Saturday, October 25, 2008
(by Nathaniel Tan,jelas.info)I was pretty angry to read about the arrest of the delegation to the PM’s office earlier today.
The arrest of a group that included an 11 year old child is infruriating enough.
Once again, the simple question was: were these guys doing anything rowdy? Illegal? Threatening national security?
All they wanted to do was give a letter to the PM. That’s all.
Was it a letter threatening violence? Sending ill will?
Contacted on her handphone while waiting for police to record her statement, Shanti said the group had attempted to submit a handwritten letter calling on Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to release all those detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) .
“The appeal letter (in Vwaishhnnavi’s handwriting) asked the prime minister to release her uncle, (and other Hindraf leaders as well as) RPK (blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, among other ISA detainees,” said Shanti.
“She said that Deepavali would not mean anything to her and all Malaysians, if they are not released.”
Shanti said the letter also included a invitation for Abdullah to attend the family’s ‘open house’ in conjunction with Deepavali.
“(Vwaishhnnavi) wrote that she would be waiting with flowers and cakes,” she added.
A small group of 11, with a letter of appeal, and invitation to flowers and cakes.
The response? Arrests.
This government has got to go.
ps- and while millions of Malaysian Indians are facing real problems, the lovable Wong Chun Wai choses to blog about Mahathir and Shah Rukh Khan, sigh..
PUTRAJAYA: The action against the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) should not be construed as a clampdown on Indians or Hinduism by the government, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.
He said the action taken so far against the outlawed movement was simply because of their association with militancy and their extremist views.
"We are very clear on this and I don't offer any apologies for taking action in order to protect the peace, security and harmony of the country," he said when commenting on the arrest of the 10 Hindraf supporters who had turned up outside the prime minister's office yesterday.
On another matter, Hamid said it was the British authorities who had seized the passport of Hindraf chairperson P Waytha Moorthy, who is currently in self-imposed exile in London.
Speaking at his ministry's Hari Raya Aidilfitri gathering yesterday, Hamid said they had seized the passport in London upon Waytha Moorthy's return from an overseas trip and then sent it to the Malaysian High Commission.
"I have given the instruction for the passport to be returned to him. The travel document was never cancelled. It expires in 2010."
Asked why the passport was seized, he said the British authorities did so based on its police-to-police network information, which showed that Waytha Moorthy was under investigation and had charges levelled against him.
Hamid also lambasted Waytha Moorthy for labeling him a "racist, extremist and liar" in response to the minister's justification in banning Hindraf.
"I cannot be a racist as in my family there are Indians, Chinese and Malays."- nst
PUTRAJAYA: The 10 supporters of the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) who were arrested for gathering outside the prime minister's office on Thursday face a maximum five years' imprisonment if convicted under the Societies Act 1966.
Under Section 48 of the Act, those convicted could also be slapped with a maximum fine of RM15,000.
The 10 were produced yesterday before magistrate Nurdiana Mohd Nazir who allowed police to detain them up to tomorrow to carry out investigations.
Earlier, investigating officer ASP Rajali Agong applied to the court for a 14-day remand order to enable police to find out the motives of the assembly and who the organisers were.
However, counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad informed the court that amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code only allowed a magistrate to allow a maximum seven-day detention if the offence investigated was punishable with a jail term of up to 14 years.
Amer, instead, applied that they be freed on police bail pending investigation.
He also argued that the 10 be released on bail as Deepavali was on Monday.
During the remand hearing, one of the female detainees fainted while explaining the conditions of the lock-up to the magistrate. She was rushed to Putrajaya Hospital.
N. Surendran, a lawyer who appeared with Amer, said the detainee was a diabetic and her legs had swollen as she had been unable to obtain insulin since her detention.
Another male detainee, was also admitted to Putrajaya Hospital on Thursday night, due to medical complications.
Surendran said the 10 detainees and a six-year-old girl had gone to the prime minister's office to hand over a memorandum, seeking the release of all Internal Security Act detainees and to invite Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to their Deepavali open house.
Police released the girl last night but she chose to remain with her mother who was also detained.
The girl was handed over to a family member outside the court.- nst
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 —Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has said he is ready to dismantle a decades-old policy favouring Malays, marking a significant change from the government's staunch defence of the policy in the past.
A close aide to Najib, however, told The Straits Times that the Deputy Premier had said there would be a “gradual liberalisation of some of the elements of NEP”, and not the entire programme.
