We’ll close Kamunting if returned to power’

Humayun Kabir | July 15, 2012
Former Perak MB and state Pakatan chief Mohammad Nizar says the Kamunting Detention Centre which houses ISA detainees is a blackspot in the state's history.
TAIPING: Pakatan Rakyat will close down the Kamunting Detention Centre if it is returned to power in the state in the coming general election.
Perak Pakatan chief and former menteri besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said: “We will try every means and avenues possible to close this detention centre which is a black spot in our historic state.”
“We do not want this eyesore to remain in our beloved land. Instead we will try to convert this detention centre into a university campus or turn it a historic centre of learning or make it a tourist attraction centre,” he added after participating in an anti-ISA rally here today.
He was however quick to add that the incoming Pakatan state government would have to study the terms and conditions for the occupation of the state land by the federal government before taking any steps to close down the centre.
Nizar also recalled that Pakatan had opposed the continuation of the detention centre in Taiping during the 11 months of its rule of the state.
“We had even then suggested that BN can shift this camp from Taiping to Johor which is Umno’s home state,” he lamented.
He said this to FMT after joining about 300 others from various NGOs and Pakatan political parties to protest against the continuation of detention of the 45 Internal Security Act detainees.
The protesters had come out in support of some of the ISA detainees who had gone on a hunger strike demanding for their immediate release or  to be charged in court for their alleged offences.
Ramadhan rally

Earlier, national PAS youth chief Nasruddin Hassan Tantawi told the crowd that the party’s youth wing will use the coming fasting month to highlight the plight of the 45 ISA detainees and take the necessary steps to free them.
Also present at the rally were NGO GMI chief Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh  and his secretary Syukri Razab, celebrity Bob Lokman and actor Leman Raja Lawak.
Syed Ibrahim said that his organisation would launch a campaign of Ramadhan greeting cards in support for the release of the 45 detainees.
Perak PAS youth information chief Akmal Kamarudin meanwhile claimed that the police had placed road blocks at both ends of the camp and prevented about 1,000 PAS youth supporters from participating in the rally this morning.
He added that supporters on motorcycles from the rural areas including Batu Kurau, Selama and Ijok had come dressed in PAS green colours and were prevented by the police from entering the protest area.
Akmal said that about 100 youths had taken a longer route to bypass the police road blocks by using the back dirt rural roads to reach the event.
The Taiping police however said that only about 100  PAS youth members turned up for the rally but were turned away as no notice of this event was given by the organisers to the police.
At the close of the one hour protest, Nizar crossed over the main road to the heavy presence of the police force in front of the camp and shook hands with them including the Taiping police chief.
The Kamunting Detention Centre in Taiping has been used by the federal government to house all ISA detainees. The remaining 45 ISA detainees being held in the camp are the last of those that were held under the now-repealed Internal Security Act.
The act has been replaced with the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, and the federal government has not stated its plan for the detention camp.

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