Call On Abdullah Badawi To Clarify Conflicting And Misleading Ministerial Explanation In Parliament Regarding The Police Abuse Of Indian IT Professionals

Press Statement
by Teresa Kok

(Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday): I have sent a letter to the Acting Prime Minister via Minister of Entrepreneur Development Dato' Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz to express my displeasure and outrage at the explanation given by the Deputy Home Minister Datuk Zainal Abidin on March 20, 2003 in the Dewan Rakyat on the accusation of abuse of police powers against Indian IT professionals during a raid on the Palm Court Condominium in Brickfields recently.

In his reply, Zainal Abidin denied that the police had use force against the Indian nationals. He also denied that their passports were scratched and defaced as alleged by the Indian IT professionals.

Zainal Abidin is not being truthful as DAP leaders and I had visited more than a hundred of the Indian nationals at Palm Court Condominium two weeks ago where we were told of how the police had abused them and defaced and damaged the visa page of their passport during the operation concerned. That is why the I am incensed by the lie told by the Deputy Home Minister.

The police brutality had caused a considerable number of them to resign from their jobs and return home to India. It had also resulted in tension in the bilateral relationship between Malaysia and India where Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Nazri was questioned by Indian ministers during his visit to India and Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng was denied entry into India. In addition, the Indian government had also threatened to reduce the import of palm oil from Malaysia and had in fact refused to send their national hockey team to participate in the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament.

Clearly, this unfortunate incident had smeared the image of our country and undermined our efforts to promote the Malaysian tourism industry in India as well as internationally.

Zainal Abidin's denial of police brutality in the Dewan Rakyat directly contradicts the statements of apology issued by both the Secretary General of the Home Ministry Datuk Seri Aseh Che Mat and the Acting Prime Minister cum Home Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The conflicting statements by such important office bearers in the Home Ministry are shocking. Zainal Abidin's remark in Parliament would only worsen the diplomatic ties between the Indian and the Malaysian governments.

In my letter to Dato' Seri Abdullah Badawi, I urged him to correct the conflicting statements by the Home Ministry as a mark of the ministry's respect towards Parliament. In my letter, I had also expressed the hope that Abdullah, as future Prime Minister, could address the attitude of lying which is a common problem amongst ministers and deputy ministers when making speeches and giving replies in the Dewan Rakyat.

Hence, Abdullah should clarify the conflicting and misleading ministerial explanation made by Zainal Abidin in Parliament regarding the police abuse of Indian IT professionals in order to restore the image, accountability and credibility of the Malaysian government and Parliament.


* Teresa Kok, DAP MP for Seputeh