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KUALA LUMPUR, November 24, 2014:

Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) urged Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to review the ban of a Sarawakian secession group.

In a press statement released today, its chairman P. Waytha Moorthy said the ban on Sarawak Association of Peoples Aspirations (Sapa) was “an attempt to silence the legitimate voice of the people of Sarawak”.

“A federal minister cannot and should not act with such an obstinate and arrogant attitude towards a movement that represents the genuine cause of its community to uplift them from their aggrieved position.”

Waytha suggested that Ahmad Zahid meet the NGO and hold a dialogue to ensure that its concerns were addressed.

The Sapa movement, the former Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said, voiced genuine grouses of the grassroots.

Reminding that Hindraf was similarly banned in 2008 when the NGO had raised issues pertaining to the Indian community, Waytha said various issues contained in the Inter-Governmental Committee report and Malaysia Agreement 1963 pertaining to Sarawak had yet to be implemented.

“This included not having more than 25% representation in Parliament, the equal footing as partners in power as well as issues related to Borneonisation and the quantum of Petroleum royalty, among others.”

Adding that the matter should not be handled in a “cavalier manner” by the ministry, Waytha reminded that any attempt to silence the voice of democracy would only bring negative impact and cause the voice of movements to secede from the federation to grow stronger.

SAPA, which is organising a 2nd People’s Petition to the United Nations to seek self-determination for Sabah and Sarawak was deregistered by the ministry under Section 5 of the Societies Act 1966.

The group now is in the midst of planning to take the matter to court.

On Nov 14, the ministry had declared the one-year-old NGO as illegal organisation and had frozen its assets according to Section 5 (1) of the Societies Act 1966.

Home Ministry secretary-general, Datuk Seri Mohamad Khalid Shariff said the decision was made because the organisation carried out activities detrimental to the country’s security and public order.

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