“I tried my very best in appealing to the authorities and by way of applications to call for my freedom in order for me to effectively serve the public and my constituents in particular. I have exhausted all avenues for my release.”
KOTA Alam Shah state assemblyperson M Manoharan, on trying to do his job. Manoharan, who is being detained without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA), revealed that his applications to the Home Ministry for leave to attend Selangor state assembly sittings were all rejected. Thanking his constituents, Manoharan said, “I feel a sense of guilt [at] being unable to serve the voters who have voted me as their representative.” (Source: ‘Let my constituents elect new rep’, Malaysiakini, 2 May 2009)
Manoharan won the Kota Alam Shah seat in the 8 March 2008 general election with a 7,184-vote majority. He was one of five Hindraf leaders detained on 13 Dec 2007 for leading a massive street protest against the marginalisation of the Indian Malaysian community.
As of 8 March 2008, he had been incarcerated in the Kamunting detention facility for almost three months. He has not been released.
“After winning an election, it’s time for him to get to work. He should be responsible enough and not step down unnecessarily.”
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, commenting on Manoharan’s expressed intent to resign as assemblyperson. According to Muhyiddin, Manoharan could still serve his constituency despite being under ISA detention, and should not use that as an excuse. (Source: Muhyiddin: Don’t use ISA as a reason to quit, New Straits Times, 5 May 2009)
On 17 April, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said by-elections were a waste of time, energy and money, and that the recent spate of resignations by elected representative was “a political game for certain purposes”.
“It is a by-election that the DAP wishes not to have, unless the Barisan Nasional government is insistent on holding it.”
DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua. He said the party couldn’t help but sympathise with “the helplessness and dilemma felt by our fellow elected colleague”, and noted that the blame for any “unnecessary” by-election in Kota Alam Shah would be on the Barisan Nasional government as it had forced Manoharan’s resignation by exercising the ISA. (Source: Free Manoharan to avoid by-election, says DAP, The Edge Malaysia, 3 May 2009)
Manoharan has said he would announce his official decision after meeting with DAP chairperson Karpal Singh on 19 May.
“Pakatan could have easily appointed responsible elected representatives / party members on a rotation basis to oversee and manage the constituents’ needs as opposed to burdening a housewife …”
Hindraf leader P Waythamoorthy, who expressed disappointment that the Pakatan Rakyat coalition did not do enough to assist Manoharan, and left his duties as state assemblyperson solely to his wife S Pushpaneela. (Source: ‘Voters knew the risks, so don’t quit’, Malaysiakini, 5 May 2009)
Waythamoorthy, speaking on behalf of Hindraf, appealed to Manoharan not to resign, saying that “the people of Kota Alam Shah knew what they were voting for when they voted for Manoharan to be elected as their state representative.”