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Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 4th April 2009: 

13 ISA detainees cannot be released until tomorrow - Hamid Albar and Musa Hassan should be sacked for failing within 24 hours of Najib’s premiership the Najibian test of “Performance Now”

I had said at a media conference in Ipoh this morning that the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Chor Chee Heung, should resign from their Cabinet positions for the three-month suspension of Harakah and Suara Keadilan as one of first decisions of Datuk Seri Najib Razak on being sworn in as the sixth Prime Minister yesterday was to immediately revoke their ban which had entered into its 11th day.

Now, I say that Hamid and Tan Sri Musa Hassan should be sacked as Home Minister and Inspector-General of Police respectively for failing within 24 hours of Najib’s premiership one of the three Najibian thematic slogans – “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.”

It is most disgraceful and testimony of gross incompetence and ineptitude that although Najib announced in his maiden address to the nation over television last night that his government had decided “with immediate effect” the release of 13 detainees from ISA detention, none of the 13 could be released today and the earliest they could regain their freedom is tomorrow.

B. Buvaneswary, the wife of detained Hindraf leader Ganapathi Rao, travelled all the way from her home in Shah Alam to Kamunting with their two children, Janani 1 and Gowri 4, to be at the Kamunting Detention Centre at 7 am this morning for his release, only to be disappointed because the papers for the release of the 13 had not arrived at the centre.

Musa Hassan released a statement in Kuala Lumpur at midday that the 13 would only be allowed to leave the Kamunting Detention Centre tomorrow as the documentation process for their release had to be completed first!

Is this what Najib meant by “Performance Now” in his maiden address to the nation last night?

Were the IGP and the Home Minister kept completely in the dark about Najib’s announcement of the “immediate release” of the 13 ISA detainees, learning only about it when the new Prime Minister’s maiden address was telecast live last night?

If so, it reflects a shambolic government with no notion whatsoever about “People First” or “Performance Now”!

When Najib announced the “immediate release” of the 13 ISA detainees in his direct telecast at 8 pm last night, I had expected the two Hindraf leaders, Ganabairau and R. Kenghadharan, and the other 11 ISA detainees to be released last night itself – especially when Najib ended his maiden speech with the flourish of urging Malaysians “rise up to the challenge of building 1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.”

Obviously, Najib forgot to ask the Cabinet and the public service to equally “rise up” to the triple challenge of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.”

When Najib said “with immediate effect”, could it be so elastic as to be stretched not only overnight, but to be over 24, 36 or even 48 hours?

Najib should learn from the lessons of his predecessor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, whose “cemerlang, gemilang, terbilang” slogan swiftly became a national joke. But Najib’s substitute of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” is in danger of becoming a national joke within 24 hours – thanks to the Home Minister and the Inspector-General of Police!

Can Najib ensure that Ganabatirau, Kengaharan and the 11 others ISA detainees would be able to leave the Kamunting Detention Centre to breathe the air of freedom latest by 8 am tomorrow?

In fact, the government is guilty of unlawful detention of the 13 ISA detainees as they should be released “with immediate effect” by the time of Najib’s telecast at 8 p.m. last night.

Is the government going to pay the 13 ISA detainees compensation for illegal detention for 24, 36 or 48 hours to demonstrate the seriousness of Najib’s “Performance Now” slogan?

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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