Jailed Hindraf legislator cannot be released

March 29th, 2008 - 12:51 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, March 29 (IANS) Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader M. Manoharan who is being detained under the Internal Security Act cannot be released although he won the Kota Alam Shah assembly seat in the general election held March 8, Malaysian Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar has said. “We cannot simply react to political parties’ calls. We have to give priority to public safety and peace and will give due consideration (to the issue of his release) only if there is no threat to national security,” he was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper Saturday.

Manoharan will not be able to attend state assembly sessions while under detention.

He can, however, take oath as a state assemblyman at the detention camp as this had been done in the past, Albar said.

Chian Heng Kai and Chan Kok Kit, who won the Batu Gajah and Sungai Besi parliamentary seats respectively on a Democratic Action Party (DAP) ticket, took oath in the presence of the Dewan Rakyat (parliament) speaker and secretary, and camp authorities in 1978, he said.

Manoharan, along with P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, K. Vasantha Kumar and R. Kengadharan, is being detained for two years on charges of sedition for being part of Hindraf.

An unregistered body, Hindraf, claiming to speak for two million Tamil Hindu settlers, courted controversy after it organised a rally here Nov 25, 2007 to highlight the problems faced by ethnic Indians. Police forcibly dispersed the rally using water cannons and the group’s leaders were arrested.

Albar said an advisory board comprising judicial and legal officers would review their detention.

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