Monday, May 11, 2009

Mat Sabu supports Uthaya's 'no thanks' stance

Malaysiakini - Athi Veeranggan May 10, 09 5:46pm
PAS vice-president Mohamad Sabu supported P Uthayakumar stance not to thank the government for releasing him yesterday from ISA detention.

"Uthayakumar was right in not thanking the government for his release because firstly he should not have been detained under the ISA at all," said the Penang-born PAS leader, who was himself a former ISA detainee.

Mohamad, who is commonly known as Mat Sabu, said Uthayakumar, like other detainees, was not a criminal nor was he detained for any alleged infringement of the country's laws."He was detained without trial for political dissidence, not for crime, under a draconian law, which should be abolished."There was no necessity to arrest Uthayakumar and the others in the first place."Why should the detainees thank the government for violating human rights and individual liberties?"Uthayakumar was spot on not to thank the government," he told newsmen when opening the PAS Supporters Club, Penang branch convention in Sungai Dua on the mainland this afternoon.Also present were PAS national unity bureau chairperson and Parit Buntar parliamentarian Mujahid Yusof Rawa, the club national chairperson Hu Pang Chaw and Penang branch chairperson Dr Ooi Vellautham.

Uthayakumar and two other Hindraf men, lawyer and Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson M Manoharan and T Vasanthakumar were released together with 10 other detainees from the Kamunting Detention Camp yesterday afternoon.

ISA can be misused by government

Uthayakumar, the most famous Hindraf face, refused to thank the government for his release. Instead, he accused the government for taking away his liberty for 514 days.Hours after taking the reins in April, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had also ordered the release of two Hindraf leaders - V Ganabatirau and R Kengadharan, together with 10 other detainees.

Mat Sabu, who was twice held under ISA, each time for a two-year period between 1984 and 1986 and, 1987 and 1989, is for the abolition of ISA, pointing out that Malaysia aside, only Israel and Singapore were still enforcing the draconian law.He pointed out that all other countries, including the United States, have abolished their respective internal security laws, adding that it was timely to get rid of ISA, which can always become a current government's weapon to clamp down on political dissent."So long as ISA exists, the possibility is high for the government to misuse and abuse the law," he said, alleging that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had released all the Hindraf leaders not as a "genuine kind gesture", but a merely to avoid another by-election in Kota Alam Shah.Manoharan had threatened all week long to quit as state representative to allow Kota Alam Shah voters to vote someone who can better serve them."I don't think Najib can divert the public attention on the Perak crisis by releasing ISA detainees.

Umno wants to avoid another by-election
"He, Umno and Barisan Nasional don't want another by-election," he said, pointing out that BN was still undecided on whether to contest this month's Penanti by-election in Penang.On the Perak crisis, he said Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kader would have no choice but to dissolve the assembly and call for fresh state election."Perak and Malaysia can ill-afford another chaotic assembly session, which is sure to happen the next time," he stressed, adding that last week ugly incidents in Ipoh last Thursday had tarnished the country's image and undermined democracy. He likened the action by plainclothes policemen to haul out legitimate Perak Speaker Sivakumar as a disgrace and violation of the parliamentary democratic system and the rule of law.Mat Sabu was indeed arrested a day before while having breakfast with friends in Jalan Pahang in Kuala Lumpur apparently for inviting Muslims to join in the prayers seeking divine intervention to avert chaos in the Perak assembly sitting.He said the crisis had shaken investors' confidence and raised a big question mark on the legitimacy of BN Perak government."Investors want a legitimate and stable government, be it Pakatan or BN."The usurpation of power by BN has shook their confidence which can only be restored with a fresh state election," he said.

PAS Supporters Club has some 20,000 members across the country and the number is growing, which Mat Sabu said was a good sign that the party was being well-received by all Malaysians.He said the PAS top leadership was conducting a series of discussions now to upgrade and strengthen the role of club members within the party.He also brushed aside claims there was a conflict among the professionals and religious scholars (ulamas) in the party, blaming it on the Umno-owned media playing up the issue in the run-up to the PAS national election next month."It's not a surprise that the media play up this non-issue during each PAS election. PAS will accept any leader, whether professionals or ulamas so long as the person has the ability and capability to lead the party," said Mat Sabu.