Speech (2) by Lim Kit Siang at the DAP Public Forum at Hotel Excelsior, Ipoh on Saturday, 2nd May 2009:
Call on Najib to immediately and unconditionally release the three Hindraf leaders, Manoharan, Uthayakumar and Vasanthakumar under ISA detention or his slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” will swiftly be reduced to a joke
DAP Selangor State Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah M. Manoharan is considering resigning his seat as he feels guilty at being unable to serve his voters from Kamunting Detention Centre, where he had been incarcerated for the past 17 months.
I can understand Manoharan’s deep frustrations, helplessness and burning sense of injustice, as he is a victim of the draconian and tyrannical Internal Security Act and deprived of his personal liberty not for any crime he had committed but for his mission to uplift the Indians from the “new underclass” in Malaysia to take their rightful and equal place under the Malaysian sun.
Furthermore, he is prevented from serving the voters of Kota Alam Shah who had elected him as their State Assemblyman in the past 14 months, although he had tried and exhausted all avenues to seek release from ISA detention, making three habeas corpus applications, barrage of letters to the powers-that-be (to former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, thrice to now Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and eigth times to former Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, two letters to the Sultan of Selangor), as well as attending the meetings of the ISA advisory board – all to no purpose.
When he became Prime Minister exactly a month ago, he announced to the nation that he would start on a new page on the country’s draconian laws, particularly the ISA. Why were only two of the five Hindraf leaders, R. Kenghadharan and V. Ganabatirau released, and under the most restrictive and undemocratic conditions?
Clearly, the release of Kenghadharan and Ganabatirau was not because there was a change of heart on the part of the Prime Minister that the grievances raised by Hindraf were legitimate and long-outstanding, and that draconian laws like the ISA should be phased out, but mere public relations gambits to give the new Prime Minister a good public image.
I call on Najib to immediately and unconditionally release the three Hindraf leaders, Manoharan, P. Uthayakumar and T. Vasanthakumar under ISA detention or his slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” will be swiftly be reduced to a joke.
What credibility, for instance, can Najib’s slogan of “1Malaysia. People First” command among the marginalised Indian community when their spokesmen, the three Hindraf leaders, continue to be in unjust and wrongful detention under the Internal Security Act?
Equally important, what have been done in the past 14 months since the political tsunami of the March 8 general election last year by the Barisan Nasional federal government to address the long-standing political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious grievances of the Indian community which had given birth to the remarkable Makkal Sakti phenomenon?
In the past 14 months, Pakatan Rakyat state governments scored new breakthroughs for the Malaysian Indians when an Indian was appointed Deputy Chief Minister in Penang and another Indian made the Speaker in Perak – appointments which the MIC dared not even dream of asking in 52 years of “power sharing” since Merdeka, despite claiming to be the third most important political party in the Barisan Nasional!
Today’s MIC is a great shame and sham. In Perak, for instance, MIC could only think of how to benefit from the breakthrough achieved by Pakatan Rakyat state government, which is why the only thing which concerns Perak MIC now is to get former MIC Sungkai assemblyman Datuk R. Ganesan to be the new Perak State Assembly Speaker to replace V. Sivakumar.
Perak MIC also dare not speak up and dissociate itself from the administration of usurper Perak Mentri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir and his exco which is going against the Cabinet ruling on the unilateral Islamic conversion of Indira Ghandi’s three children, even preventing Indira getting back her year-old baby daughter Prasana Diksa despite the Ipoh High Court interim custody order in favour of the mother.
If the MIC is a principled and honourable political party, its leaders should take a courageous political stand that the most honourable solution to resolve the Perak constitutional and political crisis is to dissolve the Perak State Assembly and to hold new state-wide general election.
But then, MIC leaders in Perak and Malaysia know that all the MIC candidates in such a new general election will be totally wiped out!
Manoharan has said that he will decide whether to resign from the Kota Alam Shah after his meeting with DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh on May 19.
Monoharan must weigh all the pros and cons of the issue, in particular to balance his deep sense of frustration with the public hopes and expectations when the voters elected him knowing that he was and will continue under incarceration, when making the decision as to whether there is going to be a seventh by-election after the March general election last year.
I assure S. Pushpaneela that I will give full support whatever final decision Manoharan takes on whether to resign from the Selangor State Assembly.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor