Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Waytha: I'm ready to face charges

Did Hishamuddin Hussein and Syed Hamid Albar lie about Waythamoorthy's passport? The complete Story from "The Malaysain Heart"

SAD FAREWELL: A picture of Waythamoorthy and his daughter, taken after their breakfast in Singapore,
before he departed for UK yesterday (photo and caption from this Malay Mail report datelined 28/9/09)

One of the standard responses of Umno/BN to any people's power movement that they find threatening, is to to impugn the movements motives and cast aspersions on the honour and credibility of its leaders via lies and propaganda. The Hindraf phenomenon have been (and still are) treated the same: they have been called terrorists, traitors, embezzlers and so on by our government and its mouthpieces. One such smear was the attempt to paint Hindraf leader P. Waythamoorthy, who is in exile in the UK, as a dishonest man who exiled himself just to enjoy a comfortable life in London living on Hindraf's money. Part of that smear is the lie that Waythamoorthy had willingly surrendered his passport to the Malaysian High Commission in London, and lied about it having been revoked by the Malaysian authorities.

These are the news articles that reported what Syed Hamid Albar (the former home minister) and Hishamuddin Hussein (the present one), said:
These are some of the specific things they said:

Hishamuddin showing a copy of Waythamoorthy's passport to the media (photo from here).
Hishamuddin has said the following:
Reported here: "Dia sendiri yang datang serahkan dan bukan kita yang pergi rampas. Bahkan paspot itu masih lagi sah digunakan dan di dalam simpan pejabat Pesuruhjaya Tinggi kita di London," and added, "Beliau sewajarnya berhenti dari menuduh kita macam-macam...beliau boleh ke pejabat kita (Pesuruhjaya Tinggi Malaysia) untuk ambil paspot yang dipulangkan oleh beliau sendiri itu pada bila-bila masa. Mungkin beliau merasa malu sendiri" .
Reported here: “Yes, he was the one who surrendered the passport,” he [Hishamuddin] confirmed. He added that Waythamoorthy should stop claiming that the government is stopping him from getting his passport. “Why should we apologise to him? Would you? Of course, not,” he said. Hishammuddin also added that Waythamoorthy could be too ashamed to go and get his passport because he had surrendered the document himself. “Maybe he received a better offer at that moment, he felt that the grass is always greener on the other side but when he went to the other side, he felt that it was not worth it. "Maybe he was ashamed because he himself surrendered the passport. That is why he claimed that we did not allow him to have his passport,” he said.."

Syed Hamid Albar (photo from here)
Syed Hamid has said the following (reported here):
"In other words, the Malaysian government has never made any cancellation to the mentioned travel document," said Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar Syed Hamid in a statement today.
On 3 October 2009, Waytha's wife Mrs. Shanti, his brother P. Uthayakumar and lawyer N. Surendran held a press conference at Hindraf's office where they (again) presented evidence to prove that Malaysian authorities had informed the British authorities that Waythamoorthy's passport had been cancelled, and had requested them to impound and return it to the Malaysian authorities.

Here is the letter they gave reporters, which you can download in pdf format from the link below:

I reproduce here the 4 questions asked by Waytha's lawyers, and the answers received from the UK Border Agency:
1. The precise date when the British Embassy in Kuala Lumpur was notified of the cancellation?
A: The letter from the Malaysian authorities to the High Commission was dated 14 March 2008.

2. Which Malaysian authority notified the British Embassy (was it, for example, the Immigration authorities, Foreign Office or Home Ministry, or any other department)?
A: l can confirm that the Home Office does hold information that is relevant to this part of your request. However, we have decided not to communicate this information to you in accordance with the exemption under Section 27 (2) of the Freedom of Information (FOl) A[ct] 2000, which covers confidential information obtained from a State other than the United Kingdom or from an international organisation or international court. I have explained more about this exemption below.

3. Whether any particular reason was given for the said cancellation
A: The passport was cancelled as the Malaysian authorities were seeking your client’s arre[st] to face criminal charges.

4. When was the request made by the issuing authority for the return of the passport and was there any reason given for this request?
A: A request was made by the Malaysian authorities for the return of your client’s passport on 2 July 2008 no reason was given for why they wanted the passport returned to them, Malaysian passports are of the property of the issuing authority and not of the individual holder and therefore this is why we intend to return the passport to them.
Based on this and other evidence, we can draw a timeline of events surrounding the issue of Waytha's passport. I have emphasised our minister's statements in bold:
  • 25 November 2007 - Hindraf rally in KL
  • 28 November 2007 - Waythamoorthy leaves Malaysia to avoid possible detention under the Internal Security Act and to obtain international support for HINDRAF's cause. He goes to India, then to London.
  • 13 December 2007 - Uthayakumar and 4 others detained under ISA
  • 14 March 2008 - British High Commision in KL receives letter from Malaysian authorities, informing them that Waytha's passport had been cancelled because the Malaysian authorities were seeking Waytha's arrest to face criminal charges
  • 17 April 2008 - Waytha goes to Geneva to brief the United Nations High Commissioner’s office on Human Rights
  • 19 April 2008 - Waytha moorthy returned to London from Geneva (where he had ), but was and informed that the Malaysian government had revoked his passport, and therefore refused entry at Gatwick airport. Waytha asked the British authorities to seek a confirmation with the Malaysian government that my passport was, indeed, being revoked. Waytha spent 2 days at Gatwick.
  • 21 April 2008 - UK Border Agency British immigration confirmed that Waytha's passport was revoked by the Malaysian government, and they (UK Border Agency) impounded his passport upon the Malaysian authorities' request. It was only then that Waytha decided to seek political asylum, which was duly given by the British authorities.
  • 26 May 2008 - Malaysian Insider article: Syed Hamid: Hindraf chief's passport never revoked
  • 2 July 2008 - Malaysian authorities requested the British authorities (in writing) for the return of Waytha's passport to them.
  • 22 October 2008 - Bernama article: Hindraf Leader P. Waytha Moorthy's Passport Was Never Revoked: Syed Hamid
What are we to make of this? It seems to me that either the UK Border Agency is lying, or our ministers are. It's sad that some Malaysians have swallowed whole the disinformation and lies of Umno/BN, and parrot them in the online discussions and comments sections without question.

Malaysian Heart

P.S. The only news organisations (which I could find) had reported the press conference were:
Malaysiakini: Proof of lies, claims Waytha's lawyer
Malaysian Insider: Uthayakumar claims proof Hishammuddin lied

What happened to the others? What's the point of paying them RM 1.50 or RM 1.20 every day if they choose not to report the news that matters?