The signs are getting clearer by the days: to avoid by-elections BN government is doing all it `can’ to save itself from certain humiliation. So : what is `wrong’ according to the above script if the SPRM found `insufficient evidence’ to charge the ex-Penang Deputy CM? What is `wrong’ to now release all the remaining 3 Hindraf leaders-and throw in some questionable characters also caught in the jail?
Hindraf trio, 10 others freed from ISA
PUTRAJAYA, May 8 — The remaining three Hindraf leaders and 10 others are to be freed from detention under the Internal Security Act in the next few days but Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein declined to give reasons for the release.
The three Hindraf leaders are P. Uthayakumar, T. Vasanthakumar and Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M. Manoharan. Two others were among 13 freed when Datuk Seri Najib Razak became prime minister on April 3.
“I will be signing the papers now,” Hishammuddin told a specially-arranged press conference, adding they “no longer needed to be held”.
Apart from the three Hindraf leaders freed, the others are three Malaysians, two Indonesians and five Filipinos.
Manoharan last week threatened to quit his seat which he won in the last election despite being held in the Kamunting Detention Centre.
The five Hindraf leaders were detained in December 2007 after mounting a massive street protest on Nov 25 which saw tens of thousands of Indians taking to the streets in Kuala Lumpur.
In an immediate reaction to the announcement, PKR’s Kapar MP S. Manickavasagam said he is happy with the decision.
“I feel that what had happened in Perak has placed the BN government in bad light so this is the right time for them to make the announcement. However I hope that the release of the Hindraf leaders would be an unconditional one,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
However, he believed the home minister would not release them with political conditions as Uthayakumar would not agree to it and would prefer to stay in Kamunting than cave in to demands made by the BN government.
When asked if he thought that the release would shift the support of the Indian community back to MIC, Manickavasagam said that is most unlikely to happen as the spirit to fight for justice is still strong within the community.
MIC Youth, in a statement today, said it welcomed the home minister’s announcement and thanked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
It said the release would help the party, which has lost the support of the majority of the Indian community, to regain their trust.
“We sincerely hope that the Indians would return en masse to support MIC, the sole Indian representative in the Barisan Nasional coalition,” it said, adding that MIC Youth would now go the ground to promote the efforts of the Najib administration which, it claims, has been proactive to the needs of the Indian community.
Former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, a vocal critic of the ISA, said he was very pleased with the government’s decision and congratulated Hishammuddin.
“And I hope that there will be more releases and, of course, I also hope that there will be no more arrests in the future,” he said.
Although the timing of the decision, in the heat of the political upheaval in Perak, would appear to many as being politicially motivated, Zaid says he does not care.
“It may be but I don’t really care. I am pleased by this decision,” he said.
Full list of soon-to-be-released ISA detainees
1. Zulkepli Marzuki
2. Jeknal Adil
3. Azmi Pindatun
4. P. Uthayakumar
5. M. Manoharan
6. T. Vasanthakumar
7. Zainun Rasyhid
8. Aboud Ghafar Ismail
9. Sufian Salih
10. Hasim Talib
11. Abdul Jamal Azahari
12. Yusof Mohd Salam
13. Husin Alih