Monday, March 31, 2008

Malaysia: People's Verdict And Government's Defiance

Malaysian government’s refusal to free M.Manoharan, who was elected to the Selangor State Assembly in the last elections but still kept in custody under the Internal Security Act, was condemned by the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), reported AFP on Sunday. "It shows that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi's administration has not really heard the voice of the people in the March 8 political tsunami to change towards a more democratic and accountable Malaysian society. The ISA detentions are used as political instruments to suppress dissent. It has no relationship whatsoever with national security," said DAP leader Lim Kit Siang to AFP.

Five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), including Manoharan were arrested in last December under Internal Security Act and three of them were charged for allegedly making speeches inciting hatred. All of them were detained for two years by an order signed by Mr. Badawi, who was also the then Internal security Minister.

The leaders were the main organizers of an unprecedented massive rally of around 10,000 people of Indian origin against discrimination in Malaysia in November last year.

The draconian Internal Security Act of Malaysia provides for detaining any individual for up to 60 days without a warrant, trial and without access to legal council. After 60 days the Minister of Home Affairs can extend the period of detention without trial for up to two years, without submitting any evidence for review by the courts, by issuing a detention order, which is renewable indefinitely.

Besides the five leaders, 31 Indians were charged with attempted murder, in connection with the head injury of a policeman during the banned demonstration. “This is the first time in the history of Malaysia that an unlawful assembly has been charged with attempted murder”, said their defence lawyer, reported by Indian Express, last December.

The public opinion of the Indian community, shaped by the grievances of discrimination and the awakening coupled with the demonstration, had a big impact in the March elections. For the first time since 1969 the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition has lost its two third majority in the Parliament and lost the governance of five states to the opposition. The mood of the Indian community was already reflective in the poor attendance to the Thaipusam festival at Batu Caves in January, heeding the call of Hindraf.

Being in detention Manoharan contested the elections on a DAP ticket, and had an impressive victory in Selangor, defeating the sitting candidate.

"Branding some one a terrorist is not the prerogative of some individuals sitting in power. The verdict of the concerned people is supreme. Laws, constitutions and all human institutions without exception are made and unmade by people in need. Mr Badawi should learn to respect the mandate of the people and release all leaders of Hindraf", said a political activist of Malaysia to TamilNet.

In the meantime, Mr Samy Vellu, the leader of the Malaysian Indian Congress, a component of the ruling front which suffered the worst in the last elections, said on Sunday that he would seek the release of the Hindraf leaders with the prime Minister, according to AFP and Malaysiakini reports. He was (earlier) throughout justifying the detention.

Indians constitute about nine percent of Malaysia’s population of which the large majority are Tamils. (TamilStar.com, Sri Lanka)
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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't Bloggers United start an online petition to urge the Govt to release Hindraf 5?

10:59 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous two-face said...

Others?

12:29 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kittykat46 said...

Yeah, Semi Value knows that no amount of rebranding and media spinning by him and the MIC will make any impact on the Indian community in the country as long as the Hindraf 5 are still locked up.

12:37 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous SM said...

Since when does the UMNOputras listen to the Rakyat when it's not in their interest to do so?
Now Semi Value is saying he's going to ask Pak Lah to release them? Hmmmmm...sounds like they are planning something!
Semi will make a BIG noise about speaking to Pak Lah & Pak Lah will get the 5 released.
So both Semi & Pak Lah will be heroes!?

12:38 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not for the ISA but I think using this issue now is not very smart, especially when people like me voted the opposition not because of Hindraf, the NEP, royalty and the like. Better to prove that the 5 state govt are better than BN first. Let us not shake the boat yet. Do not give them unnecesarry ammo.

3:07 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone with any sense of what is right and wrong will support strongly the Hindraf 5 to be released.Do the right things and your your priorites will set it self. As for for Semi Value this is just some cheap political mileage he is trying to gain..or is it the last kick of a dying horse.

8:46 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would put my bet 1st (whether BN will release all HINDRAF 5), had to keep an watchfull eye on BN (they like to twist what is right and wrong together). And lastly, I dun giv a damn about what gimmicks or shows that BN is doing, all I know is that ISA is under their control and they are the mastermind behind the HINDRAF 5 detentions and it is their job to untangle this mess (puik! had to wait until people start shouting only decide to release people ahh, still sleeping ahh idiots 1), no heroism nor thanks should be given to UMNO or SamyVellu it is their SH!T by the way

12:36 AM GMT+8  

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