The Star, AFP & NST May 11, 2008
Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) supporters held nationwide protests to call for the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA), the freeing of ISA detainees and for detained Hindraf leader P. Uthayakumar to have proper medical treatment for his heart condition.
In Kuala Lumpur, some 50 supporters, including Subang Member of Parliament R. Sivarasa, gathered for half an hour in front of the Suria KLCC shopping centre in Jalan Ampang as some 200 policemen kept a close guard.
According to AFP, Siva said the government should release ISA detainees unless they had proof to charge them in open court. “As far as I am concerned, one day under ISA detention is too long, one ISA detainee is too many,” he added.
Malaysia’s ethnic Indian activists demanded that the government provide medical aid to one of its leaders. They also warned the government to free those detained under tough internal security laws or face more street rallies.
Uthayakumar and four other members of the rights group Hindraf have been detained under the tough Internal Security Act (ISA) since December after holding an anti-discrimination rally.
“This gathering is to send a clear message to the government,” Hindraf coordinator S Jayathas told reporters.
Hindraf leaders angered the government last November with a mass rally alleging discrimination in Malaysia, which is dominated by Muslim Malays.
Mounting anger within the Indian community was said to have been a factor in the ruling Barisan Nasional’s drubbing in 8 March polls where it lost its two-thirds majority in parliament.