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Why Gani Patail’s personal appearance to lay charges against 26 people for attempted murder of a cop when Attorney-General does not think it important to personally handle the high-profile Mongolian Altantunya Shaariibuu murder trial?

Media Conference (1)         
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Wednesday): The personal appearance of the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail at the Shah Alam Sessions Court yesterday to lay charges against 26 Hindraf supporters for attempted murder of a cop has raised many questions.

The first question is why Gani Patail thought it important to appear on an attempted murder charge when he never thought it important to personally handle the high-profile Mongolian Altantunya Shaariibuu murder trial on its 66th day of High Court trial in very same court building in Shah Alam, although the murder trial of the Mongolian woman has far-reaching national and international implications in view of ramifications reaching to the highest government level?

Yesterday, the Shah Alam High Court was told that plastic explosives were placed on three parts of Altantunya Shaariibuu’s body – her head, chest and lower abdomen – before she was blown up when the explosive were detonated simultaneously by using a single detonator connected to all three parts.

Secondly, questions arising from one of disbelief that as many people as 26 people are being charged for the attempted murder of a cop injured in the Batu Caves fracas in connection with the Kuala Lumpur Hindraf demonstration on November 25, a charge which entailed a maximum 20 years’ jail with fine for the 26 persons.

If the Attorney-General succeeds in his prosecution and in securing maximum sentence, Malaysia will create world history in getting the most number of people sent for life sentence for the attempted murder of a cop – but what a world record!

These troubling thoughts raise the further question as to the real motives of the re-arrest and new charge of attempted murder for 26 people – and whether this is conducive to the larger national objective to de-escalate the tensions caused by the long-standing marginalization of the Malaysian Indians and highlighted by the 30,000-strong Hindraf demonstration on November 25.

Several policemen were hurt in the Hindraf demonstration – including Dadi Abdul Rani, the policeman named in the attempted murder charge of the 26 people, sub-inspector Chew Choon Peng, Sergeant-Major Harjigt Singh and Lance Corporal Razali Redzuan. Many more Hindraf supporters were injured.

Such injuries, whether suffered by policeman or by Hindraf supporters, could and should have been avoided if the police had handled the Hindraf demonstration with professionalism and greater respect for the constitutional rights of Malaysians to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

This is why there should be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Hindraf demonstration, carrying out an objective and professional investigation into the police handling of the Hindraf gathering and the long-standing grievances of the Indian community on their marginalization as full and equal Malaysian citizens, whether in the political, economic, educational, social, cultural or religious sphere.

The Attorney-General should suspend all prosecutions until a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Hindraf demonstration has been set up and come out with its findings. Gani Patail should personally recommend that such a Royal Commission of Inquiry should be set up without any delay.

There is currently a very strange phenomenon in the Barisan Nasional. On Monday, the MIC MP for Cameron Highlands S.K. Devamany let down the Indian community and the Malaysian people when he tendered his regret and apology for saying in Parliament that the 50,000 people at the Hindraf demonstration on Nov. 25 showed the Government’s failure in distributing wealth equally and nation-building.

MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu loudly denied that the Malaysian Indians had been marginalized.

But leaders of MCA and Gerakan apparently disagreed with the MIC leaders – as MCA National Vice President and Health Minister, Datuk Chua Soi Lok had gone on public record twice as calling on the government to be responsive to and address the sense of alienation, discrimination and deprivation of the marginalized Indians. A Penang Gerakan Assemblywoman had also expressed similar sentiments about the marginalization of the Malaysian Indians.

The question is why some MCA and Gerakan leaders are prepared to admit that there is serious marginalization among the Malaysian Indians, which is strenuously denied by the MIC leadership, when h MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders are not prepared about the marginalization of the Malaysian Chinese – as they were the most ferocious in attacking Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew when he made the remark about the marginalization of the Chinese in Malaysia not so long ago.

Is this solely because MCA and Gerakan leadership are more worried than MIC leaders about the electoral effects of the marginalization of the Malaysian Indians and their frustration when their “cry of desperation” is totally ignored – as there are at least 24 Parliamentary and 38 State Assembly seats in Peninsular Malaysia where Indian voters are more than 10% and can lead to the defeat of Barisan Nasional candidates?


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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