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Monday, September 15, 2008

ISA Arrests on September 13 2008

I would like to comment on the recent arrest of three individuals under the ISA Act. In principle, I agree that Raja Petra Kamarudin and Teresa Kok should be arrested under this Act as what they had allegedly said or written were seditious in nature. They also have the means and are capable to continue saying or doing such acts that are seditious and potentially harm the country and the people.

However, I fail to understand the whole process of the arrest under the ISA Act and subsequent release of Tan Hoon Cheng, the reporter from Sin Chew Daily. The reason given by Dato Seri Syed Hamid Albar, the Minister in charge, that the arrest was done to protect her is unjustifiable. In the first place, you do not arrest someone especially under the ISA just to protect that person from a potential danger. Then, even if she were in danger and the arrest was done to protect her, what circumstances or factors have changed in the last 24 hours that had made that threat go away and warranted her release ? I would also like to state that this individual reported based on her perception of the matter, rightly or wrongly perceived. The argument if it were right or wrong or whether that was responsible reporting should be dealt through another channel and not in any way by using the ISA Act. As a reporter, she reports how she sees it, and does not have the potential other than through her reporting to cause further harm and damage on this matter to the country and the people, unlike Raja Petra or Teresa kok.

In addition, I would like to comment on Dato Seri Syed Hamid's statement as reported in the newspapers on Sunday, 14 September 2008. Dato Seri said he was informed on Friday of the impending arrests and did not want to interfere with it. He also said as the minister (in charge), he did not want to interfere with the administration of enforcement (STAR, 14 September 2008). I would like to think that as the minister in charge and head of that ministry, he is duty bound, especially in major and sensitive cases such as invoking the ISA Act, to use his judgment and make the correct decision.

Invoking the ISA is a very serious matter and should only be used as a last resort. One must already exhaust all other means and avenues before using the ISA. The ISA should also be used sparingly in only very serious and severe circumstances. The arrest of Tan Hoon Cheng under ISA and her subsequent release a day later and especially the reason given by Dato Seri Syed Hamid makes a mockery of the ISA Act. Such actions and justifications by the Minister in charge are what make people question the ISA and its usage although in nature this Act is essential to the country.


rem said...

something's wrong if the home minister said he did not know what the police wanted to do.
i tot home minister must sign the papers before the cops do this ISA thing?
and should not the cabinet, or least core members of the cabinet (like pm, dpm), be informed also?
if they really MUST arrest the reporter who wrote up the report, they should also arrest ahmad ismail lah. that would make it seem a bit fairer lei

PKamalanathan said...

Dear Encik Ahmad Ikhmal,

Welcome to the Blogging World and your opinions on the ISA issue is welcomed. Very frank and i agree with you.

Congratulation and all the best in the blogging world.

azrain.adnan said...

as far as i know, ISA is a preventive measure. the reason given for the arrest of Tan Hoon Cheng, therefore did not qualify for the use of ISA.

this sort of 'mis-use' adds to the growing chorus of anti-ISA.

azrain adnan