Hero after hero…the BNs don’t see it, do they? (Updated)

ISA detainee Manoharan mulls resignation
Rahmah Ghazali | May 2, 09 5:00pm
Hindraf legal advisor M Manoharan, who is under ISA detention, has today confirmed that he is considering quitting his Selangor state seat of Kota Alam Shah.


manoharan and kota alam shah state seat selangorIn a statement issued by his wife S Pushpaneela, the ISA detainee said he regretted his inability to effectively serve his constituents over the past 14 months given his incarceration at the Kamunting detention camp in Taiping, Perak.

“I feel a sense of guilt of being unable to serve the voters who have voted me as their respresentative in the Selangor state assembly. I feel I am being unfair to my constituents thus far,” he said.

“I now have to consider resigning as a Selangor state assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah paving the way for a by-election in order for my constituents to re-elect their new representative who will be better able to serve them and who will be able to physically attend all the sittings of the Selangor state legislative assembly and matters arriving there from.”

Pushpaneela, who met her husband in Kamunting today, came out from the detention camp at around 4.15 pm.

Two days ago Malaysiakini reported that the detained assemblyperson was considering giving up his seat due to his frustration of not being able to physically serve his constituents, quoting an unnamed close source.

Contested under the DAP ticket

Manoharan was detained under the ISA on Dec 13, 2007 along with four other top Hindraf leaders.

He then contested under the DAP ticket for the Kota Alam Shah state seat in Selangor while in custody and defeated BN-Gerakan’s Ching Su Chen by 7,184 votes.

karpal singhHowever, Manoharan will only make the official decision after a meeting with DAP chairperson Karpal Singh on May 19 at the Kamunting Detention Camp.

According to the statement read out by Pushpaneela via telephone with Malaysiakini, her husband has “exhausted all avenues” to seek his release and all the efforts have been in vain.

“I have written a letter to former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, three letters to now Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, eight letters to former home minister Syed Hamid Albar, and two letters to Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (to gain my freedom),” said Manoharan.

hindraf isa detainee r kenghadharan and v ganabatirau released 060409Apart from that, he added, his applications to attend the state assembly sittings have all been rejected by the Home Ministry.

“(Instead), I was forced to apply for leave from the ministry,” he said.

Furthermore, Manoharan also expressed his frustration over the ISA advisory board and its panel members “who have all rejected my pleas for my release”.

“The High Court has dismissed my three habeas corpus application and the Federal Court have dismissed all the three appeals from the High Court.

“So all the efforts (I have made) have been to no avail. I am very disappointed that this had happened despite the 12,699 voters of Kota Alam Shah having voted to show that I have never ever been a threat to national security.

“The home minister defied the voice of the people and the democratic voice of the 12,699 voters,” he said.

Wife: It’s only so much I can do

Between being the breadwinner of her family and replacing Manoharan as the state assemblyperson, Pushpaneela, however, conceded that her contributions in the constituency is still unsatisfactory.

manoharan wife hindraf deepavali message 281008 s pushpaneela 2Even though she had acted on behalf of her husband for the past 14 months, she said that she still “can’t bring the constituents grievances to the state assembly”.

“I can do as much as I can in the constituency, but I cannot attend the state assembly sitting. As a state representative, you need to bring their grievances to the august House but these people have been denied (this),” she said.

Despite the hardest decision that her husband has to make, the mother of four children however said that Manoharan was “in good spirit”.

“But he just feels very guilty … the people only saw his posters and not him in person. He tried his best to be out (of prison) to serve them … but he can’t even attend the assembly sitting,” said Puspaneela.

Manoharan’s threat to quit has put Najib on the back foot.

The prime minister has lambasted the opposition for forcing by-elections for no good reasons after Penanti assembyperson Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin resigned from his Penang state seat last month.

In this case, Manoharan is arguing that he has compelling and legitimate reasons to quit, unless of course, Najib releases him from ISA detention.

The Kota Alam Shah seat is one of the three seats which falls under the Klang constituency, also held by DAP. It covers Klang town and surrounding areas.

Related reports

‘Let my constituents elect new rep’
My 500th day under ISA

K Kabilan | Apr 30, 09 11:47am
Kota Alam Shah state representative M Manoharan, who is under the Internal Security Act detention, is believed to be considering quitting his seat, Malaysiakini learnt today.

A source close to the detained lawyer said that he was growing frustrated over his inability to serve his constituents.

“He also realises the pressure he has put on his wife to work as his representative in his absence,” added the source.

manoharan wife hindraf deepavali message 281008 s pushpaneelaHis wife S Pushpaneela (right) has to juggle her time in taking care of their four young children, his legal office and his constituency, added the source.

Manoharan was detained under the ISA on Dec 13 in 2007 along with four other Hindraf leaders.

He was a legal advisor for the movement, which has since been banned by the government.

He then contested under the DAP ticket for the Kota Alam Shah state seat in Selangor while in custody and defeated BN-Gerakan’s Ching Su Chen by 7,184 votes.

Various appeals to the government and judicial reviews in courts to seek his freedom have been unsuccessful.

In his absence, Pushpaneela and several volunteers have been taking care of the constituency with the help of some DAP leaders.

“However, the workload is just too much on her. She is after all not the elected representative and there is only so much she can do for the people,” added the source.

Manoharan is now believed to have decided that it would be better for someone else to do the job as the state assemblyperson in Kota Alam Shah.

Wife meeting him on Saturday

When contacted, Pushpaneela refused to comment on the matter.

“I can’t say anything until I have met him at the Kamunting detention centre this Saturday,” she said.

“Please wait until Saturday for further information on this,” she added.

kota alam shah selangor state seat 300409If Manoharan steps down from the seat, it will pave the way for the seventh by-election in the country after the March 2008 general election.

As it is, a by-election is just around the corner – for the Penanti state seat in Penang, which will be held on May 31.

That seat became vacant after its PKR’s representative Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin quit on April 16.

The Kota Alam Shah by-election, if it happens, would be the first in Selangor and for DAP.

Pakatan has 36 seats in the state assembly as opposed to 20 held by Barisan Nasional.

The decision by Manoharan to step down, if it materialises, would come as a shock to state leaders as this was one seat which they had not anticipated a by-election.

The state however came close to hold a by-election for the Bukit Lanjan state seat held by PKR’s Elizabeth Wong after semi-nude photos of her were circulated in public earlier this year.

That did not materialise after Wong decided against resigning the seat.

Will BN contest?

A by-election in Kota Alam Shah would also put BN in a quandary as the coalition’s chairperson and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had recently lashed out at elected representatives from the opposition for quitting their seats for flimsy reasons.

najib deneis allegations of buying state assembly person 260209 01Najib had argued that the nation was better off spending money on fighting the ongoing financial crisis than wasting it on by-elections.

Worried that the ruling coalition will suffer its fifth consecutive defeats in the Peninsular, BN is contemplating not contesting the Penanti state seat. However, a final decision is expected on Monday.

The coalition may take a similar stand on Kota Alam Shah if the seat becomes vacant.

“But in the case of Manoharan, it is not that he does not want to serve his constituents. It is the decision of the government to hold him under detention, thus disabling him from performing his duty,” said the source.

“There is no way Najib can call Manoharan’s reason to quit as being flimsy. He (Manoharan) is after all seems to be thinking for the benefit of his voters,” added the source.

The Kota Alam Shah seat falls under the Klang constituency, which is also held by DAP.

st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } Meanwhile Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim denied that Manoharan was going resign from his state seat.

Speaking to reporters in Shah Alam, he brushed aside the resignation talks as speculations.

And in Penang, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng refused to comment on the matter.

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