This could take place in the “not-too-distant future”, Najib had earlier said of the New Economic Policy (NEP) set up in 1971 by his father, Tun Abdul Razak, the then-premier, to help the country's Malays.
His remarks appear to be aimed at appeasing disgruntled non-Malays as well as disillusioned Malay youth who say the NEP serves only the interests of a select few, say observers.
“If we do not change, the people will change us. In the not-too-distant future, we will see all the elements of the New Economic Policy being replaced,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg.
The policy favours ethnic Malays and indigenous groups, or Bumiputeras, in public offerings, housing, government scholarships, procurement and employment. It has repeatedly drawn criticism from non-Malays, who complain it has led to distortions in the economy and cronyism.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had also capitalised on unhappiness with the NEP while pushing his multiracial platform — which contributed to his coalition's surprise victory in the March polls — and said he would scrap it if he seizes power.
With his latest comments, Najib — who is slated to take over from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi in March — is beginning to sound like Anwar. His remarks could be part of Umno's efforts to stem a slide in support, which saw it suffering major losses at the polls.
Some analysts remained sceptical, however, over Umno's readiness to give up the NEP, noting that it has helped many of its members.
James Chin, political science lecturer at the Monash University Malaysia Campus, said Najib was simply making the right noises to impress the non-Malay electorate as well as the global business community.
“Najib's statement was aimed at the business community. He understands that with the financial crisis the world is facing, Malaysia has to reform, especially on its NEP in order to attract new foreign direct investment,” he told The Straits Times.
“‘Not-too-distant future’ can mean any time between now and 100 years.”
Najib yesterday was also quoted as saying it was time for Umno leaders to conduct themselves in such a way that they would appeal to a wider audience, if they wanted to stay in power.
He was responding to former deputy premier Tun Musa Hitam's stinging criticism this week that the party was “too introverted” and suffering from old-age sickness.
Another Umno politician who is now whistling a different tune is Khairy Jamaluddin, the 32-year-old son-in-law of Abdullah. A year ago, he was taking the ultra-Malay approach of many politicians but now he is all for multiracial politics.
“The level of multi-ethnic camaraderie within BN is still lacking. It is as though we come together only for electoral purposes because we are part of this pact, the same coalition,” he said in an interview published in The Sun yesterday.
“There is no genuine feeling of a shared destiny, of a common future. That's something we have to change and I feel very strongly about that.”
But critics say the change could be too little, too late to save Khairy's reputation.
Even within Umno, he is struggling to garner nominations in the race with Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, son of former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, for the post of chief of Umno Youth. — Straits Times
PUTRAJAYA, Oct 24 - A group of opposition lawmakers today submitted a petition to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi at his office here as part of an effort to have a Parliamentary debate of the controversial Internal Security Act (ISA).
MP for Selayang William Leong told The Malaysian Insider: "We want a motion to debate the ISA. We are not asking even for a review or for it to be repealed, but to allow the matter to be debated in Parliament."
He explained that this was because Parliament was the "right place" to bring up the law that allows for detentions without trials.
Leong noted that the motion to debate the ISA had first been mooted since the first sitting of Parliament after the March general elections by Teresa Kok, the MP for Seputeh who herself had been detained under the Act for a week last month.
However, the motion has been stagnating as the Speaker for the Dewan Rakyat has not allowed its debate.
Leong called on Abdullah "as a defender of democracy and human rights" to fulfil his promise to "liberalise the country's democracy" before his tenure as prime minister ends in March next year.
The petition bears the signatures of 85 out of the 222 MPs, with 81 from the triparte Pakatan Rakyat, the three independent MPs and one from Barisan Nasional.
Leong explained that they had only approached "20-something " MPs from the government coalition so far and would be mounting another session to persuade them soon.
None of the MPs were willing to disclose the identity of the sole BN MP who signed the petition. When asked, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said: We cannot disclose. I can only tell you it is not from MCA."
Apart from Leong and Lim, the other MPs who were present included Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah), Dr Siti Mariah Mahmood (Pas-Kota Raja) and Loh Gwo-Burne (PKR-Kelana Jaya).
They handed over the petition to Datuk Ahmad Yaakob, the PM's chief senior private secretary at the Prime Minister's Office here today without much fuss.
PUTRAJAYA, Oct 24 - Police have won a three-day remand until Deepavali on Monday for 10 followers of the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) arrested yesterday for trying to petition the Prime Minister to free their leaders held under the Internal Security Act.
