Sunday, September 14, 2008

Reporter released, when will the others..?

Sin Chew Daily News reporter Tan Hoon Cheng was released barely 24 hours after her detention under the draconian law ISA. Read here for the report. Raja Petra and MP Teresa Kok is not released yet.

Why they were detained under ISA? The STAR reports this:
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Today news portal editor Raja Petra Kamarudin was arrested under the Internal Security Act for allegedly being a threat to security, peace and public order.

Raja Petra, 58, who was arrested under Section 73(1) of the ISA, is alleged to have posted articles deemed seditious and that also belittle Islam.

Last week, the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) and several Muslim organisations lodged a police report against him for allegedly insulting Malays, Muslims and Islam.

On Sept 6, under The Corridors of Power article posted on Malaysia Today, Raja Petra had hinted that it might be his last article until Sept 16, if he were to be detained under the ISA. He is banking on Anwar’s Sept 16 promise for an early release from ISA.

“Yes, I too have placed not only my money, but also my freedom on Anwar. And if Anwar fails to deliver his promise on Sept 16, not only he but I as well am headed for a fall,” he said in his posting.

Raja Petra, founder of the controversial news portal, was charged in the Sessions Court on Aug 15 on three counts of criminal defamation over his statutory declaration on the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng is believed to have been arrested over her report on former Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s racist remarks while campaigning for the Permatang Pauh by-election last month.

Tan, 32, is an award-winning journalist with nine years of experience. She is a Mass Communication graduate from Universiti Sains Malaysia.

DAP’s Seputeh MP Teresa Kok is also assemblyman for Kinrara and a senior executive councillor in charge of investment, industry and trade.

Kok, 43, is believed to have been picked up in connection with a residents petition in Puchong over a mosque.

Former mentri besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo had allegedly accused Kok of being involved.

She subsequently denied the allegation and demanded an apology from Dr Mohd Khir and the newspaper which reported it.
And here is the reply from the Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar (known by some as Kodomo Lion) on why these arrest were made: (taken from The Star)
Syed Hamid said the police had detained Tan because they had received information that her life was being threatened and there might be possible injury to her and the police wanted to get to the bottom of it.

Tan was the reporter who first reported on Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s allegedly racist comments during the Permatang Pauh by-election in which he said the Chinese were “squatters” in the country.

This caused a furore among the non-Malays and led to Umno giving him a three-year suspension for his comments and actions.

Syed Hamid said the police thought it was best to get first-hand information from Tan and thus took her in under the ISA and released her a day later after they got the necessary information and found no reason to hold her.

“I don’t think we are being unfair or that we mistreated her in any way. We acted professionally and after a day released her,” he said, when asked if Tan had posed a security threat in any way.

Asked why the police did not just ask Tan to come in for questioning instead of arresting her, Syed Hamid said it was always difficult when it came to the police when dealing with reporters.

“All of us are subject to the law. When the police feel it is best to bring the person in under ISA, they do so. I think the most important thing is not to exercise unfairness. When they got what they wanted and found they had no reason to hold her and that she’s not a security threat and not disturbing public order, they released her immediately,” he said.

On Raja Petra, he said, the blogger had been given numerous warnings as well as been charged but he continued to create tension.

As for Kok, he said, she had supposedly questioned the sensitive issues such as the azan (call for prayers for Muslims) to be stopped and that could cause ill will and disharmony.

“Based on police work, they have found there has been real fear on the ground because people are worried of what can possibly happen,” he said.

On why Ahmad was not detained for making racist comments, he explained that Umno had already punished him by suspending him for three years and stripping him from the party post while the police was also still investigating a sedition report against him.

When asked why action was not taken against other politicians like Datuk Seri Khir Toyo for racist remarks made, he said people should stop looking at things from an ethnic angle and start thinking as Malaysians.

To a question, Syed Hamid said he did not believe the Government would call a state of emergency because the country was well under control and “we have taken all sorts of preventive measures.”
Now if you believe Syed Hamid... you believe me when I told you that pigs can fly. First and foremost there is no reason for the use of ISA. Even other BN component parties are shocked (you never heard of this during Tun Dr. Mahathir's time).

To arrest the reporter and not the perpetrator..? Then release her after public pressure..? Tsk... tsk... flip flop again. And to cover up saying that her arrest was because she is in danger? Sounds not convincing.

Ahmad Ismail not detained because he has been punished by UMNO? That party matters... this is national matters... if the reporter is detained then the perpetrator should also be detained under the same reasoning. Doesn't Ahmad's life in danger also... no? He needs police protection... no? See... ISA is just for people other than UMNO. Khir Toyo wasn't detained although he was the one who make the remarks on Teresa... I rest my case... hemmm...

This looks more like a crackdown and intimidation than anything else. Down with ISA... and you guess it... PM in distress

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