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Speech (2) by Lim Kit Siang at the Sri Tanjung Bungah DAP Branch dinner at Tanjong Bungah Community Hall, Penang on Friday, 8th May 2009: 

Is Hishammuddin more incompetent than Syed Hamid Albar as Home Minister that the former must take a longer time than his predecessor to release 13 ISA detainees?

Is the current Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein more incompetent than Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar that the former must take a longer time than his predecessor to release 13 Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees?

When Datuk Seri Najib Razak was sworn in as the sixth Prime Minister on Friday, 3rd April 2009, he announced in his maiden address to the nation telecast live at 8 pm the same night the release “with immediate effect” of 13 ISA detainees, including two Hindraf leaders Ganapathi Rao and R. Kenghadharan.

I had at the time expected the 13 ISA detainees to be released from Kamunting Detention Centre latest by the next day, Saturday, 4th April 2009.

This was not to be and Ganabatirau and Kenghadharan’s families were made victims of a cruel police game of “cat and mouse” lasting some 46 hours, as both of them were only released to their homes in Selangor at about 6 p.m. on Sunday 5th April 2009 – despite Najib’s “immediate release” announcement on Friday night and the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan’s undertaking on Saturday midday that the 13 ISA detainees would be allowed to leave Kamunting Detention Centre on Sunday morning.

Now, is Hishammuddin going to take longer than 46 hours to release another 13 ISA detainees, including the remaining three Hindraf leaders under the ISA, P. Uthayakumar, DAP Selangor State Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah, M. Manoharan and K. Vasantha Kumar?

Hishammuddin made the decision to release the second batch of ISA detainees yesterday also on a Friday but in the morning – easily some 10 hours earlier than Najib’s 8 pm telecast.

Will Hishammuddin take longer than the 46 hours needed to free the first batch of 13 ISA detainees on April 5 when Syed Hamid was the Home Minister?

I still await an answer from Hishammuddin why the police can effect an arrest immediately when such a decision is taken but it is impossible to effect releases immediately following such a decision.

When will Uthayakumar, Manoharan and Vasantha be released from ISA detention? If they have to wait until Monday before they could be released, it would mean that they have to wait some 72 hours after such a decision is taken, as compared to some 46 hours in the case of Ganabatirau and Kenghadharan.

Can Hishammuddin explain why he is more incompetent and inefficient as Home Minister in this regard as compared to Syed Haid Albar?

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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