Press Statement by Charles Santiago in Klang on Wednesday, 1st October 2008: 

Introduce reforms in the spirit of Eidulfitri 1429 Hijrah

I wish all Muslims a very happy Eidulfitri. Muslims in the country and around the world have been fasting over the past month, performing prayers and spreading the message of love, and peace to strengthen their religious resolve and relationship between their brethren in faith and tolerance towards others.

In line with this spirit of Hari Raya, let us come together and demand for the repeal of the country's harsh Internal Security Act. This colonial relic denies detainees their right to be heard in an open court and also allows indefinite detention, at the whims and fancy of the Home Minister.

I appeal to all Malaysians to show their solidarity with Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the Hindraf five and other ISA prisoners whose fundamental rights have been robbed from them.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has appeared on the local television station, Astro Awani, to extend his wishes to the people. In this spirit, I call upon the premier to make a bold decision to free all the 62 ISA detainees with immediate effect.

We are aware that Abdullah's top job is in a limbo. The Prime Minister has been dogged with calls for resignation from within the ruling UMNO and opposition camps. Bowing to pressure, Abdullah has hinted he might throw in the tower earlier than 2010. Before Abdullah leaves, I urge him to leave a mark in Malaysia's political history by abolishing the harsh ISA, which is widely used to curb dissent in the country.

While celebrating this joyous occasion which fosters goodwill among people from all walks of life, I also strongly urge Abdullah to abandon the DNA Identification Bill 2008 which is a legal and human rights disaster. The Bill places excessive powers in the hands of the police and Home Affairs Minister and is therefore open to abuse.

Let us begin Eid with a staunch hope that it would usher in a new era of reforms in Malaysia - reforms that are targeted at allowing people to regain their freedom of speech and fundamental rights.

Eid Mubarak.

* Charles Santiago, MP for Klang