Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 9th November 2008:
Cabinet should overrule Hamid’s decision to appeal against High Court decision to free Raja Petra from ISA detention
Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar’s
announcement in Kota Kinabalu last night that the Home Ministry will
appeal against the Shah Alam High Court decision on Friday to free
Malaysia Today website editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin from detention under
the Internal Security Act (ISA) is most deplorable and reprehensible.
Syed Ahmad Helmy held that although Section 8 of the ISA on the detention order by the minister barred judicial review, there was a procedural non-compliance by the Minister resulting in an “ultra vires” order.
As illustration, the judge gave the example that the minister cannot act in bad faith to detain a person who decided to colour his hair red.
In actual fact, Hamid acted mala fide in a very substantive manner in issuing a detention order under Section 8 of the ISA late in the night of September 22 not because Raja Petra constituted a threat to national security but to frustrate the administration of justice and the rule of law by “killing off” Raja Petra’s earlier habeas corpus application.
Raja Petra’s first habeas corpus application to challenge the legality of his ISA detention on Sept. 12 under Section 73 of the ISA was slated for hearing at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Sept. 23.
When Raja Petra’s lawyers, his wife Marina Lee Abdullah and family members and supporters turned up in court on the morning of Sept. 23 for the harbeas corpus hearing, they were shocked to learn from the Senior Federal Counsel, Abdul Wahab Mohamad that the issue had become academic and the application should be struck out as Raja Petra was no longer detained under Section 73 (which permits judicial review) but under Section 8 (which bars judicial review except for procedural defects).
Raja Petra had also been summarily packed off to the Kamunting Detention Centre to start his two-year formal detention.
I had on Sept. 24 condemned Hamid’s
ministerial detention order of Raja Petra, “hours before his habeas
corpus application hearing at the Kuala Lumpur High Court” on Sept. 23
as “a gross violation of human rights, a blatant abuse of power and
downright contempt of court by the Home Minister and a travesty of the
rule of law in Malaysia”.
There had been thundering silence from Hamid, Gani Patail as well as the MCA/Gerakan Ministers and leaders who had been staging a “song and dance” about their new-found opposition to the ISA, demanding a review if not repeal of the draconian detention-without-trial law.
The Shah Alam High Court decision to free
Raja Petra, which is a positive reflection in the last five months of
the Abdullah premiership, should be the occasion for the Cabinet to
undertake a full review of the draconian laws in the country as well as
to uphold the doctrine of the separation of powers by repealing all
legislation which institutionalizes the executive usurpation of judicial
powers and independence by excluding judicial review of abuses of
executive power, like Section 8 of the ISA.
I call on the Cabinet o overrule Hamid’s decision to appeal against the Shah Alam High Court decision to free Raja Petra from ISA detention, which can only mean that Hamid wants Raja Petra to be re-arrested and sent back to Kamunting Detention Centre.
The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should restrain Hamid from proceeding with the appeal against the Shah Alam High Court decision to free Raja Petra until there is a full review of the matter by both the Cabinet as well as Parliament.
Will the MCA and Gerakan Ministers and
leaders stand up now to oppose Hamid’s decision to appeal against the
Shah Alam High Court decision?
I will be at the Candlelight Vigil for freedom, justice and democracy in Ipoh tonight. Other DAP leaders will be at the PJ Candlelight vigil.
Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor