Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dictatorship Malaysia style: elected Hindraf leader will not be released from detention

Dictatorship Malaysia style: elected Hindraf leader will not be released from detention

Malaysia Spurns Calls to Free Lawmaker
1 hour ago (29 March 2008, 3 PM IST)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysian opposition party on Saturday condemned the government's refusal to release an ethnic Indian activist elected as a state legislator while in jail.
M.Manoharan — a leader of the Hindu Rights Action Force, or Hindraf — was arrested shortly after his group organized a rally in November in which 20,000 Indians protested alleged government discrimination. He has been held since December under Malaysia's Internal Security Act, which allows for indefinite detention without trial.
While behind bars, he contested the March 8 election as a member of the Democratic Action Party and won a seat in the Selangor state legislature.
Despite Manoharan's win, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar said the government cannot free him because he is still a security threat, The Star newspaper reported Saturday.
Calls to Syed Hamid and his aides went unanswered Saturday.
Lim Kit Siang, who heads the opposition Democratic Action Party slammed the government's decision.
"It shows that the Cabinet is not really listening to the people's voice for change toward a more democratic, accountable, just and more progressive Malaysian society," Lim told The Associated Press.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's ruling National Front coalition retained power in the March election, but suffered the worst losses in its 51-year rule.

Jailed Malay Indian MP cannot be released

Saturday, 29 March , 2008, 11:59
Kuala Lumpur: Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader M Manoharan who is being detained under the Internal Security Act cannot be released although he won the Kota Alam Shah Assembly seat in the General Elections held March 8, 2008 Malaysian Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar has said.
"We cannot simply react to political parties' calls. We have to give priority to public safety and peace and will give due consideration (to the issue of his release) only if there is no threat to national security," he was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper on Saturday.
Manoharan will not be able to attend state assembly sessions while under detention.
He can, however, take oath as a state assemblyman at the detention camp as this had been done in the past, Albar said.
Chian Heng Kai and Chan Kok Kit, who won the Batu Gajah and Sungai Besi parliamentary seats respectively on a Democratic Action Party (DAP) ticket, took oath in the presence of the Dewan Rakyat (Parliament) speaker and secretary, and camp authorities in 1978, he said.
Manoharan, along with P Uthayakumar, V Ganabatirau, K Vasantha Kumar and R Kengadharan, is being detained for two years on charges of sedition for being part of Hindraf.
An unregistered body, Hindraf, claiming to speak for two million Tamil Hindu settlers, courted controversy after it organised a rally here November 25, 2007 to highlight the problems faced by ethnic Indians. Police forcibly dispersed the rally using water cannons and the group's leaders were arrested.
Albar said an advisory board comprising judicial and legal officers would review their detention.

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