Tuesday, May 27, 2008

S'gor to aid ISA families

Mkini - May 26, 08 6:54pm
The Selangor government will provide financial and welfare assistance to families of those held under the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows detention without trial.
MCPXMenteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim said these measures would be taken up by the state government to help the wives and children of these detainees to ease their burden during the difficult period.He added that his government will look into bearing the travelling costs for families to visit the detention camp every week.At the same time, he said that children of the detainees may apply for state government scholarships to further their studies.

The wives too will be encouraged to look into various ways to become involved in businesses to help them earn a living, he said."Life can be difficult for them but they must continue to fight," he said after receiving a memorandum from the Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) today.

DAP state assemblyperson M Manoharan is one of about 70 ISA detainees being held presently at the Kamunting detention centre.Manoharan was detained last December along with four other Hindu Rights Action Force leaders for allegedly being a national threat.He contested for the Kota Alam Shah state seat in the March 8 general election and won comfortably.

Motion against ISA

Meanwhile in the state assembly, Kampung Tunku state representative and Selangor DAP secretary Lau Weng San today moved a motion for the release of Manoharan and all other ISA detainees.He cited several reasons for Manoharan to be released immediately, among others that he won the Kota Alam Shah state seat with a big majority of 7,184 votes even though he was not present during campaigning and polling day due to his detention."This was not just a big win for him or DAP but it was also a slap in the face for the federal government who had detained him without trail," he said in his speech in the assembly.Lau said that Manoharan had merely highlighted the issues affecting the Indian community and was never a threat to the national security."He should be released immediately so that he can function as a state representative, " he said, adding that it was unfair for the people of Kota Alam Shah not to have their representative around to raise their issues.Lau also said that the reasons cited by the government for the detention of Manoharan and four other Hindraf leaders were weak.

Protest by Indian group

Earlier Khalid also said that the state government shared GMI's views on the abolition of the ISA as well as the Official Secrets Act. GMI chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said some of the detainees were being held since 2002."Six years is not a short period - these sole breadwinners have lost their jobs and their children are suffering the consequences."There are also two detainees whose wives have sought divorce because of the long detention," he added.Meanwhile, a group of Indian protested at the Selangor state secretariat in Shah Alam to express their disappointment with the failures of the state government in fulfilling election pledges.The group, numbering about 80 and calling themselves Selangor Indian Community, handed a memorandum covering 13 issues to the office of Khalid.They want the appointment of another Indian representative in the state executive council, at least six Indian representatives in each local council, and an Indian mayor for either the Shah Alam or Petaling Jaya city councils.The group also asked that at least 25 percent of positions in the state government be allocated to Indians.