KUALA LUMPUR: Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the move to release the 13 detainees was Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razakâ€™s own decision.
He said it was Najibâ€™s wish to see members of the society build the nation in the spirit of reconciliation towards the 1Malaysia concept.
“It is a good start for the government and consistent with the policy of openness for reforms.
“He has put the interest of the nation above self,” he said.
Syed Hamid said two leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) are among the 13 to be freed.
The two are V. Ganabatirau, 40, and R. Kengadharan, 40, both lawyers, who were detained on Dec 13, 2007.
Of the others freed, seven were members of Darul Islam, three foreigners who were detained for falsifying documents and a member of Jemaah Islamiah.
The seven Darul Islam members freed are Binsali Omar, A. Artas A. Burhanudin, Idris Lanama, Francis Indanan, Mohd Nazri Dollah, Pakana Selama and Mohd Arasad Patangari, all of whom have been held since 2006.
The three foreigners (held since 2007) are Sundaraj Vijay (an Indian national) and two Myanmar citizens, San Khaing and Amir Hussain.
The Jemaah Islamiah member is Wan Amin Wan Hamat who was detained since 2003. His detention period is due to end in 2011.
Syed Hamid, however, added that the government was determined to fight all forms of extremism.
“The detention was to rehabilitate them and not served in the form of punishment.
“We are happy with their rehabilitation and hope that they can now start to contribute to society,” he said.
Meanwhile, people began gathering outside the Kamunting Detention Centre yesterday evening after Najibâ€™s address despite the downpour.
When approached by reporters, a camp warden said he had not received any directive to release the 13 people.
Perak CPO Deputy Comm Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah, when contacted, said the matter was being handled by the police headquarters in Bukit Aman.
“I have not received any instructions yet,” he said.
Source : The Star