Police fired water cannons to disperse a 200-crowd who came to the Brickfields police station to lodge mass police reports against the mistreatment of ISA detainee P. Uthayakumar.
Water cannons were turned on a group who came to the Brickfields police station to lodge mass police reports against the mistreatment of ISA detainee P. Uthayakumar.
The crowd had refused to disperse despite repeated warnings from the police.
Earlier Saturday, about 200 people, including several Members of Parliament, had gathered to make the police reports.
Police allowed about 50 people – five family members of Uthayakumar and five representatives each from the country’s nine states, including the MPs – to enter the station to lodge the reports.
The rest outside were asked to disperse. Most of them did but about 30 refused to leave.
The Federal Reserve Unit, which was already on standby, began shooting water laced with irritants at the crowd. They ran away and then came back. They were again shot at with water cannons.
They ran way again, regrouped and returned to face a third round of dousing before dispersing.
Several people were arrested.
The FRU now has established a safety perimeter around the police station.
Internal Security Act detainee M. Manoharan was given an hour’s grant to visit his 11-year-old daughter Shivaranjini after she was admitted into hospital for breathing difficulties.
She was sent to the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre at 1.15am on Thursday after she started gasping for breath when she learnt that her father would not be released from detention due to the denial of his habeas corpus appeal recently.
Manoharan, who is also the Kota Alam Shah assemblyman, arrived at the centre accompanied by Special Branch officers at the ward at 2.50pm.
“I was informed about my daughter after my wife (S. Pushpaneela) contacted the authorities at the Kamunting detention centre at about 10.30pm on Thursday,” he said when met at the paediatric ward Friday.
“I did not sleep well at night as I was very worried about her,” added Manoharan, who made a get-well-soon card for Shivaranjini out of paper, flowers and a few feathers while in detention.
He said his daughter was very close to him and cried each time she had to say goodbye at the end of the family’s weekly visits to the Kamunting detention camp where he is being held.
“Last year in December, she came to the detention camp all by herself by bus just to visit me. I was shocked but very touched to see her,” said Manoharan.
Asked how she felt about seeing her father at the ward, Shivaranjini said she felt happy that he was there but sad at the same time because he still had to return to the camp.
Manoharan said his next habeas corpus hearing on Feb 17 would be based on the grounds that he was a representative elected by his constituency and therefore was not a threat to national security.
“If I was chosen by the people even while I was being detained, how can I be a threat?” he said, adding that he was still passionate about serving the rakyat (people).
He said his wife was currently shouldering the responsibility of overseeing his constituency while he is under arrest.
He also hoped the authorities would allow him to attend the next state assembly seating on March 10 as he deserved the right to raise questions in the interest of the public as an assemblyman.
Also present at the ward was Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah.
The date for the Bukit Selambau by-election has yet to be set but a tussle has already erupted between component parties namely Umno and MIC as well as DAP and PKR while the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has proposed that one of its Internal Security Act detainees be fielded.
Kedah DAP and Merbok Umno felt that they should reclaim their right to contest the seat that was once allocated to them.
DAP contested the seat up till the 2004 general election while MIC contested the seat in the last four general elections.
In last year’s general election, PKR’s V. Arumugam defeated MIC’s S. Krishnan by a 2,362-vote majority.
State DAP chairman Thomas Su said a proposal would be submitted to the central executive committee to field a DAP candidate.
“Traditionally, we have been contesting the seat. We allowed PKR to contest the seat last year,” he said, adding that they had three candidates in mind.
Merbok Umno chief Datuk Tajul Urus Md Zain said Umno and MIC swapped Bukit Selambau and Kuala Ketil seats in 1995.
“I propose Umno field its candidate in Bukit Selambau instead of MIC as sentiment against MIC is quite strong in the area. Umno could return the Kuala Ketil seat to MIC in the next general election,” he added.
State Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said there was nothing wrong in making such a proposal but the Umno leadership would decide.
State MIC chief Datuk V. Saravanan said: “We will not demand that MIC be given the seat, but we expect Barisan will allow the party to field its candidate.”
Meanwhile, handwritten letters from ISA detainees – Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M. Manoharan, V. Ganabatirau and R. Kengadharan – proposed that fellow detainee K. Vasantha Kumar be the candidate for Pakatan Rakyat.
The 36-year-old Vasantha Kumar was born and bred in Bukit Selambau.
Manoharan said he had full confidence in Vasantha Kumar who was detained under the ISA in December 2007 and would be grateful if Pakatan Rakyat nominated Vantha Kumar as a candidate.
The majority of voters in Bukit Selambau are Malays (50%), followed by Indians (29%) and Chinese (19%).
Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) legal adviser P. Uthayakumar’s sedition trial has been set for three days from April 28 after he got a court order to refer him to a hospital for his diabetes treatment.
Sessions Court Judge Sabariah Othman on Tuesday allowed an application by the Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee through his lead counsel M. Manogaran.
However, Sabariah said Uthayakumar would be referred to a government hospital and not the private medical centre he had earlier requested.
“I order the police to bring him to the government hospital for his treatment as soon as possible,” she said.
When Manogaran applied for access to be given to meet Uthayakumar at the hospital, Sabariah said she would not issue such an order.
The judge also said she would decide on the trial date over another application by Uthayakumar to drop the sedition charge on the grounds that the Attorney-General’s consent was null and void.