Police earlier freed exiled Hindraf leader P. Waythamoorthy's wife K. Shanti and her six-year-old daughter Vwaishhnavi while another two of those remanded - coordinator S. Jayathas and Lourdes Mary - have been warded in Putrajaya hospital as they are unwell.
The 10 - eight men and two women - were taken to the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya as the Kajang court was sitting there due to renovations in its courthouse.
The Federal Reserve Unit threw a tight security cordon around the building from morning leading to complaints from lawyers and the public although the remand proceedings only began late evening.
Magistrate Nurdiana Mohd Nazari allowed the remand order under Section 48 of the Societies Act for assisting an illegal organisation, which carries a penalty of RM15,000 or five years' jail.
The government banned Hindraf on Oct 15 although it has never been registered.
One of the six lawyers representing the group, M. Manogaran, who is also Teluk Intan MP, criticised the heavy police presence in the court complex, saying he will lodge a complaint with the Bar Council.
"Why are there FRU personnel in a court of law? This is not the Government's court or (Home Minister Datuk Seri) Syed Hamid Albar's court?" he was quoted as saying by The Star.
"This is the first time where a lawyer is being asked to turn in his MyKad so that he can see his clients. They won't even accept my MP card," he said, adding that the supporters should not be remanded at a time when Deepavali was so near.
Several Opposition MPs - including Batu Gajah MP Fong Po Kuan, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng and Kapar MP S. Manikavasagam - were there to lend support to the Hindraf group.
PUTRAJAYA, Oct 24 - Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar today warned that any non-governmental organisation (NGO) found to be involved in Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) activities would face the law.
He said this was because Hindraf was declared illegal by the government on Oct 15 for its militant activities, and that its actions contravened Section 5 (1) of the Societies Act 1996 and were a threat to public order, peace, civility and moral values.
“It doesn't matter what name they use, action will be taken...it's not an action against Indians or Hindus. This is action against groups that associate themselves with militancy and have extremist views,” he told reporters at the ministry's Aidilfitri open house, here.The Kajang Magistrate's Court today ordered the remand for three days of 10 Hindraf followers arrested yesterday under Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code and investigated under Section 48 of the Societies Act 1996 over an alleged illegal assembly to submit a memorandum to the prime minister.
On Hindraf leader P. Waythamoorthy who is now in Britain and claiming that the Malaysian government had cancelled his passport, Syed Hamid said Waythamoorthy could take back his passport at the Malaysian High Commission there.
The minister said Waythamoorthy's passport was taken by the British police when he entered the country due to the police-to-police networking as he had a case at that time.
Asked about the status of the Hindraf leader for staying in Britain without a passport, he said it was up to the British government to deal with him.
In another development, Syed Hamid said the cabinet meeting today was informed of the setting up of a task force under his ministry to look into delays in handling citizenship and identity card applications and problems involving birth certificates.
He said to date, there was a backlog of about 30,000 applications for citizenship and the cabinet was keen to see the problem resolved as soon as possible.
“I've already made a visit to Sabah and will be visiting Sarawak to look at the problems there. And I've ordered the formation of a mobile team to process the applications and I hope that we can buy a few vehicles for the purpose,” he added. - Bernama
(anilnetto) P Vwaishhnnavi, the six-year-old niece of detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar, and her mother K Shanti were released today
But should they even have been held in the first place?
They were held until late last night. (But both didn’t want to leave their comrades after they were allowed to go, reported Malaysiakini.) For what? Reading out a memo, sending a greeting card and appealing for the release of ISA detainees ahead of Diwali?
And why were the other 10 arrested and now taken to court? To faciliate investigations, apparently. The KL police chief is reported in today’s Sun as saying they were detained for representing or acting for an outlawed organisation or group under Section 48 of the Societies Act.
We live in an upside-down world. In a functioning democracy, investigations are carried out first and only then are arrests made, if their are solid grounds to secure a conviction in court. Here it appears to be the other way round. Arrest first and then investigate later.
Would anyone in government care to look into the root causes of their unhappiness and grievances?
Entah apa pertimbangan dan percaturan pimpinan Umno-BN tatkala saban tahun mereka melakukan penindasan ke atas masyarakat India. Tahun lepas kita menyaksikan perobohan Kuil Rimba Jaya menjadi ‘hadiah’ Deepavali Umno-BN buat masyarakat India.
