Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Hindraf to Obama: Help close Kamunting camp, too
Jan 20, 09 4:01pm
The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has sought the help of US president-elect Barack Obama to close the Kamunting detention camp in Taiping, Perak.
Four Hindraf members made the plea in a press statement issued today, saying that the movement welcomes Obama’s decision to close the camp for suspected militants in Guantanamo Bay.
The four held up a banner outside the US Embassy in Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, in a 15-minute demonstration this morning.The assembled police force of about 100 personnel was surprised at the ‘small’ turnout. However, this was Hindraf’s bid to get around the restriction on gatherings of more than four people, which require a police permit.In the statement signed by S Jayathas, Hindraf also congratulated Obama on his inauguration - scheduled for 1am tomorrow, Malaysian time.
Hindraf - banned by the government on Oct 15 last year - also said it counts on his support to help Indian Malaysians who “are being suppressed by the Umno-led government”.R Shan, the movement’s representative in New York, is expected to hand over a petition to Obama in Washington today.A similar petition will be submitted to Najib Abdul Razak when he becomes the prime minister of Malaysia in March.
Hindraf came to prominence in 2007, when it took up a variety of causes close to the Indian Malaysian community. This culminated in a massive street protest on Nov 25 that year.Five of its leaders have since been detained in Kamunting for at least two years under the Internal Security Act, which Hindraf says should be abolished.