PUTRAJAYA, 20 May 2009: No action will be taken against former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee P Uthayakumar for failing to appear before an ISA advisory panel meeting at the Kamunting Detention Centre in Taiping yesterday, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
He said that he was informed that Uthayakumar’s presence before the panel was not a condition for his release (from ISA detention).
“The advisory panel calling former detainees to appear before it is not to evaluate their level of rehabilitation. If he (Uthayakumar ) did not attend, this will be entered into the panel’s report but it does not violate any conditions whereby action can be taken,” he told reporters after chairing his ministry’s post-cabinet meeting here today.
Hishammuddin was asked to comment on the action by the leader of the outlawed the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) in not attending the meeting scheduled for 10.30am yesterday despite four other Hindraf leaders, who were also released from ISA detention, doing so.
Asked about Uthayakumar’s refusal to sign for the conditions of his release from ISA detention, he said: “The fact he did not sign it is not against the law, and it will not affect the release.”
Hishammuddin, however, said he viewed seriously the statements being made by Uthayakumar concerning street demonstrations and his accusations and threats against the government, particularly the ministry.
“We will not compromise on this matter and if laws are broken, we will take the appropriate action,” he said.
On the review of several laws that came under the ministry, Hishammuddin said besides getting the feedback of experts, he would also be going to the ground to get the views of the public.
“All preventive detentions, those involving assemblies and issues regarding free speech will be reviewed, and most probably will be more lenient,” he said.
Asked on police action in clamping down on gatherings, including small ones and candlelight vigils, and claims that their action has made as if wearing black was an offence, Hishammuddin said:”It is not as simple as the way it is being painted.”
“That’s how it has been made to look at but there are many things which the public, including those involved (in gatherings), do not know or realise. Just wearing black of course is not an offence. Don’t think I’m too naive to say we are going to imprison everybody who wears black.
“But there is more to it than that. And if they want to sue me and the Inspector-General of Police for that, both of us are willing to go to court and explain whatever actions that have been taken,” he said. — Bernama