has been a high degree of mutual agreement between the two parties.

When asked, Waythamoorthy said a similar invitation to discuss Indian Malaysian concerns had been sent to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak but had elicited no response so far.

In contrast, Ganesan said Hindraf will be meeting PKR leaders again next week and also with other Pakatan components.

Non-racial approach

Meanwhile, Batu MP Tian Chua said:"We sympathise with the situation (of the Indian Malaysian community) but we are stressing that Pakatan would take an approach that would be non-racial and help people regardless ethnic groups and religion."

He added that many of Hindraf's proposed solutions have already been incorporated in Pakatan's Buku Jingga (Orange Book) manifesto, and the opposition coalition should have no problem committing to them.

Ganesan had earlier told Malaysiakini that Hindraf proposed solutions would be unveiled on Nov 25 in conjunction with the 5th anniversary of the 2007 mass rally which saw 30,000 people take to Kuala Lumpur streets.

NONETian Chua (left) added that Pakatan's support for Indian Malaysian issues are not contingent on Hindraf support.

"We are not there to exchange political favours... I think Waythamoorthy is quite sincere about the plight of the Malaysian Indian community and he wanted to see Pakatan committment to resolve them.

"We gave him the assurance that we are sincere. Whether Hindraf rallies support for Pakatan or not, it is nevertheless our obligation to resolve the issues of the Malaysian Indian community," he said.

Tian Chua said that among others, PKR promised Hindraf that if it comes into power, it would set a timeline to fully resolve the issue of stateless persons.