Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 21st March 2008:
Immediate and unconditional release the five Hindraf leaders from ISA
detention as proof that Abdullah has "heard the voices" of Malaysians to
start the process of "national healing" after the political tsunami of
the March 8 general election
Two days after the political tsunami of the March 8 general election,
the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in an op-ed article
in Asian Wall Street Journal (March 11, 2008), entitled "Malaysia
will heal her divisions", pledged:
"As there has been much speculation about the implications of our
election results, I wish to offer clarity on three critically important
"First, we have heard the voice of our citizens, and I will dedicate
myself, in this second term, to healing the divisions which became
evident during the campaign. That will mean developing new and concrete
initiatives, not just rhetoric, that bring our people together and
ensure that no one is left behind as Malaysia prospers, whether they are
ethnic Malays, Chinese or Indians."
Abdullah is right. The Prime Minister's fatal mistake in his first
administration was that his many sweet-sounding pledges which created
the feel-good euphoria resulting in his unprecedented landslide victory
of over 91 per cent parliamentary seats in the 2004 general election
were pure rhetoric but not backed up with any significant or meaningful
Is it going to be rhetoric and more rhetoric in his second premiership
or is Abdullah going to start implementing his many pledges of reform of
the past four years?
One immediate test faced by Abdullah as to whether he is starting to
genuinely listen to the people to start the process of "national
healing" after the political tsunami of the March 8 general election is
the continued unjust, arbitrary and undemocratic detention of the DAP
Selangor State Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah M. Manoharan and the other
four Hindraf leaders P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, R. Kenghadharan and
T. Vasantha Kumar under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for spearheading
a national campaign against the marginalization of the Malaysian Indians
causing them to become a new underclass in Malaysia.
Is Abdullah prepared to order the immediate and unconditional release on
the Hindraf Five from Kamunting Detention Centre and involve them in the
process of "national healing" to end the marginalization of all
Malaysian ethnic groups – whether Indians, Malays, Chinese, Kadazans,
Ibans or Orang Asli?
If Abdullah had "heard the voices of our citizens", he would have known
that one important reason for the political tsunami of March 8 and
Barisan Nasional's electoral debacle which saw its vote among the
Malaysian Indians slumped by some 35 per cent from 82 per cent to 47 per
cent, and the MIC virtually wiped out in Parliament and the state
assemblies, is the long-standing political, economic, educational,
social, cultural and religious marginalization of the Malaysian Indians
which has given birth to the Hindraf and "Makkal Sakti" phenomena.
Why hasn't Abdullah taken instant action in the past 13 days to
immediately and unconditionally release the Hindraf Five from ISA
detention to demonstrate that the Prime Minister has truly started to
hear the "voices of our citizens"?
If Abdullah has not yet "heard the voices of the citizens" in the
political tsunami of the March 8 general election, then all the other
Cabinet Ministers, regardless of race, religion or political party,
should demonstrate at the first Cabinet meeting on Wednesday that they
have "heard the voices of the citizens" and adopt a Cabinet resolution
to urge Abdullah to hear the voices of Malaysians in the political
tsunami of March 8 to immediately and unconditionally release the
Hindraf Five under ISA to start the process of "national healing" after
the 12th general election.
I will write an urgent letter to Abdullah before the first Cabinet
meeting next Wednesday to urge on the Prime Minister to waste not
another day for the immediate and unconditional release of the Hindraf
Five from ISA detention.
Kit Siang, MP for Ipoh Timor & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman