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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Uthaya goes home to hero's welcome - Malaysiakini


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Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar returned to his mother's house in his hometown of Rasah, Seremban late tonight and received a hero’s welcome from a sea of thousands of orange-clad supporters.

The 47-year-old lawyer had earlier today refused to sign the conditional papers of release and travelled from Kamunting to Seremban - a six-hour journey across three states - in a convoy of 100 cars and motorcycles.

Interestingly, one of the conditions for his release was not to set foot in Seremban.

Along the way he stopped at several places - among them, Rawang, Sungai Buloh and Labu toll exit - to speak to his supporters who had came to see him.

He arrived at the Labu toll plaza in Negri Sembilan at about 9.15pm and later at his house where he hugged her mother and ate mutton curry, a dish which he had longed for after 18 months behind bars under the Internal Security Act.

Uthayakumar said he chose not to sign any conditional release letters as he felt he had done nothing wrong.

“I did not sign the conditional release, in which one of the conditions was that I would not return to Seremban.

“Following that, the Kamunting authorities decided to throw me out (of the camp),” he said.

Asked what his immediate plans were, Uthayakumar said he would consult his supporters first.

“I feel Umno and Barisan Nasional have not changed despite a change in leadership,” he said.

“I called on the leaders of the country to release the remaining 10 detainees who are still being detained in Kamunting. Some of them had been under detention for eight years,” he said, adding that detention without trial is unlawful.

To visit younger brother in London

Uthayakumar said he would rest for the next two days and would decide on when to go to London to meet with his younger brother, Waythamoorthy, the chairperson of the outlawed Hindraf movement.

Waythamoorthy has been in self-imposed exile in Britain since the ISA arrests in late 2007 where his brother and four others were detained.

“I want to discuss with him the next course of action. I also want to visit him as he has this rare heart condition and I am very concerned for his health,” he said.

“I will discuss with Waytha (about the future) and if the feelings are strong to form a party as demanded by the supporters, we would certainly seriously consider it.”

But first, he said he had to look for his passport.

He also laughed over the recent formation of another Indian-based party called Mindraf.

“There is a joke that the Chinese want to form Chindraf and Jemaah Islamiah may form Jindraf - people are riding on Hindraf’s popularity,”

He also reminded his followers not to worship or idolised him, after some Hindraf supporters were seen trying to kneel before him and kiss his feet tonight.

“No, they should not treat me in this way as I am an ordinary person,” he said.

“But I could see many people are supporting the cause as we have been marginalised and I think we have a platform to seek for better welfare of the Indian community,” he said.

Uthayakumar pledged that despite the adversities he is going to face, he would continue with the struggle and would not let the authorities to stop him.

P. Uthayakumar: "Never Give In To Them"

Here is a piece sent in by "Malaysian Heart"

In human history, there have been many times when people facing injustice & oppression have used nonviolent resistance to achieve social & political change. Because of the highest moral standards needed to achieve true change, the leaders of these movements have to shoulder an enormous responsibility.

Whilst all the time keeping a clear eye on their goal & inspiring & motivating people, they need to ensure that their movement never deviates from the principles of their struggle. If they sacrifice their principles & accept that the ends justifies the means, their movement's moral standing is lost, and will soon disintegrate. In shouldering these responsibilities, time and time again these leaders have had to make great personal sacrifices. Let's look at three notable examples.

Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned in 1908 by the racist government in South Africa for resisting the unjust Asiatic Act law. In the words of Nelson Mandela, "Gandhi's most painful experience must have been when he was told that his wife, Kasturbai, was critically ill. He was given the option to pay his fine and rush to her bedside. His commitment to satyagraha would not allow him to do so." Read more here and on page 88 here.

Martin Luther King, Jr. took part in protests against segregation in the town of Albany, Georgia in 1961, and was sentenced to imprisonment. The authorities offered to release him (and his colleague) if they paid a fine of US$178. Sticking to principle, they refused. Finally the police chief himself paid their fine & released them to avoid embarrasment. Read more here and here.

Nelson Mandela was undergoing life imprisonment in Robben Island, a maximum security prison, when the apartheid government offered to release him in exchange for accepting the bantustan policy by recognising the independence of the Transkei and agreeing to settle there. He chose to never compromise his principles. He remained in prison until he was released unconditionally on 11 February 1990, after being imprisoned for a total of 27 years. Read more here.

To this fellowship (which includes many others, some of whom we may not know about), we can now add a Malaysian, P. Uthayakumar, who refused to accept any conditions for his release from detention under the ISA. In his own words, “If they force me (to sign the conditional release papers, which among other things would have barred him from speaking at public functions), I will not do it as I prefer going back to Kamunting prison,” (the words in brackets being mine).

Leaders like them inspire us.

They & their loved ones have suffered pain, physical & emotional, for us. Let us stand, not behind them but shoulder to shoulder with them, and work together for justice for ALL Malaysians.

Let us never forget what these brave people have shown, that truth & justice will always triumph over lies & oppression. Let us not forget either, that all that is needed for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.

Finally, let us never forget these words of Uthayakumar: "Never give in to them."

May all victims of the ISA get the justice that they deserve.

Makkal Sakthi!

MIC opens doors to Hindraf leaders

KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 – The MIC has invited Hindraf leaders for possible talks and partnership for the sake of the Indian community. MIC secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the Indian-based political party was also willing to consider views and suggestions by the movement on ways to improve the plight of the community.

He said the MIC was ready to hear concerns and suggestions of the Hindraf leaders on how they could work together for the benefit of the Indian interests.

Dr Subramaniam was speaking to reporters after officiating the National Temple Conference here today.

He was commenting on the statement by Hindraf founder P. Uthayakumar, who upon his release from detention under the Internal Security Act, said he would continue to fight for the Indian community which he alleged was marginalised.

Dr Subramaniam also invited Hindraf leaders to join the party, saying that since both of them shared a common goal of elevating the living standard of the community, they would be able to achieve the objective better if they worked as one.

“I am for a united Indian community, as we can see all the splintering in the group did not help the community,” he said, hoping that whatever bitterness existed previously would be done away with for the betterment of the Indian community.

Yesterday, Uthayakumar and two other Hindraf leaders M. Manoharan and K. Vasanthakumar who were held at the Kamunting detention camp since late last year, were released, together with 10 others detainees.

Earlier last month, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in his maiden speech, had announced the release of 13 ISA detainees, including two Hindraf leaders V. Ganabatirau and R. Kenghadharan.

Asked about the possibility of Hindraf leaders forming a new political party to serve its cause as the opposition parties, which it was currently allied to, had failed them, Dr Subramaniam said: “Now, they are an illegal movement. But it is their right and absolutely nobody can stop them if they want to form a political party, as long as they are following the proper process, and the decision is up to KDN (home ministry)”.

On another matter, Dr Subramaniam, who is also human resources minister, said he had not decided to contest the party’s No. 2 post, despite strong support, from both within and outside the party. – Bernama

How about 1Perak, Najib asks Pakatan

PEKAN, May 10 – Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says the Barisan Nasional (BN) government is willing to cooperate with the opposition parties to resolve the political crisis in Perak but this does not mean that it would agree to form a coalition government.

The prime minister said the cooperation should be based on the spirit of mutual respect and adherence to the country’s law.

“Cooperation does not mean forming a coalition government. It doesn’t have to be in that form ... it can take various other forms but the most important thing is that there should be mutual respect,” he told reporters after opening Pekan Umno branch meetings here today.

Najib was commenting on the statement by DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang yesterday that he (Lim) was willing to meet Najib to discuss the Perak political impasse. Najib stressed that the Perak political crisis could be avoided if all parties adhered to the law and respected one another.

“If we respect the law, and everyone should respect the law, there won’t be any crisis and things won’t turn into a crisis. But when all are claiming that they are right, then there are bound to be problems,” he said.

Najib said the BN government had always been keeping an open attitude and giving its best service to the people.

“We don’t want the situation (in Perak) to prolong. We want to serve the people, for everyone in Perak and throughout the country,” the prime minister said.

On the PPP supreme council’s decision to sack Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department T. Murugiah, Najib said he needed to look into the matter first.

“I only know about it from newspaper reports,” he said.

Asked about Murugiah’s position in the government, Najib said, he would “think about it”. – Bernama

ISA: Pembebasan Sekadar Mengaburi Isu Pencabulan Perlembagaan Negeri Perak

Saya gembira sebaik dimaklum berkenaan pembebasan 13 orang tahanan Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) termasuklah tiga orang pimpinan Hindraf.

Kesemua mereka termasuk beberapa rakan yang didakwa terlibat dalam keganasan tanpa bukti - satelah 6-7 tahun ditahan telah mengharungi dugaan ini dengan penuh kesabaran.

Meski pun kepedihan dan kesengsaraan yang ditanggung amat berat, mereka tetap teguh berpegang kepada prinsip perjuangan serta tidak mahu menyerah kepada tuntutan pemerintah agar patuh pada beberapa syarat mengongkong.

Syabas saya ucapkan kepada saudara P. Uthayakumar dan rakan-rakan lainnya. Maka seharusnya rakyat Malaysia berhak untuk mengetahui apakah status sebenar tahanan yang dibebaskan walau sebelum ini mereka ditahan kerana disyaki terlibat dengan keganasan.

Mereka semua perlu mendapat pembelaan yang sewajarnya dan kerajaan khususnya Kementerian Dalam Negeri seharusnya memohon maaf kepada mereka. Sepanjang ditahan, kerajaan seringkali memutarkan fitnah kononnya mereka semua terlibat dengan aktiviti keganasan, namun tidak pula dihadapkan ke mahkamah untuk dibicarakan.

Nah! Sekarang sekonyong-konyong dibebaskan tanpa penjelasan. Jelaslah walau apapun penjelasan, juga justifikasi yang diberikan, ISA perlu dimansuhkan serta merta dan kesemua tahanan perlu dibebaskan. Undang-undang kuku besi lagi kuno ini sudah tidak mempunyai tempat jika benar-benarlah perubahan yang dihajati.

Kenyataan Menteri Dalam Negeri semalam membuktikan kerajaan sememangnya tidak berhasrat untuk memansuhkan ISA. Beliau menyifatkan pembebasan 13 tahanan semalam hanya berdasarkan keadaan bukannya kerana akta tersebut zalim.

Maka jelas terbukti lantaran tertekan dengan kebiadapan wakil-wakil rakyat BN sewaktu sidang DUN Perak tempoh hari, langkah pembebasan ini hanya sekadar satu upaya untuk mengalihkan perhatian rakyat dari isu sebenar iaitu pencabulan perlembagaan serta prinsip demokrasi di negeri Perak.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Hold fresh elections to end the Perak constitutional impasse

by Dr. Chen Man Hin

Prime Minister Najib Razak was reported in the press to have cautioned elected Perak state representatives to follow the rule of jaw, as the pandemonium on Thursday 7th May and that unruly behaviour of elected leaders followed the law of the jungle instead of the rule of law.

Well said, except that the party that begun the law of the jungle was none other than UMNO, the party of the Prime Minister because he master-minded and executed the take-over of the Perak state government by using unconstitutional means.

His plan first arraigned two PKR state excos on trumped-up charges of corruption and compelled them to leave the PR and later to support Barisan National.

Next the Jelapang state assemblywoman was induced to leave DAP and support Barisan National with promises so huge as to be beyond imagination.

The admission of these three extra members to the Barisan side gave them an alleged majority in the state assembly to stake claim of eligibility to form the state government.

THE NEXT STEP WAS TO INDUCE ROYALTY TO DISSOLVE THE PERAK STATE ASSEMBLY AND FORM A NEW BARISAN LED GOVERNMENT.

THIS WAS THE CRUCIAL MOVE BUT IT WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND ILLEGAL, AS IT WAS ULTRA VIRES THE PERAK STATE ASSEMBLY STATUTES.

The Perak Mentri Besar can only be removed by a vote of no confidence in the Assembly which was never done. Under the Perak Constitution, the Sultan of Perak has the power to appoint but not the power to remove the Mentri Besar.

Hence, the legal Perak government is still the PR government and not Barisan. Tun Dr Mahathir stated emphatically two days ago, that the power to dissolve Parliament rested with the members of parliament and not the Agong.

Similarly, the power to dissolve the Perak state assembly rested not with the Sultan, but with the members of the assembly. The sultan cannot appoint the new government. It is the state assembly that forms the new government.

So it is the Prime Minister assisted by his kitchen cabinet who has not followed the rule of law and instead adopted the law of the jungle - of threats, bribery and ignoring the Perak Constitution.

It is also obvious that PM Najib has also subverted the Attorney-General Gani Patai who dared to claim that the Sultan of Perak has the power to dissolve and appoint a new government in Perak, in direct contradiction to the views of Tun Dr Mahathir

IGP NOT ABIDING BY RULE OF LAW

Sdr Karpal Singh was accosted and surrounded by belligrent UMNO leaders at the entrance hall of Parliament some months ago, with police officers who were standing by, kept silent and did nothing to protect Karpal Singh from the hostile Umno group.

When pressed for an explanation IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan, said policing Parliament did not include Parliament affairs, and therefore the police did not intervene to protect Karpal.

On the other hand, the police were actively engaged in taking the side of Barisan within the Perak State Assembly. Police officers in plain-clothes actively dragged, pushed and bundled Speaker Sivakumar out of the assembly, despite protests from the Speaker. The scene was captured live on camera and TV.

IGP Musa should explain the coarse and humiliating act of his police officers, who brutally wrenched the lawful Speaker out of the Assembly.

His police officers were supposed to maintain peace and order. Instead they joined in the mayhem and gave full support to Barisan leaders to oust the legally appointed Speaker, and then quarantined him for an hour.

IGP Musa should explain the double standards of his police officers and why were his officers so biased against PR by manhandling the legal Speaker and preventing him to fulfill his duties as Speaker.

IGP Musa should be reminded that the police force is mandated to be impartial and to maintain law and order and execute their duties in the interests of the people and justice, and not be a puppet of the government. If they see injustices perpetrated by the government, the police should not condone the injustices, but must prevent any wrongdoing.

The IGP should not be involved in partisan politics. His calling is higher, which is to safeguard justice, security and law and order for the people.

TIME TO CALL FOR FRESH ELECTIONS OF THE PERAK STATE GOVERNMENT TO SOLVE THE POLITICAL IMBROGLIO.

It is obvious that the present political scenario is unacceptable and unsustainable from the political, economic and social viewpoints.

The uncertainties will affect economic development and will add to the burdens imposed by economic recession. Unemployment will increase.

The PR government which was mandated to be the government after March 8th 2008 has been ousted by an unconstitutional coup d’etat. The upstart Barisan government is in the driver’s seat but it is proving to be most unpopular and does not enjoy the confidence of the people.

The people deserve to have a government of their choice, in order that the state of Perak can move forward and give the people more opportunities and a better life.

THE SOLUTION IS TO HAVE FRESH ELECTIONS FOR THE STATE OF PERAK, TO ELECT A PEOPLE-CENTERED GOVERNMENT. THIS IS THE GENERAL CONSENSUS AMONG THE PEOPLE, AND NGOS INCLUDING THE BAR COUNCIL OF MALAYSIA. HUNDREDS OF LAWYERS DEMONSTRATED YESTERDAY TO CALL FOR FRESH ELECTIONS IN PERAK.

Lift the ban on Hindraf, says Waythamoorthy

It's time for the federal government to lift the ban on the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), which was enforced on the unregistered organisation since last October.
MCPX

Hindraf leader, P Waythamoorthy, pointed out that the release of all five Hindraf leaders from Kamunting Detention Centre was a testimony that the movement was never a threat to nation's security.

"We were never a threat in the first place. We were wrongly accused of being one," he said.

Hindraf leaders M Manoharan, P Uthayakumar and T Vasanthakumar were released together with 10 more detainees from the Kamunting Detention Camp yesterday afternoon.

Hours after taking the reins in April, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak ordered the release of two Hindraf leaders - V Ganabatirau and R Kengadharan, together with 10 other detainees.

The five were detained without trial under the draconian Internal Security Act in Dec 2007 following a mammoth Hindraf anti-government rally in Kuala Lumpur.

Hindraf then carried out numerous campaigns across the country to secure the release of their leaders.

Following Hindraf supporters “trespassing” during then Premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s Hari Raya open house, the movement was banned by the government.

Najib has said that the release of the HIndraf leaders was because they were "no more a threat to the nation's security".

International passport revoked

Pointing out that Najib himself had indirectly declared Hindraf as a peace-loving organisation, Waythamoorthy argued that the movement was never a threat to anyone and the ban on it was unwarranted and a hasty decision by the govenment.

hindraf rally hunger strike 230108"I call upon the Prime Minister to lift the ban on Hindraf, which was unfairly and wrongly imposed in the first place," he told Malaysiakini via telephone from his London base.

Aside from the detention of the five leaders and the ban, Waythamoorthy's international passport was also revoked by the Home Ministry as part of the government strategy to cripple the movement.

