DAP man baffled by arrests over LTTE

Klang MP Charles Santiago says LTTE was fighting for the rights of the Tamils, just like the Palestinians are fighting against  Israeli occupation.

KUALA LUMPUR: Klang MP Charles Santiago has questioned the arrests of two DAP assemblymen for alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), saying the separatist group is now defunct and there are no attempts to revive the movement.

He said the arrests were a waste of police time and resources as LTTE has no network in Malaysia.

He also said he was baffled as the men were not at the forefront of the Tamil Tigers’ struggle.

“I’m not sure what is the motivation behind their arrests.

“It definitely raises a lot of questions because, even in Sri Lanka, the movement does not exist,” he told reporters at the Parliament today, adding that leaders of the group were killed in a civil war many years ago.

Santiago also questioned why the LTTE members were not perceived as “freedom fighters” in Malaysia — in the same way Palestinian supporters were.

He said the LTTE’s struggle was similar to that of the Palestinians, adding that both were against powerful states involved in land grab and economic subjugation.

“There, the Israeli state goes after the Palestinians. Here, the Sri Lankan state goes after the Tamils. This is the only difference.

“Otherwise, the reality is the same. But because we live in Malaysia, with a racial lens, everything comes from a racial point of view,” he said.

Santiago said Malaysia must decide if LTTE is a freedom movement or a terrorist group.

“They are freedom fighters. ‘Freedom fighters’ mean they want the sovereignty of the land, autonomy of the land and they want to determine the future of their own people, the same like the Palestinians.”

Police have arrested three men, including two DAP assemblymen from Melaka and Negeri Sembilan, believed to be over their alleged links to terrorism, FMT has learnt.

Gadek assemblyman G Saminathan, who is also a Melaka state executive councillor, and Seremban Jaya assemblyman P Gunasekaren were arrested by Bukit Aman officers along with the leader of an Indian NGO from Perak.

A source said they are being investigated for links with LTTE.