Indian origin lawmaker shot dead in Malaysia


Kuala Lumpur : Sithan Krishnasamy, an Indian origin lawmaker of Malaysia’s Tenggaroh state, was shot dead Friday by an unidentified assailant.

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Krishnasamy, 61, who was vice-president of the Johor unit of Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), the country’s largest party of ethnic Indians, was shot point blank and a man was seen fleeing on a motorcycle, media reports said.

A woman colleague, R. Vithya Mohan, saw the man speeding away. The reports raised questions as to whether the crime was politically motivated.

MIC is a member of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s 14-party Barisan Nasional ruling coalition.

Krishnasamy was shot dead around 2.10 p.m. (local time) when he was moving to the second floor of a building to attend a party meeting, The Sun newspaper said.

Johor police deputy chief Mohamad Mokhtar Mohd Sharif said a special unit has been set up to probe the murder and appealed to the public to refrain from speculating the motive.

“Let us do the investigating,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

The New Straits Times termed the killing as “gangland-style”.

Krishnasamy, who was also a MIC’s central committee member, was elected Tenggaroh assemblyman in the 2004 general election.

Another MIC colleague S. Arumugam told media that Krishnasamy had lunch with him and other party colleagues at a restaurant before excusing himself to attend the party meeting.

Krishnasamy is the second MIC assemblyman to be shot dead. In November 2000, a pillion rider on a motorcycle shot Kedah’s Lunas assemblyman Joe Fernandez, 54, when he stopped at a traffic lights junction.

The minority ethnic Indian population that forms roughly eight percent of the 27 million population are in turmoil after more than 10,000 Indians staged an anti-government protest in November to complain of racial discrimination and accused the MIC of selling out their interests.

The Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf), the body that organised the rally has been banned and its five top leaders are in jail on charge of threatening national security.