Waythamoorthy is now living in United Kingdom using a temporary passport issued by the British government.

At the height of government clampdown on Hindraf, the Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan alleged that the movement had links with the Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), seemingly trying to portray Hindraf as a terrorist group.

Waythamoorthy called on the IGP to withdraw his baseless and unsubstantiated accusation to link HIndraf with LTTE.

IGP should retract unfounded allegation

"Musa should retract his unfounded allegation. He had never proven the allegation with any proof until now since claiming Hindraf had links with LTTE," said Waythamoorthy.

The self-exiled leader also wants the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor governmernt to appoint Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson M Manoharan as a state executive councillor.

He said an exco appointment for the 58-year-old Manoharan would demonstrate Pakatan appreciation on the sacrifices made by the former ISA detainee and the movement.

"Both Manoharan, other detained leaders and Hindraf were among major factors behind Pakatan’s electoral success in the last general election.

"It's only fair and appropriate to appoint Manoharan as an executive councillor in the Pakatan government," Waythamoorthjy said.

Lawyer Manoharan won the Kota Alam Shah state seat in 2008 general election defeating Gerakan's Ching Su Chen by a 7,184-majority. He polled 12,699 votes against Ching's 5,515.

Uthaya goes home to hero's welcome - Part II

Uthaya gets a hero's welcome

Kerajaan Perlu Minta Maaf

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petikan akhbar: Sinar Harian 9 Mei 2009

Remove restrictive ISA release conditions, lift ban on Hindraf and appoint Uthayakumar as member of Royal Commission of Inquiry into marginalisation o

By Lim Kit Siang,

I am calling this media conference on the release of the three Hindraf leaders, P. Uthayakumar, DAP Selangor Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah M. Manoharan and K. Vasanthakumar from Kamunting Detention Centre under the Internal Security Act (ISA) two hours ago.

The formation of Hindraf, the arbitrary, undemocratic and unjust detention of the five Hindraf leaders in December and the Makkal Sakti phenomenon were important factors resulting in the March 8 “political tsunami” in last year’s general election.

The time has come for the Barisan Nasional government not just to release the three remaining Hindraf leaders under the ISA today but to come to terms and address the root causes for the alienation and marginalisation of the Indian community in the country after half-a-century of nationhood.

Neither the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak nor the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein should entertain any notion that the Malaysian Indians should “membalas budi” for the release of the Hindraf leaders, as they should not be detained without trial under the ISA in the first place.

To realistically and boldly address the root causes of the Hindraf and Makkal
Sakti phenomena, I call on Najib to implement three measures:

• Remove all the restrictive and draconian conditions for the release of the three Hindraf leaders today, as well as on the two other Hindraf leaders, Ganapathi Rao and R. Kenghadharan, who were released on April 5, barring them from speaking in public, taking part in political and NGO activities, and restricting both space and time as barring them from leaving their restricted locality, to be at home by 7 pm every day and requiring them to report regularly to the police.

• Lift the government ban on Hindraf as an unlawful organisation so that it could take part in the nation-building process; and

• Appoint Uthayakumar as a member of Royal Commission of Inquiry into the marginalisation of Malaysian Indians which have reduced them into a new underclass in Malaysia after half-a-century of nationhood. (More than one Royal Commission should be formed on the marginalisation of substantial segments of the Malaysian population, whether the ordinary Malays, Orang Asli, Kadazan-Dusun-Murut or Ibans).

The last few days have seen the public credibility and legitimacy of the Malaysian police plummet to a new low, especially with its crackdown on peaceful dissent and human rights, resulting in the police arrest of 116 persons in three days – including 69 arrests with 10 MPs/State Assembly members in the Ipoh lockdown on the Day of Infamy of May 7 - reminiscent of the Operation Lalang 22 years ago.

All because of legitimate nation-wide protests at the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab, which reached a new infamy in the May 7 Perak State Assembly when the Perak Speaker, V. Sivakumar, in Speaker robes and in the Speaker chair, was bodily dragged out of the Assembly by police officers and goons.

There are three things which the Police must do to repair the damage it has done to its reputation and credibility in the past three days:

Firstly, Najib and Hishammuddin should direct all police personnel to back off from the crackdown on peaceful dissent and human rights expressions, regarding candlelight vigils as greater threats to national security than capital crimes or endemic crime, providing a glimpse of the return of Mahathirism.

Secondly, a clear directive to all police personnel to return to their basic and first duty to protect the lives and property of ordinary Malaysians, which are under great peril as a result of endemic crime as highlighted by the death of two pregnant women, Saripah Mohd in Kota Baru and Jamilah Selamat in Batu Pahat within 72 hours, both killed in two separate snatch thefts when they fell off their motorcycles!

Thirdly, Hishammuddin and the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan should publicly apologise for the outrage of the police arrest of five lawyers, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, Murnie Hidayah Anuar, Puspawati Rosman, Ravinder Singh Dhalliwal and Syuhaini Safwan, all members of the Bar Council legal aid centre for going to the aid of those arrested in candlelight vigils in protest at the arrest of BERSIH spokesman Wong Chin Huat.

(Media Conference Statement at DAP Office in Alor Star, Kedah on Saturday, 9th May 2009 at 4.30 pm)

Manoharan not quitting, no by-election in Kota Alam Shah

Manoharan waves to friends and supporters outside the gates of the detention centre soon after his release.

By Melissa Loovi - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 — Kota Alam Shah state assemblyman M. Manoharan, one of the three Hindraf leaders released from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) today, will not be quitting his seat.

This means there will not be any by-election in the Selangor state constituency.

Manoharan told reporters at his home tonight that the mention of his possible resignation may have sped up his release because “Barisan Nasional (BN) would be afraid to lose another by-election.”

“We had so many Pakatan people offering to take my place and I think the BN candidate would have even lost his deposit if they contested against us,” he said while sipping a cup of homemade teh tarik.

He also acknowledged the possibility that the latest ISA releases were timed to take the heat off of the government after Thursday’s shambolic Perak state assembly sitting.

Manoharan had recently contemplated quitting his seat as he said he was not able to serve his constituents well from behind bars.

He had won his seat in last year’s general election while he was in detention for his role in the 2007 mass protest organised by the Indian rights group.

Amid an overwhelming tide of supporters and family members, Manoharan was thrilled to be home at last, but the first-term lawmaker, who only managed to set foot in his constituency of Kota Alam Shah today, was most excited about finally serving the people who voted for him.

“My heartfelt thanks to the wonderful constituents who voted for me without even meeting me, and all those who have served my community in my absence. The amazing team led by my wife made it possible all this while and now I can finally take over,” said the tired yet cheerful-looking Hindraf lawyer.

His wife Pushpaneela had actually logged on to news portals today in order to get the latest on her husband’s release because the police would not update her on anything beyond stating he would be released today.

“I just want us to be able to reconstruct our lives again now that my husband is home,” she said.

"It is through the prayers and support of many people, including all the DAP and other Pakatan leaders that I am able to be back home today, in time to celebrate Mother's Day with my beloved mother," said Manoharan while hugging his mother tightly.

His three children — twins Harinaran and Shivaranjini, and the youngest Ganendra — clustered around him holding a homemade pink manila card with “Welcome Home Papa” in rainbow colours as he leaned over to kiss his wife on the cheek.

“So Makkal Sakhti has gotten me released today,” said the man who lost 15kg while serving his detention without trial. He was also locked up for 15 hours each day with only the weekly family visits to look forward to.

“Well, one advantage is that I learned Mandarin for two hours every Friday!” he quipped.

Still defiant, Uthayakumar vows to carry on Hindraf cause

Uthayakumar is mobbed by relatives, friends and supporters soon after he stepped out of the gates of the Kamunting detention centre today.

By Baradan Kuppusamy - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 — The first thing P. Uthayakumar, the Hindraf founder, did after he was released today after 17 months in the Kamunting detention centre was to call his mother K. Kalaivaniy, 64, in Seremban to cook his favourite dish — mutton in thick gravy with idly to go with it.

“My mother is cooking it right now. She is crying while cooking it not from the spices but from joy that I have been freed,” Uthayakumar told The Malaysian Insider by telephone while passing through Tanjung Malim on the North-South Expressway on his way to his mother’s house.

“Freedom is incredible,” he said. “Only people who have been detained can feel the great joy on being released. The feeling overwhelms.”

His voice was firm and joyful and he cracked jokes and laughed often when answering questions.

He laughed out loud when asked whether he had any plans to join the DAP. As to joining PKR, he said it was “out of the question.”

“I am undecided about forming my own political party… but I won’t reject such an idea,” he said.

Below is the question-and-answer session with Uthayakumar.

Q: When did you first learn that you would be freed?

A: It was about 4pm yesterday. One of the detainees came and told me that he had heard in the news all three of us would be freed. I did not believe the news because I had already stopped believing I would be released.

Q: You were prepared for a long stay?

A: Yes, long before Nov 25 (the Nov 25, 2007 Indian protest in the capital) I had already steeled my mind for a long stay under ISA detention. So when I was arrested it did not shock me unlike the other Hindraf leaders. I have been arrested and thrown in lock-ups before unlike the others.

Q: How did you keep yourself sane?

A: I never let my mind wander. I read, thought, wrote and strategised. They try to confuse you, put fear into you, and make you worry about your loved ones. It is all planned to shake you and dominate you. My other colleagues were somewhat shaken. I feel sad for them.

Q: What is the single lesson you have learnt in detention?

A: Never give in to them.

Q: Has detention changed you?

A: Yes, it has only made me more determined and more resolved to continue fighting for the oppressed and marginalised Indians.

Q: Only Indians?

A: Yes, for now.

Q: Has your view of Umno changed?

A: Not one bit… Umno is still the oppressor. Umno has not changed despite all the talk of reforms. Umno is still Umno.

Q: What are your immediate plans?

A: I will take a rest, do a medical check up and enjoy my mother's love. Next Sunday (May 17) we are having a big Hindraf gathering in a temple to shave our heads as thanksgiving for our release. It is to mark the end of one phase in our struggle and the start of another.

Q: Were you required to sign a document agreeing to restrict yourself as a condition of your release?

A: Yes, they tried to force me to sign to five conditions including restricted residence and a ban from giving public speeches, among other conditions. But I refused. The whole morning the police tried to persuade me to sign but I refused. Finally they gave up and threw me out of Kamunting. I walked out last. Now, I am my own man.

(Unlike other Hindraf detainees who agreed to the conditions and are escorted to their home towns and taken to the police station for a briefing, Uthayakumar was travelling on his own with a convoy of supporters in 15 vehicles with the Special Branch following behind.)

Q: What are your political plans? Would you join PKR or DAP?

A: (Laughs uproariously…) Out of the question. I am not happy with the two parties and what they have done for the Indian community. They did not do enough in the critical areas that really matter.

Q: What are the critical areas?

A: One is land… land for Tamil schools, temples, squatters and crematoriums… they did not do much. The Pakatan ruled five states and they were masters over land but they did not do much. In Penang there are only 28 Tamil schools but nothing has been done… even with an Indian as deputy chief minister. They could have done, but have not in over one year in power. If they solved the land matter they could have solved 70 per cent of the problems of the Indian community. How can I join their political parties?

Q: You have plans to start your own party?

A: We have to discuss this matter at length. I have my plans. I need to talk with my brother (Waythamoorthy, in self-imposed exile in London) and our supporters. I have to gauge the mood on the ground before we can decide our next moves, what direction to take.

Q: Have you worked out what to do next. You had all the time in Kamunting?

A: Yes, I have a plan… all in good time.

Uthaya goes home to hero's welcome

Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar returned to his mother's house in his hometown of Rasah, Seremban late tonight and received a hero’s welcome from a sea of thousands of orange-clad supporters.
MCPX

The 47-year-old lawyer had earlier today refused to sign the conditional papers of release and travelled from Kamunting to Seremban - a six-hour journey across three states - in a convoy of 100 cars and motorcycles.

uthayakumar released from isa detention seremban event 090509 05Interestingly, one of the conditions for his release was not to set foot in Seremban.

Along the way he stopped at several places - among them, Rawang, Sungai Buloh and Labu toll exit - to speak to his supporters who had came to see him.

He arrived at the Labu toll plaza in Negri Sembilan at about 9.15pm and later at his house where he hugged her mother and ate mutton curry, a dish which he had longed for after 18 months behind bars under the Internal Security Act.

Uthayakumar said he chose not to sign any conditional release letters as he felt he had done nothing wrong.

“I did not sign the conditional release, in which one of the conditions was that I would not return to Seremban.

“Following that, the Kamunting authorities decided to throw me out (of the camp),” he said.

uthayakumar released from isa detention seremban event 090509 08Asked what his immediate plans were, Uthayakumar said he would consult his supporters first.

