Manoharan not quitting, no by-election in Kota Alam Shah

By Melissa Loovi, The Malaysian Insider

Kota Alam Shah state assemblyman M. Manoharan, one of the three Hindraf leaders released from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) today, will not be quitting his seat.

This means there will not be any by-election in the Selangor state constituency.

Manoharan told reporters at his home tonight that the mention of his possible resignation may have sped up his release because “Barisan Nasional (BN) would be afraid to lose another by-election.”

“We had so many Pakatan people offering to take my place and I think the BN candidate would have even lost his deposit if they contested against us,” he said while sipping a cup of homemade teh tarik.

He also acknowledged the possibility that the latest ISA releases were timed to take the heat off of the government after Thursday’s shambolic Perak state assembly sitting.

Manoharan had recently contemplated quitting his seat as he said he was not able to serve his constituents well from behind bars.

He had won his seat in last year’s general election while he was in detention for his role in the 2007 mass protest organised by the Indian rights group.

Amid an overwhelming tide of supporters and family members, Manoharan was thrilled to be home at last, but the first-term lawmaker, who only managed to set foot in his constituency of Kota Alam Shah today, was most excited about finally serving the people who voted for him.

“My heartfelt thanks to the wonderful constituents who voted for me without even meeting me, and all those who have served my community in my absence. The amazing team led by my wife made it possible all this while and now I can finally take over,” said the tired yet cheerful-looking Hindraf lawyer.

His wife Pushpaneela had actually logged on to news portals today in order to get the latest on her husband’s release because the police would not update her on anything beyond stating he would be released today.

“I just want us to be able to reconstruct our lives again now that my husband is home,” she said.

"It is through the prayers and support of many people, including all the DAP and other Pakatan leaders that I am able to be back home today, in time to celebrate Mother's Day with my beloved mother," said Manoharan while hugging his mother tightly.

His three children — twins Harinaran and Shivaranjini, and the youngest Ganendra — clustered around him holding a homemade pink manila card with “Welcome Home Papa” in rainbow colours as he leaned over to kiss his wife on the cheek.

“So Makkal Sakhti has gotten me released today,” said the man who lost 15kg while serving his detention without trial. He was also locked up for 15 hours each day with only the weekly family visits to look forward to.

“Well, one advantage is that I learned Mandarin for two hours every Friday!” he quipped.