Tahun ini, dalam keadaan beberapa hari saja lagi masyarakat India akan menyambut Deepavali, 11 individu ditahan - termasuk seorang anak kecil berusia 6 tahun - di saat mereka mahu menyerahkan memorandum secara aman di Pejabat Perdana Menteri semalam.
Hari ini Mahkamah Majistret Kajang menetapkan supaya 10 daripada mereka direman selama 3 hari sebermula hari ini. Sekaligus keputusan mahkamah ini menafikan hak mereka untuk merayakan Deepavali sebagaimana masyarakat India lainnya.
Saya berasa kesal dengan tindakan dangkal yang diambil oleh penguasa untuk menahan kumpulan 11 individu semalam. Hujahnya masih samar dan tidak jelas. Adalah menjadi tanggungjawab mereka untuk memberikan justifikasi dari konteks perundangan dan hak asasi, bukan mengambil tindakan cacamarba yang hanya memburukkan keadaan.
Kenyataan terdahulu Menteri Dalam Negeri bahawa Hindraf diharamkan atas alasan penganjuran demonstrasi yang menganjurkan keganasan adalah tidak munasabah. Waima ada pelanggaran undang-undang sekalipun, wajar bagi beliau membuktikan setiap butir katanya dengan fakta dan pembuktian jelas, bukan mengadu domba tanpa hala!
Saya menyeru agar Kementerian Dalam Negeri khususnya Menteri yang berkenaan tidak bersikap selektif terhadap berpuluh lagi gabungan dan pertubuhan yang acapkali berselindung di sebalik sentimen perkauman sempit, sekiranya mereka mahu membuktikan mereka adil di mata rakyat.
Kita tidak boleh terus berkompromi dengan slogan anti-keganasan dan anti-sentimen perkauman untuk terus menghalalkan kezaliman!
I'm not sure whether the Bar Council issued this press release to clarify the posting I made here or the articles that appeared in The Star or/and Utusan Malaysia. No reference is made in the press release to any of the above.
The explanation does not explain why the Bar refused to give dispensation to Salleh Abas and apply its discretion through Rule 62 when it had done so with KC Vohrah. It is this apparent unwillingness to apply the same privilege to the former Lord President that has brought about the perception that the Bar practises double-standards.
If there had been a "mistake" in giving KC Vohrah dispensation, why is that mistake not being admitted here?
But then again, the precedence in the form of KC Vohrah is not even mentioned in the press release!
If the Bar Council is hoping to close the issue with this sorry excuse of a press release, I'm really disappointed with it.
We refer to the statement by Syed Hamid justifying the HINDRAF ban.
The allegation that HINDRAF is an extremist group and allegedly caused to declare that Malays and Islam are their only enemy is absolutely ridiculous and a blatant lie.
We challenge Syed hamid to prove those speeches were evermade. We know he would not have the courage to do that but would continuously lie to enhance his ailing political career within UMNO. It has always been UMNO’s tactic to raise racial and religious feelings whenever there are problems within UMNO. History of Malaysia and the history of UMNO have proven this.
Each and every HINDRAF gathering and meetings are recorded and kept in safe. We knew these and many other dirty and cheap methods would be used by UMNO to demonise and paint an evil picture of HINDRAF and were ready for the negative propaganda campaign especially when the entire state machinery and media are controlled by them.
Recent deliberate negative publicity given by the Malay Dailies controlled by UMNO and mainstream TV3 are expected and we are prepared for worse to come. But nothing can stop our pursuit for justice and democracy.
Syed Hamid is no doubt a racist, extremist and Liar. There is no point asking for his resignation because this man does not have any moral dignity left in him. He would continuously lie and pretend as if he is the serving “justice”.
HINDRAF was never a religious body. It only raises legitimate rights of HINDUS and INDIANS to practise their Religion in peace and quiet under the Federal Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We have always maintained we never have any problems with Malays and Muslims but we have serious problems with UMNO, which is a bully, and practises racist and extremist divide and rule policies to survive and maintain its political rule in Malaysia.
However, he did not elaborate on the issue after being asked to comment why action was taken against some newspapers and not Utusan.
The Malay daily has come under severe criticism for publishing a short story on the assassination of a politician modelled on opposition parliamentarian Teresa Kok.
The minister also said that the police are investigating Bukit Bendera Umno chief Ahmad Ismail for sedition and action could be taken against him soon.
Again, Syed Hamid did not divulge more details on the probe against his party colleague in Penang, stating that he would rather let the police do their job.
