An ethnic Indian leader held under a controversial security law in Malaysia has turned down appeals from supporters to contest against a Malaysian minister belonging to the community in the coming general elections, saying he preferred to remain 'apolitical'.
P Uthayakumar, along with five other leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), has been under detention for two months now under the tough Internal Security Act after they organised a massive rally of ethnic Indians to protest their alleged marginalisation in this multi-racial country.
Uthayakumar's response came after several supporters urged him to stand against Samy Vellu, the president of the Malaysian Indian Congress, a component of the ruling Nasional Barisan party coalition. Vellu is also the works minister in the cabinet of prime minister Abdullah Badawi.
Hindraf coordinator R S Thanenthiran said Uthayakumar preferred to remain 'apolitical' so that he could serve the ethnic Indian community 'more effectively'.
Thanenthiran said he had met Uthayakumar last week at a hospital where the Hindraf leader was admitted after he complained of weakness.
"But he will support other Hindraf leaders if they want to contest since they will be championing Indians rights," Thanenthiran was quoted by the Star newspaper as saying.
Last week, 200 workers employed at plantations staged a demonstration at a temple in Ayer Tawar urging one of the five detained Hindraf leader to take on Samy Vellu who has been at the helm of MIC for over two decades.
Many Indian activists accuse Vellu of not doing enough for the community.