ISA vigil at Kamunting detention centre yesterday

Posted on April 5, 2009



Got the following sms at 2.21 am yesterday :

4/4, Candle Vigil, 6pm dihdpan Kem Kamunting,Taiping tuntut regim UMNO bebaskan Wira2 HINDRAF P. Uthayakumar masalah kesihatan & YB Manoharan. Dtg ramai2. Pakai baju oren & bawa kain oren. Sebarkan.

I was upset that the Makkal Sakti folk still did not see the need to take a more inclusive stance in calling for the release of all ISA detainees, and not just the HINDRAF detainees.

Why just their wira-wira HINDRAF?

What about Mat Satray?

What about the fact that he’s still in Kamunting because his wife, Norlaila,

norefuses to ease up on her efforts, through Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA, to secure the release of ALL ISA detainees?

I decided to attend the vigil, not to participate in the same, but for the purpose only of voicing my unhappiness at the continued exclusivist approach taken by the Makkal Sakti folk, and to report on the event.

A team of us got to the detention centre a little after 6pm.

No-one there yet.

Did Najib say that the ISA will be reviewed?

Did this consciousness for the need for such a review only just descend upon him?

Or has he always harboured this view, but given that he was second in command of a repressive regime under the command of Pak Lah that he felt the need to conceal this enlightened side of him until such time as he rose to office high enough to carry through his move to give life to his vision?

kamunting-renoWell, maybe you can walk your talk by halting this project to renovate the existing detention facility at Kamunting, eh, Jibby?

Maybe you can turn this detention centre into a museum to showcase the cruelty of some of your predecessors?

Not quite what you had in mind, Jibby?

Or you need to first take directions from Dr M and Rosmah?

You’ll forgive us if we don’t hold out much hope on your translating your words into action.

Your track record does not allow for anything other than disbelief in all that you say and promise.

Jayathas, who I understood was to lead the vigil, and friends arrived shortly after.


Took the opportunity to register with Jayathas, in the strongest of terms, our disagreement with the fact that the announced vigil that evening was stated to be only to press for the release of the HINDRAF detainees.

At the same time that plainclothes police started to arrive, the famous Taiping rain kicked in.

Seemed quite funny, actually, that vigilers and police had to take shelter from the torrential rain under the same cover.


Whilst waiting under the shelter for the rain to ease up, and with the help of Viveg and Nanda, got to chatting with Uncle Segaran.


Aged 76, he was passing the detention centre and saw the slow build up of the vigilers, and having heard that detainees were due to be released, assumed that we were all there to be on hand to receive the released detainees. He was in fact on his way to deliver food to his son, and immediately made his way back to where we were.

He informed us that he had worked on an estate thatonce included the land that is now occupied by the detention centre.

For the last five years, he has been without work and on welfare assistance, receiving RM300 a month. He and his wife survive on this amount.

This small amount, he said, was actually got through the assistance of a Malay lady, his neighbour who felt sorry for him and helped him make the application.

Asked who he would be voting for, he clarified that he did not belong to the parliamentary constituency of Bukit Gantang, but in fact voted in Taiping, for DAP.

Asked what he thought of MIC, his reply was short and to the point.

“Takda guna, lah”.

By now, it was little past 8pm, and the rain had now petered down to a drizzle.

The vigilers crossed the road to the centre and took their positions

All 29 of them,  banners and all.



28 FRU personnel took up position, flanking the vigilers on both sides.


Thankfully, in calling to free the ISA detainees, the vigilers and Jayathas, in his press conference, were more inclusive.

Thankfully, too, there was no untoward incident, and thevigil closed just before 9pm, incident-free.

Posted in: Bukit Gantang