By N. Ganesan
(Hindraf national adviser)
Hindraf calls upon the Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge to exercise his discretionary powers to review the sentence and conviction of Human Rights Party (HRP) secretary general and ex-Hindraf legal advisor P. Uthayakumar.
There are provisions in the law where the High Court judge can on his own initiative, without a formal application from the accused, call for Uthayakumar’s file and review the decision of the Sessions Court judge and if appropriate set aside the conviction and the sentence.
This is what I call upon the High Court judge to do. Review the file and consider the various key points. The letter written by Uthayakumar in his capacity as legal advisor of Hindraf was nothing more than a reflection of the genuine sentiments of Malaysian Indians who felt angry and oppressed by the unlawful demolitions of Hindu temples that was occurring prolifically in 2005-2007. The judiciary has to be sensitive to the true feelings of the people. Mere words contained in a letter should not be interpreted as sedition especially if it reflected the feelings of the people who Uthayakumar represented. Further the letter was written to the British PM Gordon Brown in a fit of anger the day the Kampung Jawa Hindu temple was demolished with the full force of the State.
There are various legal issues involved which warrants the interference of the High Court judge to review the case on his own motion especially since Uthayakumar has given up hope on the judiciary and had refused to continue with his defence. Above all he has already been detained for 514 days under the draconian ISA and this 30-month sentence would be double punishment.
It makes a mockery of the legal system since Zulkifli Nordin is let off without any investigations for his seditious statements which affected the Hindus in Malaysia. It is obvious the government will not charge Zulkifli Noordin of a similar sedition charge in spite of the sedition he has committed in promoting feelings of ill-will and hostility against Hindus in his open talks to the Muslims of the country. He has openly criticized the idol and deity worship practice of the Hindus of the country. He has committed sedition.
Similarly Datuk Asri Zainul Abidin the former Mufti of Perlis who has called Indians “pariah” in his open talks to Muslims will not be called to account. He has committed sedition too. The government has not moved on these people and does not look to do that now. The law has to be applied equally on all citizens, not selectively persecute certain individuals.
This is exactly the kind of thing that should never happen in a multi-religious and multicultural country like ours – uncalled for insulting comments that cause grievous damage in inter-ethnic relationships done with impunity on the one hand, and intolerant and harsh treatment for utterances from the spokespersons of the weak and defenceless on the other hand for what are justifiable violations against them.
This must change. This is a great opportunity for the government to begin the reversal of the common sense perceptions of a large segment of the people that it supports an unfair justice system.