Friday, February 1, 2008

Detained Hindraf leaders may contest in polls

Saturday February 2, 2008

Detained Hindraf leaders may contest in polls

IPOH: The five Hindu Action Rights Force (Hindraf) leaders detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) may contest in the coming general election.

The group’s legal counsel M. Kulasegaran said there had been many requests through short message service (SMS) for the five to stand as candidates.

M. Manoharan, 46, P. Uthayakumar, 46, V. Ganabatirau, 34, R. Kengadharan, 40, and K. Vasantha Kumar, 34 – are under two-year detentions for their role in protests in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25.

“The requests were from society at large,” Kulasegaran said.

“One view was that they should be involved in the coming election, with one of them standing in the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat,” he said.

Last week, 200 estate workers staged a peaceful demonstration at a temple in Ayer Tawar calling for one of the five Hindraf leaders to take on MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu in his Sungai Siput parliamentary constituency.

They would not be the first ISA detainees contesting the polls. Chan Kok Kit and Chian Heng Khai contested on DAP tickets in 1978 when under detention.

Asked if the senders of the SMS had indicated who they want to see contesting there, Kulasegaran said the majority apparently wanted Uthayakumar.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia leader D. Jeyakumar indicated last week his yet-to-be-registered party would likely contest the Sungai Siput seat. He lost in the 1999 and 2004 elections while standing on the DAP and PKR ticket, respectively.

Kulasegaran, who is also DAP vice-chairman, noted that there had been mixed reaction from the five over standing for election.

“(DAP chairman) Karpal Singh, (DAP central executive committee member) A. Sivanesan and I will be going to Kamunting to confer with them on this next week,” he said.

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