Dewan Rakyat rejects 'hypothetical' question Mikini- Fauwaz Abdul Aziz Jun 25, 08 3:53pm
An attempt to seek clarification on the status of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) chairperson P Waytha Moorthy has not even made it into the Dewan Rakyat Order Sheet.
Tian Chua (PKR-Batu) said the House secretary told him in a letter yesterday that the question had been rejected under Standing Order 23(1)(h) - on grounds that it is ‘hypothetical’.The provision states that ‘a question shall not be asked for the purpose of obtaining an expression of opinion or settlement of an abstract legal case or an answer to a hypothetical proposition’.
Disclosing this today, Chua (left) said he had submitted a question for Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar as to whether Waytha Moorthy - currently in self-imposed exile in the UK - would be arrested upon returning home and, if so, under which provision of law.Chua said that, as a citizen, Waytha Moorthy (left) has the right to know whether he will be allowed to return to his country without facing arrest.“His fellow Hindraf leaders have been detained under the (Internal Security Act) ISA and have not been released despite there being no evidence to show that they pose a threat to national security,” Chua told reporters in the Parliament lobby.
Chua was referring to the arrest of five Hindraf leaders last December after a mammoth rally in Kuala Lumpur that saw about 30,000 Indian Malaysians protesting social, economic and religious discrimination and marginalisation.
He cited the release of Sri Lankan national BSA Tahir last week after a four-year detention under ISA despite having been tagged as being involved in “international terrorism”.Chua said the situation of Waytha Moorthy similarly reflects the government’s lack of transparency and accountability.“I think this is not fair and casts a dark shadow over citizens,” he said.“I call on the home minister to give a clear answer as to whether Waytha Moorthy is regarded as a criminal or not.
Citizens have no guarantee that they are able to return to Malaysia. This is a violation of human rights.” Also present was S Manikavasagam (PKR-Kapar), who said the government’s charge that the Hindraf 5 were connected to the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Elam separatists had yet to be backed by any evidence.
Setapak temple in fear of demolition Mikini- K Kabilan Jun 25, 08 5:42pm
Residents in Air Panas, Setapak in Kuala Lumpur are worried that their 40-year-old Hindu temple would be demolished by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to make way for development project.
The deadline given by the DBKL for the temple to relocate expired today and despite their appeals to be allowed to remain there, the residents now fear that they are going to lose the temple.This morning about 50 residents, with several well-wishers, had gathered at the temple to ward off any attempts by the DBKL to demolish the Kuil Sri Manival Periaana Periasamy Alayam.
However in place of DBKL workers and bulldozers, they were visited by Deputy Federal Territories Minister M Saravanan who gave them his assurance that the temple would not be demolished."But what I want to know is can we trust him," asked temple owner S Muthuraman .
He added that he was shocked to receive a letter from DBKL on June 18, asking him to relocate the temple by today.He said that the letter merely said that the temple was obstructing a neighbourhood development project earmarked for the area and thus should be relocated."They said that this temple was an illegal structure and should be torn down. They did not offer an alternate place or any other options to me," he told Malaysiakini.
Want written assurance
Lawyer Vinod Kumar Sharma, who is representing the residents and devotees, said that while they were happy with Saravanan's assurance, they nevertheless would want some written guarantee."We want it in black and white that the temple will not be demolished. It can come from the DBKL or the government or anyone else in authority," he said.He added that the wanted a written guarantee so that "the person who eventually replaces Saravanan need not have the burden of carrying present deputy minister's assurances".He also pointed out that the decision by the DBKL to tear down temples ran contrary to promises given by the Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi before the March 8 general election."He had said that no more Hindu temples will be demolished in this country. But now, in the past two weeks alone, about two to three temples have been torn down in Kuala Lumpur alone," he said.Ad-hoc committee
Meanwhile Ramachandran Ramaji, representing Hindu Rights Action Force, questioned as to what had happened to a special committee set up by DBKL on Hindu temples."This committee consisted of DBKL officers, the Malaysia Hindu Sangam and several temple committees and was tasked to look into temples in KL," he said."DBKL would approach this committee when it wants to tear down a temple and the committee is tasked in making the process smooth."However since the general election, the committee has not met. I am wondering if it is still in existence," added Ramachandran.He said that he was forming an ad-hoc committee for all KL temples and temples facing demolition threats should be in touch with him.
A Dublin-based human right organisation today pressured the government to immediately release the five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders from their Internal Security Act detention. The movement, Front Line, believed that the five were being detained without any trial "solely on account of their legitimate human rights activities".
The five - P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, V Ganapathy Rao, T Vasanthakumar and R Kengatharan - were detained on Dec 13 over their involvement in Hindraf in raising issues affecting the Indian community.They were immediately sent to the Kamunting detention centre in Taiping to undergo a two-year detention."We believe the five have been targeted as a result of their legitimate work in the defence of human rights, in particular their work defending the rights of the ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia," added the organisation.
Front Line raised these concerns in a letter written yesterday by its director Mary Lawlor to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizam Zainal Abidin. Lawlor also said that the king should urge the government to accord immediate treatment to Uthayakumar who is a diabetic patient."His condition required that he take medication daily to control his blood sugar levels," she said.
Give Uthayakumar his treatment
Lawlor added that although Uthayakumar's family members were first allowed to supply his medication, this practice however ended since February this year with the prison authorities refusing to accept the medication."Furthermore the authorities did not provide Uthayakumar with any alternative medicine despite repeated formal requests," she said."Front Line is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of the five, in particular Uthayakumar," added Lawlor.
She urged the authorities to ensure that Uthayakumar was supplied with all required medication for his condition and medical attention as needed. Front Line also wanted the government to guarantee that in all circumstance all human rights defenders in Malaysia would be allowed to carry their activities without fear of reprisals.
The rally's estimated to be 100 000 people gathered outside the Petronas Twin Towers at midnight, early Sunday morning.At least 240 people were detained, but half of them were later released. One day before the rally, police arrested three HINDRAF lawyers, P. Uthayakumar, P. Waytha Moorthy and V. Ganabatirau for sedition charges. Uthayakumar and Ganabatirau posted bail of 800 Malaysian ringgits each, but Waytha Moorthy refused bail as a sign of protest.