The Malaysian Indian Creative Content Action Force (MICCAF) has announced on its Facebook site that it has postponed its protest against ASTRO to the 24th of April.
In a telephone interview yesterday, MICCAF spokesperson NS Krishna explained that their initial proposal to continue their hunger strike on April 15th has been cancelled to allow PPP president M Kayveas more time to discuss with the prime minister and ASTRO about the group’s allegations and demands.
Kayveas had pledged earlier in the month to meet with the prime minister by April 14th, though this was not achieved due to a public holiday and the British prime minister’s visit in Malaysia.
MICCAF is accusing ASTRO and ASTRO’s content management group senior vice president Rajamani Chellamuthu, of sidelining local talent and favouring India-produced television shows and movies, which are against Malaysian values and are detrimental to the local culture.
The association demands for ASTRO Vaanavil’s content to be gradually centred on more local content until achieving their goal of showing fully Malaysian programs on the channel in December 2013.
They also call for the resignation of Rajamani who they claim is the cause for the ostrazisation of Malaysian talents for the past 17 years.
Should Kayveas’ negotiation with ASTRO fail, MICCAF will stage their protest in front of ASTRO’s gates from noon to 3.00 PM everyday beginning April 24th.
“This will be a peaceful protest with police permit and will not cause any disturbance,” said Krishna, adding that some members of the public have also signalled their interest in joining the protest through MICCAF’s Facebook page.
Film director Sanjay Kumar Perumal, who is also a spokesperson of MICCAF, asserts that he still has faith in Kayveas’ pledge to solve their problems amicably with ASTRO.
“If the protest has to go on, then we will have it. I personally think that even if the protest does not bring the results we hope for, at least it would have served to educate the public about the discrimination we face,” he added.
Aside from the protest near ASTRO grounds, MICCAF members also plan to spread awareness about their cause by holding performances in various cities around Peninsular Malaysia, as well as create informative short films and plays for their cause.
A forum with Media Prima’s board will also commence on an undisclosed date to highlight the lack of local Indian programming on their channels.