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  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 points:

"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 action.

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.


* Lim Kit Siang, MP for Ipoh Timor & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

 
 

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