Friday, October 10, 2008

Mkini- Hindraf Raya visit: 'Stop whining' said Charles Santiago

Oct 8, 08 11:47am

DAP parliamentarian Charles Santiago today called on political leaders to stop whining about Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders and supporters being present at the premier’s Hari Raya open house last week.

The opposition politician also found it amusing that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi - who holds the top job in the country - is disappointed that a group of people approached him to request for the release of the Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees during the open house."But when the prime minister laments that Hindraf supporters failed to shake hands and extend Hari Raya greetings to him and his cabinet colleagues, he sounds downright pathetic."Abdullah needs to understand that the action of Hindraf activists is part of the democratic process. He must also be educated that the chanting of slogans by Hindraf supporters is all about the freedom of expression, which is in short supply in Malaysia," he said in a statement today.

Santiago also took a swipe at MIC president S Samy Vellu who expressed concerned that the activists had undermined his efforts to secure the release of the ISA-detained Hindraf leaders."Instead of being an apologist for Abdullah and his government, Samy Vellu should gather enough courage to demand for the repeal of the ISA which allows for indefinite detention without trial, following the examples of MCA, Gerakan and the PPP," he said.

'Not an Indian issue'

Human Resources Minister and MIC secretary-general deputy minister Dr S Subramaniam had also irked the Klang MP by saying that the presence of Hindraf members at the open house went against Indian culture."This is an absolutely ridiculous assertion, more so as it comes from a smart man like Subramaniam. Since when does fighting for basic rights and liberties violate any culture?" he asked.

Santiago then turned his attention to independent MP Ibrahim Ali, who had threatened to protest over the Hindraf visit."Maybe he does not realise that resorting to the ancient tactic of racial politics has no place in Malaysia anymore."I urge Ibrahim to stop seeing the detention of Hindraf leaders as an Indian issue but a Malaysian one and request Muslim groups not to regard the attendance of Hindraf members at the open house as a sign of disrespect to Muslims," he said."

Let's not start twisting the real issues and fashion them to instigate racial problems in the country. The ISA is way off its expiry date and redundant in a modern democracy. "But the ruling government uses it as an easy tool to create a climate of fear and head off threats to its leadership," he added.