Recently, 31 people have been arrested with the violence that erupted from the illegal assembly organised in BatuCaves on the evening of 24 November 2007. They were charged by the Attorney General Tan Sri Gani Patail for attempting murder of a policeman Dadi Abdul Rani and were denied bail by the Shah Alam court and denied bail, pending a hearing.
Despite the arrest, so many parties have expressed concerns about the HINDRAF issue, which also drew international attention. They called for the authorities to act sternly and decisively against the HINDRAF leaders and senior activists. Last Thursday 397 NGOs representing all facets and spectrum of society from all over the country converged in Kuala Lumpur and made the call, known as Damai Malaysia Declaration. Some, including trial defense lawyers even equated them as ‘extremist militants’ and charged them with the guilt of ‘high treason’.
This include UMNO leaders. NST has the story:
Disappointed over ‘slow response’
KUALA LUMPUR: A number of Umno members have expressed disappointment with the government for being “too slow” in using the Internal Security Act (ISA) to detain people suspected of having links with militants.
According to sources who attended a closed door briefing for some 1,000 Umno division leaders and members at a hotel here yesterday, party members had voiced their disappointment that the government didn’t arrest the demonstrators immediately after their illegal rallies last month.
“Some even used harsh words against the leadership for being too lenient with street demonstrators. They don’t want the government to tolerate troublemakers and militants,” said a source.
After the briefing, Umno Information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, one of the party leaders who briefed the party members, admitted that some members were angry with what they perceived as the government’s “slow response” to the problem.
“There were some members who asked why action was slow in coming. It took some time for the decision to be taken because the prime minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) did not want to be hasty in making the decision.”
He said the decision to detain the troublemakers under the ISA was only invoked after the government received strong feedback from the public.
“It was the will of the people (to invoke the ISA), and not the will of the leaders,” he added.
Sources confirmed that the mood of those 1,000 participants here yesterday was in favour of the detention without trial for the troublemakers.
The briefing also discussed other issues such as fuel subsidies and the price of consumer goods but the topic that seemed to take centre stage was the Hindraf rallies and demands which accused the government of ethnic cleansing of Indians in Malaysia.
Muhammad said Umno reaffirmed its position that there should not be militants among Malaysians, regardless of race and religion.
“Not many, including the Indians, Chinese or Malays, support the move by the minority militant group. For us, what is important is what the majority thinks.
“We want to see our country continue to be safe and prosperous with the ability to address issues that sometimes crop up,” he said.
However, this new development came as a surprise. Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday that he would ask the Attorney General to reconsider for a lesser charge and MIC President and defacto Indian community leader Dato’ Seri S. Samy Vellu also made the same call, which include the release of the accused.
The Star has the story:
Sunday December 16, 2007
PM: Murder charge protesters regret actions
KUALA LUMPUR: The 31 Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) protesters facing an attempted murder charge have voiced regret over their actions to Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.
“They also told the A-G that they will not participate in such activities in the future.
“I pity them. I have told the A-G to please consider this representation of theirs and decide as soon as possible,” he told reporters after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting at the PWTC here yesterday.
Abdullah said this when asked whether the attempted murder charge against the 31 would be dropped following appeals from various groups, including MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, for their release.
Abdullah added that the 31 protesters had said that many people had been misled by Hindraf.
The 31 were slapped with the charge after they allegedly injured a policeman at the illegal Hindraf rally on Nov 25.
Samy Vellu had said on Friday that he had conveyed the appeal of the protesters’ parents to the Attorney-General and hoped that it would be considered favourably.
He added that the parents told him their children took part in the rally without realising the consequences and also claimed that they were hoodwinked into believing it was for a worthy cause.
The Attorney General’s Chamber and Police are the authorities and agencies responsible for law enforcement in the country. They should be given the room and space to carry out their duties professionally, to ensure that order, peace, harmony and stability is maintained.
On Thursday, the Police arrested five HINDRAF leaders under ISA laws which drew both ‘yays’ and ‘nays’ within the different groups in the country.
However, with this statement, have the Government gone soft again, against the ‘extremist militants’ who purposely tried to disrupt order, peace, harmony and stability, provoked anger and incite and instigate racial and religious hatred in the multi plural society of Malaysia?
The principle of the ‘Rule of Law’ must be observed and enforced indiscriminatively, without fear or favour to anyone. If these 31 people did something to endanger the life of a policeman in carrying out his duty to ensure order, safety and law is adhered to, then they should be continued to be charged with ‘attempting murder’.
That is how a “civil society” should be; civility is maintained and reprimand disobedience, violence and felony.
*Photo uploaded from Minaq-Jinggo & The Star