Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Waytha wants to come home

father and daughter

SAD FAREWELL: A picture of Waythamoorthy and his daughter,taken after their breakfast in Singapore, before he departed for UK yesterday

SINGAPORE: P. Waythamoorthy, exiled in the United Kingdom, wants the Malaysian government to give him back his passport so he can come home and, if need be, face the music.

“I’m prepared to take responsibility for my actions. They can detain me under the ISA if they want to. But first, I want my passport back. And the government owes me an apology.”

Waythamoorthy said that he is not begging for his passport.

“What has been taken from me dishonourably must be returned to me in an honorable manner.”

Waythamoorthy holds Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, the former Home Minister, responsible for revoking his passport.

“The government owes me an apology. What they did to me on April 19 last year was the most humiliating thing in my life,” he said.

That day at Gatwick Airport in London, returning from a conference in Geneva, the British immigration authorities informed Waythamoorthy that the Malaysian government had revoked his passport.

“I could not believe it. In fact, I had to ask the British authorities to seek a confirmation with the Malaysian government that my passport was, indeed, being revoked.

“They did and two days later, on April 21, I was forced — because of the revocation and my stateless position
— to seek political asylum, which was duly given to me.”

Waytha is sore that the former Home Minister had continued to deny having revoked his passport.

He has written to the government to reinstate his passport “but the current government and the current Home Minister” have remained silent about it.

According to Amnesty International Director in Washington, Waythamoorthy was the first human rights lawyer to have his passport revoked while out of the country.

Waythamoorthy was in Singapore when he spoke to Malay Mail. He said he travels under the Geneva protocol now.

“I can go anywhere, including Israel, but I can’t return home to Malaysia.”

He spent nearly two weeks here when we secured the telephone interview. His family — wife, seven-year-old
daughter and his twin sister — had travelled from Malaysia to be with him in Singapore.

He left for London, where he is now based, yesterday, after seeing off his family to Malaysia.

Waythamoorthy also met P. Uthayakumar, another ringleader of the banned Hindraf, on Saturday night.

Uthayakumar was detained under the ISA for his role in a massive antigovernment demonstration in 2007
and a highly-provocative memorandum from Hindraf to the UK government alleging ethnic cleansing of Indians in Malaysia.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak released him and two other Hindraf leaders in May, a month after becoming Prime Minister.