Not using kids for political mileage: Malaysian Indian lawmaker

December 22nd, 2008 - 1:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 22 (IANS) Fighting accusations that he had exploited children for political mileage, a Malaysian Indian lawmaker has said he would write to the Sultan of Selangor state to clarify that those who participated in his bicycle campaign had actually gained in exposure and experience. Opposition lawmaker D. Jeyakumar, who has been under attack for including below-18 children in the bicycle campaign organised by his Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit) from the northern and southern states to Kuala Lumpur, said: “Even my 15-year-old child was also involved in the campaign as the children could gain new experience about the world outside.”

He said the children had learnt about the lifestyle of the local communities in the areas they visited.

Jeyakumar said he believed that people had deliberately spread inaccurate information to the Sultan of Selangor, Sharqafuddin Idris Shah, that Jerit had exploited children for political mileage.

“I don’t know what was informed to Tuanku about the situation, so I will write a letter of explanation to Tuanku,” Jeyakumar he told Star online, The Star’s Malay news portal, Sunday.

“I think if Tuanku knows what actually happened, he will support it.”

Jeyakumar was responding to Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar’s remark that the Sultan had expressed regret that there were irresponsible parties exploiting children in their campaigns.

The government had taken a dim view of the minors’ participation and detained them overnight till their parents came to take them.

Using minors for political campaign is banned under law in Malaysia.

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