SHAH ALAM, 5 May 2009: Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has launched a signature campaign to demand for the immediate release of Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson M Manoharan and other Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees.
Selangor executive councillor and Kinrara assemblyperson Teresa Kok said Selangor PR has also formed a committee called the Release Manoharan & Other ISA Detainess Committee last night to champion the FreeMano campaign.
“We’ll submit the signatures to the prime minister, home minister, and also the ISA Advisory Board through Manoharan’s defence lawyer Karpal Singh,” Kok, who is also member of parliament (MP) for Seputeh, said.
She said the board would be meeting on 18 and 19 May to review Manoharan’s detention. As such, the FreeMano campaign would end on 17 May so that the signatures could be submitted in time.
Kok explained that they would collect signatures from the public online and also in person during ceramah held in Selangor, particularly around Kota Alam Shah, Manoharan’s constituency.
“We hope the public and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will help us to collect as many signatures as possible and make this campaign a success,” she said.
Also present at the press conference was Seri Setia assemblyperson Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad as Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)’s representative, while Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, who is a former ISA detainee, represented PAS.
Other Selangor assemblypersons included Elizabeth Wong and Ronnie Liu, while Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh also attended.
At the press conference. Manoharan’s wife S Pushpaneela is seated, third from left; next to her is Teresa Kok
Kok stressed that Manoharan was innocent and was detained under the ISA simply because he was the legal adviser for the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf)’s leaders.
“The government’s action is unreasonable and unfair. It’s the same with all the other detentions without trial,” said Kok, who herself was detained under the ISA last September.
She said Manoharan’s 8 March election victory has demonstrated that the public is sympathetic to his plight.
“Those are votes of protest against the ISA, cruel laws. To deny Manoharan the right to represent the interest of his constituents is a violation of human rights,” said Kok.
She said Manoharan’s habeas corpus applications to the High Court and appeals to the Federal Court have all been denied, and the state assemblyperson has exhausted all possible means to free himself from detention.
“We can understand how disappointed he and his family members felt,” said Kok, adding that PR leaders and supporters have expressed their support to Manoharan, hoping he would continue to keep his seat.
She further said the public could send their letters of encouragement or support to Manoharan via e-mail at [email protected].
In a statement released on 2 May, Manoharan said he is considering resigning from his Kota Alam Shah seat because he felt guilty for “being unable to serve the voters”.
Manoharan’s wife S Pushpaneela has been serving the Kota Alam Shah constituents on his behalf since last March.