The National Indian Rights Action Team (Niat) has expressed doubt that Himpunan Barisan 1Malaysia's stated objective of sourcing feedback from civil society would be achieved.

Niat chairperson Thasleem Mohd Ibrahim said that his group has written numerous letters to senior government officials in the past and nearly all of it were ignored.

“(I’ve sent) 39 reminders to the prime minister on one issue and there is no reply. Every issue; very simple issues that we write to the prime minister, deputy prime minister...

“Did you know that on an education matter, after the 37th reminder, I get a short note saying that ‘This is not under the purview of our ministry.’?”

“I have got evidence of simple things written on issues concerning the community, on education for example and so many other issues,” said Thasleem.

He was speaking to reporters after the Coalition on Plan of Action Malaysia (GBM) annual conference today, where he was asked to comment on the rally.

Some yet to recieve invite

The rally on Nov 24 is aimed at getting feedback from civil society about government policy, and is organised by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Ahmad Maslan.

It is slated to gather about 1,000 NGOs. However, only those registered with the Registrar of Societies (ROS) would be invited.

This would leave out NGOs that are registered as a company, such as Suaram and the Centre for Independent Journalism.

When this was pointed out to Thasleem, he said it should not matter whether an NGO has registered or not because some groups such as Niat are still in the process of registration.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) and Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia said they have yet to receive the invitation to the event although both are registered with the ROS.

KLSCAH chairperson Tan Yew Sing said that he welcomes any initiative to get public feedback, but needs more information on how is the rally is organised to determine whether it is “effective” for KLSCAH to be present.

Mere BN gimmick?

He said that during roadshows on the National Education Blueprint, there are so many participants that he found it better to have a separate session.

“We find that with such a big group, it is useful and I think it is a good practice, but we always find that it is better to have another session.

“So we in fact met the committee in a separate session for one hour. We can really elaborate to them some of our points,” he said.

As for Ikram vice president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, he said his organisation is still waiting for the invitation and to find out the event’s objective and premise.

However, he is of the opinion that the event is BN-linked and attending it would be against Ikram’s principle of distancing itself from political parties.

“I think this is actually playing into the advantage of the party rather than any other thing.

"Basically they are showing that they are getting the support of the NGOs,” he said, while stressing that it is his personal opinion.