NST Online, 2008/10/05
Hadi: Hindraf action a democratic right
By : Sean Augustin and Sharifah Mahsinah Abdullah
KUALA TERENGGANU: The Pas chief said the action by the the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) at the prime minister's and cabinet's Hari Raya open house on Wednesday was part and parcel of democracy.
Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said it signalled a change in the democratic practices in the country that should be viewed positively.
"I don't think it was rude. That's democracy. In the United States, people demonstrate in front of the White House. It's not like they caused a commotion or started fighting," he said after the party's Hari Raya gathering at the Tarbiyyah headquarters yesterday.
In the incident on the first day of Hari Raya, Hindraf supporters went to the open house at the Putra World Trade Centre and presented a card to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi asking him to release the organisation's leaders detained under the Internal Security Act.
The card was delivered by Vwaishnnavi, the 5-year-old daughter of Hindraf leader in exile, P. Waythamoorthy. The group was led by Waythamoorthy's wife, K. Shanti.
About 20 bloggers also turned up at the open house, wearing T-shirts bearing the slogans "No to ISA" and "Free RPK", referring to the two-year detention order on Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin.
Both groups told journalists their sole intention was to send a message to Abdullah. They have been condemned for being "intimidating, disrespectful and inappropriate", with Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal saying he would raise the matter in cabinet.
In Pasir Mas, independent MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali called on political parties and non-governmental organisations to stop pressuring the government to release the Hindraf leaders.
He said MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and Hindraf should not get involved and let the government do its job.
"If the detainees are released following political interference, it will confirm allegations the ISA was being misused. Samy Vellu was a minister and he should know that the ISA is under the minister of home affairs. Even the prime minister cannot interfere."
Ibrahim was speaking at his Hari Raya open house at the Pasir Mas district hall. More than 5,000 constituents attended the event.
He warned that if Hindraf and other NGOs do not stop the pressure, he would use the Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Negara (Perkasa), which he heads, to counter their action.
"If these parties continue, we will organise a demonstration to show our displeasure. We are ready to fight off any interference in the administration of the country."
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