BN members lash out at the arrests

BN members lash out at the arrests

PETALING JAYA: Ministers and party leaders within Barisan Nasional have lashed out at Fridays ISA arrests.

Some have gone as far as to call for the Act to be comprehensively reviewed, while others maintained that the draconian law is still relevant but should never be abused or used against civilians.

MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said MCA felt that if the ISA was really necessary, it must only be invoked in the most extreme cases.

Otherwise, he said, the Act would be a threat to the rule of law and the fundamental liberties as enshrined in the Constitution.

In fact, even the drafter of the ISA, the late Prof R.H. Hickling, had said the Act was only intended against communist insurgents and those bent on armed struggle.

If at all national security is threatened, there must be strong evidence to show that. Otherwise, such detainees should be charged in an ordinary court of law and there are sufficient laws for this purpose, he said.

MCA vice-president Datuk Ong Tee Keat said he felt that the Act should be comprehensively reviewed.

We need to review this Act comprehensively to see its relevance today, he said.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad said it was necessary to retain the Act but it should be used wisely.

He said he had never asked for it to be abolished or reviewed as it was still needed here.

It is still necessary but it should be used with care.

Minister in the Prime Ministers Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the arrests of reporter Tan Hoon Cheng, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin had put the Government in a bad light.

For any arrest there must be a reason and it must be clearly explained to the public, he said.

MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn criticised Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albars explanation on the detention of Tan, who has since been released.

He said Syed Hamids explanation that her arrest under the ISA was because her life was under threat was totally unacceptable.

It was a feeble attempt to justify the use of the ISA on Tan. By detaining her under the ISA, police have turned her into a victim of circumstances, Dr Fong wrote in his blog yesterday.

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai called for the ISA to be reviewed so that it would not be abused by any quarters to undermine national unity, security and stability.

Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said Gerakan had called for the amendment of the ISA but not its abolition.

He said the Act should be used only when dealing with national security and not against journalists carrying out their duties.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the Government should be sensitive to the feelings of the people and not be blind to the fact that a significant proportion of the rakyat abhor the ISA and would prefer it not to be used.

Every time somebody is arrested under the ISA, it gives rise to a perception that the Government is doing it because it is not able to charge and convict the person under existing laws, he said.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said some aspects of the ISA ought to be subjected to intermittent review but its function to prevent occurrences that divide the community should be respected.


Parties pass resolution blasting ISA

GEORGE TOWN: An MIC division leader joined Opposition leaders in passing a draft resolution condemning the arrest of three people under the Internal Security Act on Friday.

MIC Bayan Baru division chairman M. Nyana Segaran was the only person from a Barisan Nasional component party who attended the 45-minute meeting at the residence of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng here last night.

Im only representing my division and not the party, he told newsmen after the meeting.

He said the division :opposed the abuse of the ISA, which was originally meant to combat terrorists and communists.

Lim said Pakatan Rakyat had invited representatives from all Barisan parties.

Gerakan vice-president Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan informed us that they could not attend without stating a reason.

There was no response from the others, he said.

Lim said a second draft resolution was passed to challenge the Federal Government to charge Malaysia Today news portal editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Selangor state senior executive councillor Teresa Kok in court if they had committed any offences.

The other detainee, Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoo Cheng, was released on Saturday after being held for about 24 hours.

He said the third and fourth draft resolutions called for the release of the ISA detainees and :the wish of the people for the ISA to be abolished.

Penang is the first state to come up with such resolutions and we will raise the matter in Parliament, he said.

A media representative who spoke at the press conference said the authorities should not shoot the messenger as journalists were only carrying out their duties.

Were not here to support any political party and we dont deserve to be treated this way.

We want to be the eyes of the people. Were here to report the truth and not to please anyone, she said.


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