The minister nevertheless defended the police’s handling of the controversy which was sparked off by the allegedly racial remarks made by Ahmad against the Chinese community during the Permatang Pauh by-election in August.
After a public outcry, Ahmad was suspended for three years by Umno in September.
“The party has taken action against Ahmad Ismail and now he is being investigated under the Sedition Act,” said Syed Hamid in an hour-long exclusive interview with Malaysiakini at his ministry in Putrajaya on Tuesday.
He was responding to questions as to why no action had been taken against Ahmad while Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng was arrested under the Internal Security Act for reporting Ahmad’s alleged racial remarks.
“Don’t ask why this person is not arrested and why that person is. That sort of thing, the police has got their own reasons...,” said Syed Hamid tersely.
Tan was arrested on Sept 12 and was released less than 24 hours later.
At that time, Syed Hamid had said that Tan was arrested for her own safety and to maintain public order.
For her own protection?
However, it was his “for her protection’ remark which bemused many observers. When asked about this, Syed Hamid blamed the media for highlighting the matter.
“I think I would laugh at it, but I will tell you that it was not the core and fundamental reason (for her arrest).
“That was the reason that was highlighted by the media. If you listen to what I said – there is a threat and the police perception of this threat to public order, to security. That is the reason this person was (arrested under ISA).
“Maybe they want to bring her in to ensure that nothing happens to her. I mean this is not the (only) reason – surely you are matured enough to know that this is not the reason.
“A person like me would not use an irrational thing (like this) but I was hit very badly on this thing to say that ‘Oh, it is for her protection’ when it was never the core or the fundamental issue of her arrest,” he virulently defended himself.
Syed Hamid reiterated that Tan’s arrest was to maintain public order and security.
“Things were getting very tense, everybody was talking about it and it was becoming highly politicised, and the polemic was not productive and it was not contributing (to the situation),” he said.
Syed Hamid ended the interview by appealing to Malaysians to try to understand his difficult role as home minister.
“I am subjected to criticism, I do not need sympathy. I need a lot of understanding from people, that’s all,” he said.
K Shanti, wife of Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy, voluntarily spent the night at the Putrajaya district police headquarters in protest of the detention of her 10 friends and relatives.
"I told them that I was not leaving without my relatives and friends, as a protest. I only left at about 7.30am today to go to court," said Shanti, who looked exhausted from lack of sleep.
She was among 11 individuals arrested yesterday evening when they accompanied her daughter, Vwashnnavvi, 6, to the Prime Minister’s Office to deliver a handwritten letter.
In it, Vwasshnnavvi invited the prime minister to her family’s ‘open house’ during Deepavali celebrations and appealed for the release of all Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees.
Police obtained a three-day remand order against the remaining 10 detainees, from Kajang magistrate Nurdiana Mohd Nazari this afternoon.
Met outside the court, Shanti said the police finished recording her statement at about 9.30pm yesterday and she was allowed to leave at about midnight.
Shanti also confirmed that she was informed earlier today that police were investigating her for alleged child abuse and would be taking statements from her at a later date.
"I don’t know. It seems so ridiculous," said Shanti, when asked for her reaction.
No statements recorded yesterday
Meanwhile lead counsel for the 10, Amer Hamzah Arshad, criticisised the police for denying the detainees their right to legal counsel up until remand proceedings.
He also criticised the police for seeking a long remand period of 14 days despite failing to record any statements from the detainees yesterday.
"If they deny the right to counsel, then they should have done their work and investigation during the first 24 hours. Instead, they now have the gall to come to court to seek a remand order," he said.
According to Amer Hamzah, the police had told the magistrate that they were trying to establish the purpose of the assembly and who was behind it.
He said the police did not argue on grounds that the suspects would abscond or tamper with evidence.
The police have the authority to seek an extension to the remand order when it expires on Sunday (Deepavali eve).
"Under the law, the police can seek a maximum three-day extension. We hope that common sense prevails and all will be released immediately," Amer Hamzah added.
Detainee collapses in court
The 10 are being investigated under Section 48 of the Societies Act for allegedly participating in an unlawful organisation.
Hindraf, an unregistered organisation seeking empowerment for marginalised Indians, has been banned since Oct 15 by the Home Ministry.
A minor commotion occurred during the remand proceedings when one detainee, Lourdes Mary, collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital.
Friends and supporters of the detainees demanded that the court police should call for an ambulance, but when it failed to arrive, they carried Lourdes Mary into a car and sent her to the Putrajaya Hospital. (See pix)
Court police initially tried to stop them from taking her away before the ambulance arrived, but a police officer eventually got into the private vehicle and accompanied her to the hospital.
