Monday, April 21, 2008

Pakatan Rakyat in joint motion to Abolish ISA

Pakatan MPs' joint motion to abolish ISA
Mkini- Athi Veeranggan Apr 21, 08 11:09am

The Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition will table a motion at forthcoming parliamentary sitting to demand for the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA).At the same time they will also be calling for the release of all ISA detainees, believed to be about 80 at present.Malaysiakini learnt that the Pakatan, which has 82 opposition MPs, will table the motion on the first day of the sitting on April 28. It is learnt a joint committee of Pakatan Rakyat is drafting the motion.

Parliamentary Opposition Leader and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is expected to table the motion, which would also include the demand for the immediate release of the five detained Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders.

In an immediate response, DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng declared his party’s undivided and unanimous support to the motion.“A detention without trial under the ISA law is against human rights, against liberty of individuals and against teachings of all religions.“DAP will also support a motion to abolish ISA and to secure an immediate release of all ISA detainees, including the Hindraf five,” he said, after speaking at a forum on ISA organised by the Makkal Sakti group in Penang on Saturday.Under the tough ISA law, a person can be detained without trial at the Kamunting Detention Centre near Taiping for a period of two years and more according to the discretion of the Home Ministry.The most recent detainees were the five Hindraf leaders - P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and T Vasanthakumar, all of whom were detained on Dec 13 last year for allegedly being a national threat.
Other famous names to have been detained under ISA previously were PKR de facto leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, DAP supreme and former opposition leader Lim Kit Siang and the party national chairman Karpal Singh. Guan Eng too has been an ISA detainee.

Denying an elected rep’s right

One of the Hindraf 5 - Manoharan - also won a state seat in Selangor for DAP in the March 8 general election while contesting as a detainee from Kamunting.DAP’s Bukit Gelugor MP and party chairperson Karpal Singh had noted that Manoharan’s victory was a clear message that the constituents in the state seat of Kota Alam Shah did not perceive him as a threat to the security of the state.
Lim said the continued detention of Manoharan was not right and against the aspiration of Kota Alam Shah constituents.Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, he said, should initiate the necessary steps to release Manoharan immediately to enable him to swear-in and take his rightful place in the Selangor state legislative assembly.By detaining, Manoharan had been denied the right to serve his constituents and vice-versa,” said the Penang Chief Minister.
He said the Pakatan Rakyat’s success in winning five state governments was an unambiguous signal to the federal government that the people were against ISA and other suppressive and oppressive laws in the country.Last month’s general election saw Pakatan Rakyat capturing Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Selangor and Perak.“People in these five states were clear in their opposition against ISA. The federal government, the prime minister and home minister should heed to the people’s demand“In their message, the electorates were unambiguous that they disliked oppressive, suppressive, abusive and undemocratic laws and orders,” said Lim.

Listen to the people

Penang Deputy Chief Minister Prof P Ramasamy told Makkal Sakti supporters at the forum that the DAP would exhaust all means and ways to secure the release of the Hindraf five soon."The DAP will surely raise the issue in the Parliament at first instance," he said.He said the federal government can no longer turn a blind eye and deaf ear to populist demand and people's wish.
He reminded Makkal Sakti supporters to remember the struggle of the Hindraf five, and also self-exiled Hindraf president P Waythamoorthy, for the minority community."Their struggle was a call for righteous, freedom, democracy and equality."The government must listen to the people and immediately release the Hindraf five without any condition," Ramasamy said.
This will be the first time five state governments in the country and the parliamentary opposition MPs have joined forces to unanimously support a motion to demanding the federal government to release ISA detainees and abolish the colonial act.