Uthayakumar had on Dec 11, 2007 claimed trial to publishing a seditious letter on the Police Watch website, which was addressed to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
He was said to have committed the offence at Menara Mutiara Bangsar in Jalan Liku between Nov 15, 2007 and Dec 8 that year.
If convicted, he can be fined a maximum of RM5,000 or jailed up to three years or both under Section 4(1) (c) of the Sedition Act 1948.
At the court proceedings earlier, Manogaran applied for his diabetic client to be referred to a private hospital of his choice saying that Uthayakumar was in pain from a swollen left leg.
“Four days ago, the accused had applied to an officer for a doctor to examine his condition, but was not allowed to do so (until Monday).
“The accused was blindfolded when he was brought to Kuala Lumpur on Monday and his foot accidentally hit a stone, making the pain worse,” he said.
Lead prosecutor DPP Raja Rozela Raja Toran said she had no objections to the application as it was related to his health.
She said the prosecution would also supply the accused’s medical records to the court at the next trial date.
However, DPP Raja Rozela said the prosecution was ready to proceed with the sedition trial and intended to call five witnesses.
Earlier, Uthayakumar smiled and waved to his supporters who had packed the public gallery when he was brought to the courtroom at 10.55am. He was immediately hugged by his mother G. Kalaivani, 65; younger sister P. Waytha Nayagi, 42, and fiancee S. Indradevi, 38.
Speaking to reporters later, Uthayakumar said he had been a diabetic for 14 years.
“My foot is darkening which shows acute diabetes. It is spreading to my toes. It can be chronic and carries the risk of amputation.
“So, today (Tuesday) I asked my lawyers to get a court order so that I can get medical attention at a private hospital,” he said.
Uthayakumar also said that he had informed the ISA advisory board that only he and his brother P. Waytha Moorthy, now in self-imposed exile abroad, were responsible for Hindraf.
He said the three other lawyers detained with him under the ISA — M. Manoharan, V. Ganabatirau and R. Kenghadharan — were mere legal advisers and not involved in the day-to-day operations of the outlawed movement.
Hindraf’s P. Uthayakumar’s sedition trial that started Tuesday was postponed to three days from April 28 after he obtained a court order to refer him to a hospital for diabetes treatment.
The ISA detainee wanted a private hospital but the court order gave him a government hospital.
He was brought to the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for trial for sedition for publishing material on a website alleging “ethnic cleansing” of Malaysian Indians.
Earlier Tuesday,Uthayakumar had told reporters that he had asked the prison authorities to send him to a private hospital to attend to his swollen left leg but that they had not responded.
“My foot is darkening which shows acute diabetes. It is spreading to my toes. It can be chronic and shows risk of amputation.
“So today I asked my lawyers to get a court order so that I can get medical attention in a priovate hospital,” he said.
He also told reporters that he had informed the prison authorities that only he and his brother P. Waytha Moorthy, now in self-imposed exile abroad, were responsible for Hindraf.
He said the three other lawyers detained with him under ISA – M. Manoharan, V. S. Ganapathy Rao, K. Kengadhadran – were mere legal advisers and not involved in the day-to-day operations of the now-banned Hindraf.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has reiterated its call for the government to amend the Internal Security Act (ISA) before the next general election. Otherwise it would have “no reason to remain” in Barisan Nasional.
PPP supreme council which held an emergency meeting on Thursday voiced its full support for party president Datuk M. Kayveas.
The deputy president Datuk Lee Heng who chaired the meeting said Kayveas had urged the government to amend the ISA following calls from the party’s Wanita and Youth wings recently to abolish the act altogether.
“The president’s response to that was to meet half way that is to ask for an amendment. If there is not even an amendment, then PPP would have no reason to remain in Barisan,” he said at a press conference.
Kayveas was not present at the emergency meeting as he was overseas.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he had no plans to amend the ISA and that PPP was free to leave Barisan if it wanted to.
Earlier, Kayveas had called on the government to amend the ISA or PPP would pull out of Barisan.
Lee Heng said PPP’s stance was very clear that the government should amend the ISA to prevent it from being used against civilians who posed no security threat.
“This is line with the desires and sentiments of the rakyat. We feel there is no point in us staying in Barisan if the ISA is not amended before the next general elections,” he said.
He said there was still a lot of time before the next general election and thus PPP would only cross the bridge when it comes to it.
“We will not give up. There is still time. We have already seen some changes (in the government),” he said citing the upcoming Barisan Nasional convention in February and the Anti-Corruption Commission Bill and the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill that was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday as examples of some of the changes the government was making.
Lee Heng said Abdullah never asked PPP to leave Barisan, adding that the Prime Minister’s comment that PPP was free to leave the coalition was merely in response to questions from the media.
PPP also announced Thursday that it had sacked former president S.I. Rajah from the party for calling on Kayveas to step down as president.
The disciplinary board chairman Datuk Maglin D’ Cruz said Rajah could not appeal against the decision.
He said he had initially thought that Rajah was no longer a PPP member but upon checking found that the former president had rejoined the party in March 2007.
“For him to approach the Prime Minister and say that PPP is not leaving Barisan and for him to ask the party president to step down is a serious matter,” he added.
Maglin said the decision to sack Rajah was unanimously endorsed by the supreme council.
On Wednesday, Rajah, claiming to be an adviser to the party said he had met the Barisan chairman and secretary-general at Parliament and gave them the assurance that PPP would not pull out of the coalition.
He called on Kayveas to step down instead of issuing an ultimatum to Barisan to amend the ISA.