Andrew Ong | Oct 25, 08 3:06pm
PAS is sympathetic with the plight of 10 individuals who were arrested while attempting to deliver a letter to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Thursday, its vice-president Husam Musa said.
“I came from Kelantan today to express our sympathy to our fellow Malaysians who have been bullied by the Barisan Nasional government,” he said.
Husam said this when meeting family and friends of the 10 individuals who have been remanded until Sunday at the Putrajaya district police headquarters.
The 10 were arrested while accompanying six-year old W Vwashnnavi, the daughter of Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy, and her mother K Shanti to the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya.
Vwashnnavi’s letter was an invitation for Abdullah to visit the family’s Deepavali open house which also called for the release of all Internal Security Act detainees.
Asked to elaborate on his “bully” remark, Husam said the government had used the authorities to suppress legitimate grievances by a marginalised community instead of understanding the issues raised.
“This will hurt the feelings of the Indian community,” he said.
Commenting on Hindraf’s objectives, Husam said there was a need for “social re-engineering”, without reviewing the social contract, to resolve the woes of the Indian community such as in areas of education, welfare and business.
Accompanying Husam was PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub who said that the government was wrongly portraying Hindraf and its supporters as anti-Malay and anti-Islam.
“The leaders in PAS, DAP and PKR will fight against this,” he said, to cheers from family members and supporters.
Hindraf came to prominence last year after the group had protested heavily against the demolition of Hindu temples, particularly in Selangor.
Following a mass demonstration of some 30,000 people on Nov 25 last year, five of the group’s top leaders were detained for two years under the ISA, while Waythamoorthy went into self-exile in London.
On Oct 15, the Home Ministry declared Hindraf illegal. The 10 who were arrested on Thursday are being investigated under Section 48 of the Societies Act for participating in an unlawful organisation.
Husam hoped that the authorities would free the 10 detainees todayso as to enable them to celebrate Deepavali on Monday.
“I hope they are released immediately as a good gesture ... we should show respect (for religious customs),” he added.
Husam also attempted to visit the 10 detainees but was denied permission by the police, much to the disappointment and disapproval of those present.
Following this, Husam brought some festive cheers when he presented RM5,000 cash donation to the families of the 10 detainees for Deepavali.
He said that the money was contributed by Kelantan PAS.