Malaysia rejects plea to release detained Hindu leaders

April 1st, 2008 - 4:54 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, April 1 (IANS) The Malaysian government has rebuffed former minister S. Samy Vellu’s plea for the release of the five detained Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders, with Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar saying the decision “will not be swayed by emotions and sentiments”. Reacting even before Vellu, the senior-most Indian origin politician and chief of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), had formally approached him, Albar said Monday that he would go by “the best interests of the country’s internal security”.

“The decision will not be swayed by emotions and sentiments but solely be decided in the best interest of the country’s internal security,” The Sun newspaper quoted him as saying.

Referring to Vellu’s Sunday call to release the five ethnic Indian leaders, Albar said it was Samy’s “right to make any request he wishes”.

“My job is to ensure what is best for the country and that public order is not compromised in any way.”

“As the MIC’s leader, he (Samy) has the right to raise the matter, maybe if I was in his position I would do the same thing,” he said.

Vellu had said that he would seek help from Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to secure the freedom of Hindraf leaders - P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, M. Manoharan, T. Vasantha Kumar and R. Kengadharan - as he felt sympathetic and wanted fair treatment for them.

The five have been held for two years under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA).

Vellu has pointed out that Kengadharan has been seriously sick and Manoharan has been elected from a seat in Selangore state.

The other three had not played a major role in organising a protest rally Nov 25 last year, after which the government booked them on charge of sedition.

Hindraf claims to speak for the Tamil Hindus who form a bulk of Malaysia’s 2.5 million Indian settlers.

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