An ambulance arrived 10 minutes later.
Police Watch and Human Rights Committee coordinator S Jayathas who is among the 10, was also warded at the Putrajaya Hospital for health complaints.
The magistrate is expected to read the remand order to both warded detainees later today.
(Malaysiakini)P Vwaishhnnavi, the six-year-old niece of detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar, and her mother K Shanti were released late yesterday but opted to spend the night at the Putrajaya police station.
Mother and daughter were with 10 others arrested yesterday when they attempted to submit a letter at the Prime Minister Department's office in Putrajaya, appealing for ISA detainees to be freed.
The duo were released late last night but they refused to leave the police station and stayed with the rest.
The remaining 10 were taken to the Kajang Magistrate's Court this morning where the police have applied for a two-week remand to facilitate their investigation.
However, the magistrate only extended remand to three days till Sunday when hearing resumed in the afternoon following a lunch break. This means that the 10 will be able to celebrate Deepavali with their families on Monday.
Security was tight at the court complex, where six riot police FRU trucks as well as a water-cannon truck have been deployed. About 50 supporters and family members of those arrested have gathered outside the courthouse.
Journalists have also been barred from entering the court complex.
Police showed a document signed by Kajang magistrate Nurdiana Mohd Nazari stating that only the lawyer representing those arrested and their family members are allowed into the court.
Lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad (left) from the Bar Council's Human Rights Committee, who is leading a six-member team on behalf of the 10, spend this morning arguing over the remand proceedings.
At 1.15pm, the court ended the arguments for lunch break. The magistrate announced her three-day remand decision at 2.30pm.
Detainees may miss Deepavali celebrations
According to lawyer N Surendran, the remand proceedings today were delayed because the legal team was not allowed to meet with the detainees prior to the proceedings.
“Police did not give the opportunity for the lawyers to meet with our clients last night and the court has to stand down in order for us to take instruction (from the 10),” he said.
According to him, the 10 are being investigated under Section 48 of the Societies Act for participating in an unlawful organisation.
“These people want to give a letter to the Prime Minister (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi), what has that got to do with unlawful organisation?” asked Surendran.
He added that it is unlikely for the 10 to abscond since all of them have a permanent address and therefore releasing them on a police bail would suffice.
“Any attempt to remand is an attempt to punish them especially with Deepavali being around the corner,” he stressed.
During the remand hearing, one of the female detainee, Lourdes Mary, fainted in court while explaining the lock-up condition to the magistrate.
According to Surendran, the detainee is a diabetic and her legs have swollen twice the size as she was unable to obtain insulin since her detention yesterday.
“I have never seen this kind of neglect in court before,” lamented the lawyer.
Meanwhile, another legal team member M Manogaran criticised the police for demanding lawyers to register themselves before entering the court building and for barring journalists from entering the complex.
“This is a tragedy. As an officer of court, I have a statutory duty to go into the court [...] We will take this issue to Bar Council. It’s a breach of statutory duty,” said the lawyer, who is also the Teluk Intan MP.
Police: Vwaishhnnavi not arrested
Vwaishhnnavi is the daughter of Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy, who is currently in self-imposed exile in London.
Kuala Lumpur police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman told Malaysiakini yesterday that eight men and three women were arrested during the incident.
He clarified that Vwaishhnnavi had not been arrested and was with her mother.
According to the police, those held are being investigated under the Societies Act following the Home Ministry's imposition of a ban on Hindraf on Oct 15, declaring it an illegal organisation.
The Home Ministry today clarified that Shanti (right) had her statement taken at the Putrajaya police district headquarters for "taking part in an organisation that has been banned under Section 48 of the Societies act and subsequently released the same evening".
"Her daughter, Vwaishhnnavi, chose to stay with her and was not questioned," said the statement, which was sent to Malaysiakini.
"Shanti and her daughter were not detained by the police last night but they still chose to stay at the police station and spent the night at the lobby lounge of the police station."
Police Watch Malaysia coordinator S Jayathas, who was also held, claimed that they had been told that they were part of an illegal assembly for having gathered near the entrance of the building.
"We were trying to obtain permission from the security guards for Vwaishhnnavi to submit her letter. They said that we were from Hindraf, but we insisted that we were 'concerned Indians' who were accompanying Vwaishnnavi," Jayathas had said yesterday.