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Uthayakumar released with conditions, court told

KUALA LUMPUR, 23 June 2009: P Uthayakumar’s release from Internal Security Act (ISA) detention in May was with conditions, the High Court was told today.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Noorin Badaruddin said the Hindraf lawyer was released subject to seven restrictions set out in the directive to suspend the detention order by the Home Ministry dated 8 May.

Among others, Uthayakumar was not allowed to leave the area of his residence and change his place of residence except with the Inspector-General of Police’s written permission, she said.

“Therefore, if the court allows Uthayakumar’s application for the return of his travel document, it would breach the Home Ministry’s directive,” she said in objecting to Uthayakumar’s application for the return of his passport from the court on the grounds of seeking medical treatment abroad.

“A passport is not an applicant’s absolute ownership. It is issued in the name of His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and under the control of the home minister. Therefore the right to travel overseas can be denied if there are criminal charges against the applicant,” she said.

“The applicant also did not furnish any evidence that he is sick and requires treatment overseas, and there is no proof that the treatment claimed cannot be obtained in our country,” Noorin added.

Uthayakumar speaking to his supporters after his release on 7 May (Pic courtesy of Hindraf)

Uthayakumar, who was represented by counsel N Surendran, also sought a reduction of the RM50,000 bail imposed on him by a Sessions Court judge in 2007.

On 11 Dec 2007, Uthayakumar pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to publishing a seditious letter on a website. The charge under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948 carries a fine not exceeding RM5,000, or imprisonment up to three years, or both.

Two days later, Uthayakumar was detained under the ISA following his involvement in street demonstrations here on 25 Nov 2007 and seditious remarks against the government.

Surendran argued that the RM50,000 bail imposed on his client was excessive, and the additional condition for his travel document to be handed over to the court was wrong.

He said no additional conditions could be imposed on Uthayakumar because the offence under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act was bailable.

Lawyer Karpal Singh had also been charged in a sessions court in March with an offence under the Act, but the bail imposed was only RM2,000 and there was no additional condition, he said.

In reply, Noorin said, “It is improper to equate Karpal’s case with that of the applicant because the facts in the two cases are different and Karpal is not under a restriction order.”

Surendran, who was dissatisfied with the words “Hindraf extremist group” in the restriction directive, added: “The restrictive conditions by the Home Ministry should not be taken into account because it was made with malice (sic) intent. In this case, the real extremists are the home minister and Barisan Nasional government.”

Judicial Commissioner Zainal Azman Ab Aziz  fixed 10 July to deliver his decision. — Bernama

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2 Responses to “Uthayakumar released with conditions, court told”

  1. Gopal Raj Kumar says:

    Uthayakumar and his political movement should now concentrate on objective reforms and promoting the interests of Indian Malaysians in harmony with the interests of Malaysians of other groups. They should now engage in constructive engagement with even their adversaries to achieve common goals. Seek out those things that bind and not those which divide.

    The idea of being a martyr these days is counterproductive and serves no useful purpose. Uthayakumar has made his point. He is without doubt a man of his convictions and has served time in respect of his beliefs, which is a lot more than can be said of many more in political circles on both sides of the divide.

    There is a long road ahead. There is no need to challenge what cannot be challenged without an unnecessary high cost to oneself and to their purpose.

    The situation he finds himself in is not too dissimilar to the position many others in opposition find themselves in. A lawyer’s picnic.

    Uthayakumar and others like him need to be considerate and calculating in how they pursue their objectives. Going to court in a US-style battle of the litigious is never going to get them anywhere. At least in a place like Malaysia where there is more acknowledgment and appreciation for the fruits of one’s labour trickling to the masses rather than an indulgence in political pantomimes like going to jail.

    The cliched rallies, court appearances, surrendering to the force of law, courting arrest, being openly and deliberately defiant to challenge something that has less value if left alone and with energies channeled elsewhere, that is the kind of stuff old movies are made of. It has no political value at the real level where it counts.

    Lee Kuan Yew was a crafty person who did not court arrest like his counterparts did. He avoided it, thereby projecting the image of an invincible though intrepid leader. He found his freedom more productive to change things than to indulge himself in symbolic gestures of being arrested or detained.

    How can anyone have any confidence in a man who aspires to lead when most of his time is spent incarcerated? Gandhi did it a long time ago like Nelson Mandela did in a different set of circumstances and in a different time and place. That sort of indulgence does not have currency in Malaysia.

  2. Fairminded says:

    BN is using the ISA and also the court to bankrupt any opposition members in order to destroy the opposition. It is like how PAP operates in Singapore. The strategy of BN is getting clearer now. No fast, crude “Operations Lalang” but a gradual strangling of the opposition by the use of ISA and the court. Now the purpose of LKY’s visit is getting clearer. LKY loves the BN because it will prevent Malaysia from competing with Singapore.

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