Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on
Tuesday, 2nd December 2008:
Test whether Najib will be PM for all
Malaysians - immediate and unconditional ISA release of Hindraf 5
I was interviewed by Australian Broadcasting
Corporation this morning on the recent BBC interview of Deputy Prime
Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak who said that he will do more to
address the grievances of minority groups when he becomes Prime Minister
Najib acknowledged that Malaysian voters
would want to see changes when he took office and that he needed to
regain the trust of non-Malays in particular.
He promised “further measures to tackle the problems of the ethnic
Indian minority” but “warned that the Hindu activist network, Hindraf,
which has organised large public protests, has complicated attempts to
tackle the problems of ethnic Indians”.
"I would like to separate the genuine
concerns and the concerns exploited by Hindraf, because some of their
demands are totally unrealistic.
"We cannot pander to those kind of demands,
but if they are legitimate grievances we will take steps to address
If Najib wants to be a Prime Minister for all
Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, he must admit that
while the Hindraf allegations of “ethnic cleansing” or genocide are
excessive, irresponsible and unfounded – and I had made this stand
openly in Parliament – the 30,000 Malaysian Indians from all over the
country who rallied peacefully to the Hindraf demonstration in Kuala
Lumpur on Nov. 25 last year were making a valid, justified and
legitimate “cry of desperation” for an end to the long-standing
marginalization of the Malaysian Indians into a new underclass in the
Regrettably, the Barisan Nasional government
refused to heed the “cry of desperation” of the Malaysian Indian
Instead of thanking Hindraf for the “wake-up” call to the Barisan
Nasional leadership to stop its marginalisation of the Malaysian
Indians, the five Hindraf leaders, P. Uthayakumar, now DAP Selangor
State Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah M. Manoharan, V. Ganabatirau, R.
Kenghadharan and T. Vasantha Kumar were detained without trial under the
infamous Internal Security Act (ISA) – egged on by MIC President Datuk
Seri S. Samy Vellu and the MIC leadership!
If Najib is now prepared to concede the legitimacy of the grievances of
the Malaysian Indians at their political, economic, educational and
social marginalisation in Malaysia, then the first thing that must be
done is the immediate and unconditional ISA releas of the Hindraf 5 from
the Kamunting Detention Centre and the immediate abandonment of the
mindset regarding the 30,000 people who supported the Hindraf
demonstration on November 25, 2007 as trouble-makers or even terrorists.
The Hindraf 5 would be reaching the full year of ISA detention on
There is no reason why the Hindraf 5 should mark their full year of ISA
detention in Kamunting and cannot be released before it.
Is Najib prepared to secure the release of the Hindraf 5 before December
13 or is all his talk in the BBC interview just sweet but empty words
and he is not prepared to “walk the talk” of taking the first step to
reach out to the marginalized Malaysian Indians followed by a
comprehensive programme to re-integrate them into the mainstream of
Kit Siang, DAP
Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor