ISA dragnet: 'Gov't is desperate'
MalysiaKini - Dec 13, 07 -
-The government’s decision to invoke the Internal Security Act (ISA) against Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders is an act of desperation, said an opposition party today.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the party “unreservedly condemns the arrests.”
"We urge the government to unconditionally release them and charge them in an open court if they've committed a crime. At least, we can use proofs and evidences," he added.
He was responding to the arrests of Hindraf legal adviser P Uthayakumar, lawyers M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and organising secretary T Vasanthakumar.
The five were picked up from various locations in
According to Lim, who is a former ISA detainee himself, the government invoked the security law in desperation to silence dissent.
"We think the government is desperate to use the ISA,” he told a press conference in Parliament. “ Even though they claim they have proofs, they haven't made them public," he added.
The opposition leader also described the arrest and detention of the five, who have been sent to the Kamunting Detention Centre to be held for two years, as “purely evil mala fide.”
"They first need to go through 60 days in detention. If the authorities feel that they are still a threat to the nation, their detention can be extended for another two years," he said.
The five were detained under Section 8(1) of the ISA after Internal Security Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi signed the detention orders.
Under Section 73 (1) of the ISA, the police can detain any individual for up to 60 days without a warrant, trial and without access to legal counsel if he is suspected to have "acted or is about to act or is likely to act in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof."
After 60 days, the minister can extend the period of detention without trial for up to two years, without submitting any evidence for review by the courts, by issuing a detention order, which is renewable indefinitely.
Citing DAP MP for Ipoh Barat M Kulasegaran's suspension, Lim said: "We're also very sad that while preventive detention is used outside Parliament, an Indian MP has been also prevented from voicing out (inside Parliament)."
"The suspension, on flimsy and baseless grounds, shows the growing intolerance towards Indian voices," he added.
Explaining that he did not agree with Hindraf's allegations that "ethnic cleansing" and genocide had taken place in the country, Lim, however, said Hindraf's statement on the grievances of Indians "is real."
He said DAP will be calling for an emergency central committee working meeting to address the issue.
"As a first step, we want to take the legal step by filing a habeas corpus," he said, adding that the party has also planned to set up a support group to assist the families of the detainees.