Malaysian Indian legislator wants to be allowed to attend assembly

February 13th, 2009 - 10:04 pm ICT by IANS  

HindrafKuala Lumpur, Feb 13 (IANS) Jailed Malaysian Indian legislator M. Manoharan Friday said he will move court yet again to secure his right to sit in the assembly and raise issues concerning people who elected him last year.
He plans to file a habeas corpus appeal on the ground that since he was elected to the Selangor state assembly from Kota Alam Shah last year, he could not be considered a threat to national security.

“If I was chosen by the people even while I was being detained, how can I be a threat?” he said, adding that he was still passionate about serving the rakyat (people).

Manoharan has been detained along with four other leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf) for the past 14 months serving a two-year sentence for organising a protest rally in November 2007.

Hindraf claims to speak for Malaysia’s two million-strong Indian community, a bulk of which are Tamil Hindus who came here during the British era.

After it courted controversy for the rally that was declared illegal, the organisation itself was banned last year.

Filing habeas corpus appeals — all of which have been rejected so far — is part of the protest by Manoharan and his four colleagues — S. Kengadharan, P. Uthayakumar, Vasanth Kumar and Ganabati Rau.

All five are serving two year jail sentence under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA).

Manoharan said his wife was currently shouldering the responsibility of overseeing his constituency while he is under arrest.

He also hoped the authorities would allow him to attend the next state assembly seating on March 10 as he deserved the right to raise questions in the interest of the public as an assembly member.

His statement came after he had a brief meeting with his ailing daughter in a city hospital early Friday after the family informed the jail authorities about her health condition.

Shivranjani, 11, who is very close to Manoharan, was gasping for breath and was admitted to hospital after she learnt that her father’s habeas corpus petition had been rejected yet again by a court, Star Online said.

Manoharan arrived at the hospital accompanied by Special Branch officers and was allowed to meet the daughter for an hour.

“I was informed about my daughter after my wife (S. Pushpaneela) contacted the authorities at the Kamunting detention centre at about 10.30 p.m. on Thursday,” he said when met at the hospital’s paediatric ward.

“I did not sleep well at night as I was very worried about her,” added Manoharan, who made a get-well-soon card for Shivaranjini out of paper, flowers and a few feathers while in detention.

He said his daughter was very close to him and cried each time she had to say goodbye at the end of the family’s weekly visits to the Kamunting detention camp where he is being held.

“Last year in December, she came to the detention camp all by herself by bus just to visit me. I was shocked but very touched to see her,” said Manoharan.

Shivaranjini said she felt happy that her father met her but also sad because he still had to return to the camp.

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