Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in DAP PJ Hqrs on Tuesday, 12th May 2009 at 12 noon:
Hishammuddin should revoke all the conditions imposed on Manoharan and the other four Hindraf leaders on their ISA release as the Minister said they were no more a threat to the country
Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein should revoke all the conditions imposed on DAP Selangor State Assemblyman Kota Alam Shah and the other four Hindraf leaders, P. Uthayakumar, K. Vasanthakumar, Ganapathi Rao and R. Kenghadharan as Hishammuddin said yesterday that they were no more a threat to the country.
Hishammuddin said the government had tried to be fair by releasing them as they were no more a threat to the country, and that they should be fair in their actions in future.
If Manoharan, Uthayakumar, Vasanthakumar, Ganapathi Rao and Kenghadharan are “no more a threat to the country” in the eyes of the Home Minister, then why have restrictive, unjust, undemocratic and draconian conditions been imposed on the five, disenfranchising them as free and equal Malaysian citizens in barring them from speaking freely in public, taking part in political and NGO activities, and restricting both space and time as barring them from leaving their restricted locality, to be at home every night and requiring them to report regularly to the police?
The two cousins, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Hishammuddin should realise that they are nullifying all positive benefits to the government with the release of the five Hindraf leaders with such unacceptable conditions.
I have sent a fax asking for a meeting with Hishammuddin to ask him to revoke all the restrictive conditions imposed on the Hindraf five to give full effect to his statement that they are no more a threat to the country.
Hishammuddin should also not stand on formality to revoke the ban on Hindraf as an unlawful organisation, in wanting the organisation to make an appeal to the Home Ministry to reconsider its status.
The Home Ministry never gave Hindraf “show cause” or the right to be heard before slapping a ban on it. Why must Hishammuddin now impose the condition that Hindraf should submit an appeal for the the Home Ministry to reconsider the ban?
If the Home Ministry nows holds that the five Hindraf leaders are no more a threat to the country, surely the same judgment must apply to Hindraf!
In any event, wouldn’t any appeal by anyone in the name of Hindraf to the Home Ministry for the lifting of the ban be a violation of the Home Ministry ban on anyone acting on behalf of Hindraf?
The lifting of the ban on Hindraf will be one of the subjects I want to raise with Hishammuddin when we meet.
The time has come for the Barisan Nasional government not just to tinker with the problem of the marginalisation and alienation of the Malaysian Indians after 52 years of nationhood, but to address in a bold and imaginative manner with the root causes which have given rise to the Hindraf and Makkal Sakti phenomenon.
It is indeed sad and tragic that the Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and MIC - like their counterparts in MCA and Gerakan - had not learnt from the lessons of the political tsunami of the March 8 general election last year, or they would have raised in Cabinet and the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council concrete measures to address the long-standing political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious polarisation and alienation of the Malaysian Indians as to become a new underclass in Malaysia.
MIC leaders and Ministers, for instance, dare not even ask for the revocation of the restrictive ISA conditions imposed on Manoharan and the other four Hindaf leaders, the lifting of the ban on Hindraf, and the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the marginalisation of the Malaysian Indians – interested only in being a party to the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak so that Datuk R. Ganesan, who was defeated as a MIC State Assembly candidate in the last general election, could lay claim to be a usurper Perak Speaker for less than 72 hours!
Will the MIC dare to raise these three issues in the Cabinet meeting tomorrow – revoke all ISA restrictions, lift the ban on Hindraf and a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the marginalisation of the Malaysian Indians?
At the meeting with Hishammuddin, I propose to discuss also the grave problem of endemic crime, the government and police failure to perform their most fundamental duty – to ensure the safety of citizens, visitors and investors – and the alarming police disregard and disrespect for human rights in the first weeks of the Najib premiership.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor