DAP national vice-chairperson M Kulasegaran is puzzled at the reaction of inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar to the reported celebration of the birthday of deceased Tamil Tiger leader V Prabhakaran.

prabhakaran tamil tigers leader shot dead in sri lanka conflict  190509 03Alluding to a Bernama news report that said a man has been arrested by police and six others are wanted for questioning, presumably over their participation in a birthday celebration for Prabhakaran, the leader of the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE) who was killed in the final stages of the civil war (1983-2011) in Sri Lanka.

The celebration was reportedly held in Kulim last Saturday.

Kulasegaran said his puzzlement over the Bernama report stemmed from a reply he received to a question he raised in Parliament in 2004.

"The government categorically stated that the LTTE was not a banned organisation in Malaysia," said the MP for Ipoh Barat.

"Hence I'm puzzled that individuals could be arrested in Malaysia for celebrating the birthday of someone who belonged to an organisation that was not under any ban here," he queried.

Kulasegaran said Khalid's reported remarks following the arrest of a man in connection with the birthday celebration raised more questions than answers.

Bernama quoted Khalid as saying, "What has this terrorist got to do with our country? Why try to invite people to glorify a terrorist?"

Mandela, too, was once a 'terrorist'

Kulasegaran observed that people in Malaysia have celebrated the birthdays of world renowned leaders like Nelson Mandela, Yasser Arafat and S Chandra Bose - all of whom, noted the federal legislator, were regarded as 'terrorists' by assorted quarters during their lifetimes.

NONE"Will such celebrations now be proscribed after someone has been arrested for celebrating the late LTTE leader's birthday?" asked Kulasegaran (left).

"I think by their action of arresting the celebrant or celebrants of Prabhakaran's birthday, the police here have strayed into territory that is better left untouched because the LTTE is not a banned organisation in Malaysia and so its founder is not consigned to a list of unmentionables," asserted the federal legislator.

"This country needs to allow its citizens more democratic space. Arresting people for celebrating the birthdays of leaders who may be terrorists in the eyes of some and freedom fighters in the reckoning of others is not the way to cope with dissenting opinions," argued Kulasegaran.