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Manoharan’s in the House… at last

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on May 11, 2009
The Malaysian Insider
By Neville Spykerman

SHAH ALAM, May 11 — After a 14-month long wait, M. Manoharan finally set foot inside the Selangor Legislative Assembly.

Manoharan, who was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for 514 days in Kamunting, was shown to his seat by Speaker Teng Chang Khim this morning.

However, the Kota Alam Shah assemblyman who was elected while under detention, will have to wait for the next sitting of the house in July to take part in debates.

“I’ve only dreamed of this moment and now I am here.” said the first-term state lawmaker.

Manoharan said the government had disrespected the 12,699 voters who voted for him by not releasing him earlier and lashed out at authorities who labelled him a terrorist to justify his prolonged detention.

He said the tipping point which finally forced the government to release him was his threat to resign his state seat.

“I believe any BN candidate who stood for the by-election would have made history by losing their deposit.”

He added that he would not comply with the restriction of his movements as imposed by police.

He said it was unconstitutional for him to have to inform the police he was leaving Klang just to come to Shah Alam. “I was never a treat to national security to begin with so there is no reason for the police to restrict my movements.”

Teng added that Manoharan was only fulfilling his duties as an assemblyman.

He said a restriction order needed to be obtained from the courts. “Manoharan is an elected representative and not a criminal. If he is a criminal, the police should obtain a restriction order.”

Teng added that Manoharan was one of four Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers in the House who are former ISA detainees. The others are Teresa Kok (Kinrara), Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim (Kota Damansara) and Saari Sungib (Hulu Klang).

“This is not a record of distinction because it’s proof the country is haunted by cruel laws.”

Teng said he was relieved that Manoharan had finally been released because he is the most senior lawyer in the legislature.

“He is even more senior (in legal practice) than me and he can contribute much to the House.”

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