“I feel Umno and Barisan Nasional have not changed despite a change in leadership,” he said.

“I called on the leaders of the country to release the remaining 10 detainees who are still being detained in Kamunting. Some of them had been under detention for eight years,” he said, adding that detention without trial is unlawful.

To visit younger brother in London

Uthayakumar said he would rest for the next two days and would decide on when to go to London to meet with his younger brother, Waythamoorthy, the chairperson of the outlawed Hindraf movement.

uthayakumar released from isa detention seremban event 090509 06Waythamoorthy has been in self-imposed exile in Britain since the ISA arrests in late 2007 where his brother and four others were detained.

“I want to discuss with him the next course of action. I also want to visit him as he has this rare heart condition and I am very concerned for his health,” he said.

“I will discuss with Waytha (about the future) and if the feelings are strong to form a party as demanded by the supporters, we would certainly seriously consider it.”

But first, he said he had to look for his passport.

uthayakumar released from isa detention seremban event 090509 04He also laughed over the recent formation of another Indian-based party called Mindraf.

“There is a joke that the Chinese want to form Chindraf and Jemaah Islamiah may form Jindraf - people are riding on Hindraf’s popularity,”

He also reminded his followers not to worship or idolised him, after some Hindraf supporters were seen trying to kneel before him and kiss his feet tonight.

uthayakumar released from isa detention seremban event 090509 01“No, they should not treat me in this way as I am an ordinary person,” he said.

“But I could see many people are supporting the cause as we have been marginalised and I think we have a platform to seek for better welfare of the Indian community,” he said.

Uthayakumar pledged that despite the adversities he is going to face, he would continue with the struggle and would not let the authorities to stop him.

Uthaya rejects conditional release updated - malaysiakini

Uthaya rejects conditional release

At 2.55pm, Uthayakumar - the last of the Hindraf detainees - appeared and held a press conference at the gate of the detention camp.

According to Uthayakumar, he had refused to agreed to the conditions of his release, which included being barred from speaking at public functions.

"From 8am, the prison authorities tried to force to sign the conditional release, but I refused.

hindraf isa detainee released all 090509"I have not done anything wrong, why should I sign? I want to be released without any conditions."

Eventually, the authorities allowed him to leave the camp without signing the agreement.

At 3.20pm, Uthayakumar led a group of supporters to the Sri Maha Mariamal temple near the Kamunting camp for prayers. An hour later, he left for his mother's house in Seremban.

The Hindraf 5 were detained in December 2007 after mounting a massive street protest which saw tens of thousands of Indian Malaysians taking to the streets.

The release of the trio is expected to remove a thorn in the side of new Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is trying to promote his reform credentials.

Hours after taking the reins in April, Najib ordered the release of 13 ISA detainees, including two Hindraf leaders - V Ganabatirau and R Kengadharan.

The government said yesterday that it had decided to release another 13 detainees because "they no longer need to be held under ISA".

Last week, one of the three detainee Manoharan, who is state assemblyperson for Kota Alam Shah in Selangor, had threatened to quit his seat.

manoharan released from isa detention prison 090509 01Manoharan had won the state seat in last year's general election while being detained in Kamunting.

Manoharan, in his statement last week, expressed his frustration for not being able to serve his constituents physically and personally ever since he was elected as a state representative last general election.

His wife, S Pusphaneela, said the release of her husband would enable the state lawmaker to serve the people and she is looking forward to his return.

manoharan released from isa detention prison 090509 02"I am sure he will reconsider his decision ... (but), let it come from him," said Pushpaneela.

Manoharan arrived at his home in Bukit Kinrara, Puchong at 7pm and was immediately greeted by his daughter and two sons.

Looking thinner and frail, the state assemblyperson nevertheless was smiling from ear to ear.

IGP refuses to comment on conditions of release

Meanwhile, police chief Musa Hassan said the five Filipinos and two Indonesians who were also released today, will be sent back to their home countries.

musa hassan pc 021107 think"We will pass the foreign detainees to the immigration to be deported to their home country," Musa said.

The remaining six Malaysians were freed on certain conditions on which Musa declined to comment.

Rights groups welcomed the release of the 13 but urged the government to free the remaining 14 people, mainly suspected Islamic militants, held under the ISA or charge them in court.

"We always believe that these detainees who were never proven guilty in any court of law should not have been detained in the first place," Abolish ISA Movement coordinator E Nalini said.