Press Statement by Charles Santiago in Klang on
Wednesday, 8th October 2008:
Stop whining about Hindraf;
It is amusing when Abdullah Ahmad
Badawi, the man who holds the top job in the country, says he is
disappointed that a group of people approached him to request for the
release of ISA detainees during the Hari Raya open house.
But when the Prime Minister laments that Hindraf supporters failed to
shake hands and extend Eid greetings to him and his cabinet colleagues,
he sounds downright pathetic.
Abdullah needs to understand that the action of Hindraf activists is
part of the democratic process. He must also be educated that the
chanting of slogans by Hindraf supporters is all about the freedom of
expression, which is in short supply in Malaysia.
While Abdullah expresses concern over "noisy intruders" who had ruined
his partying mood, ousted former Works Minister and MIC President S.
Samy Vellu worries that the activists had undermined his efforts to
secure the release of Hindraf leaders.
Instead of being an apologist for Abdullah and his government, Samy
should gather enough courage to demand for the repeal of the Internal
Security Act which allows for indefinite detention without trial,
following the examples of MCA, Gerakan and the Peoples Progressive
The same goes to the Human Resources Minister and MIC Sec-Gen Dr S.
Subramaniam who fears that the presence of Hindraf members goes against
the Indian culture. This is an absolutely ridiculous assertion, more so
as it comes from a smart man like Dr Subramaniam. Since when does
fighting for basic rights and liberties violate any culture?
This political high drama does not stop here. Ibrahim Ali, has
threatened to protest. Maybe he does not realise that resorting to the
ancient tactic of racial politics has no place in Malaysia anymore.
I urge Ibrahim to stop seeing the detention of Hindraf leaders as an
Indian issue but a Malaysian one and request Muslim groups not to regard
the attendance of Hindraf members at the open house as a sign of
disrespect to Muslims.
Let's not start twisting the real issues and fashion them to instigate
racial problems in the country. The ISA is way off its expiry date and
redundant in a modern democracy. But the ruling government uses it as an
easy tool to create a climate of fear and head off threats to its
I once again call upon all Malaysians to come together to demand for the
abolishment of the harsh ISA as we celebrate Eidulfitri and look forward
to partaking in the Diwali and Christmas festivities.
* Charles Santiago, MP for Klang