|Karpal: Release Manoharan now|
|Athi Veeranggan | Mar 17, 08 11:20am |
| Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson M Manoharan should be released immediately as his continued detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) is against “the people’s wishes”, said DAP national chairperson Karpal Singh.|
“He should be released soon to take his oath a member of the Selangor legislative assembly. He has earned his right to serve the people of Kota Alam Shah,” said Karpal.
Manoharan, a lawyer, was arrested under the ISA last December along with four leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and are now serving out a two-year detention order at the Kamunting detention camp in Perak.
A habeas corpus hearing for Manoharan’s release is scheduled for March 26, but Karpal said that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi need not wait that long to free his client.
Manoharan’s election to the Kota Alam Shah state seat has proved that the voters are unhappy and disagree with the government over his detention, said Karpal, who was himself an ISA detainee.
The veteran politician argued that it would be improper for the Barisan Nasional (BN) government to continue detaining Manoharan.
“He should be given every opportunity to take his oath and serve his constituents. Indeed all five Hindraf leaders should be freed because they were detained without reasonable and proper cause,” said Karpal.
In the March 8 polls, Manoharan won the Kota Alam Shah state seat on a DAP ticket. He polled 12,699 votes to defeat BN’s Ching Su Chen by 7,184 votes.
‘Use discretionary power’
New Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim said the oath-taking ceremony of Manoharan as a legislative member can wait until Manoharan’s release.
However, the Bar Council has argued that the government is duty-bound to allow Manoharan to be sworn in as he is an elected representative. There are two precedents to back this.
Two previous ISA detainees, Chian Heng Kai and Chan Kok Kit of DAP, were allowed to take their oath at the Kamunting camp when elected as members of Parliament in the 1978 general election.
Chian won the Batu Gajah parliamentary seat in Perak, while Chan was elected by voters in the Sungai Besi parliamentary constituency of Selangor.
Chian and Chan were sworn in as MPs in front of then Dewan Rakyat Speaker Dr Syed Nasir Ismail and in the presence of the Dewan Rakyat secretary and representatives of the camp authorities in Kamunting.
Since Manoharan's detention is based on a political matter, said Karpal, Abdullah should release him as a gesture of goodwill to Kota Alam Shah constituents.
“He has discretionary power and should immediately revoke the detention order and free Manoharan,” added Karpal.