Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Monday, 10th November 2008 at 11 am: 

Urgent motion in Parliament tomorrow to call on Cabinet to overrule Hamid’s decision to appeal against High Court decision to free Raja Petra from ISA detention

I have given notice to the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia to move an urgent motion of definite public importance in Parliament tomorrow urging the Cabinet to overrule Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar’s decision to appeal against the Shah Alam High Court decision to free Malaysia Today website editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin from Internal Security Act (ISA) detention.

My motion, under Standing Order 18, deplores Hamid’s decision to appeal as “utter contempt for the fundamental concept of the rule of law and the most rudimentary commitment to human rights in the country”.

The motion said:

“In ordering Raja Petra’s release after a 56-day ISA detention, Shah Alam High Court judge Justice Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad ruled in the blogger’s habeas corpus application that the Home Minister acted outside his powers in detaining Raja Petra under the ISA, as the grounds given for Raja Petra's detention were insufficient rendering the ISA detention unlawful.

“Furthermore, Hamid acted mala fide in a very substantive manner in issuing a detention order under Section 8 of the ISA 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 slated for hearing at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Sept. 23 to challenge the legality of his initial ISA detention on Sept. 12 under Section 73.

“The Shah Alam High Court decision to free Raja Petra is in fact a positive reflection in the last five months of the Abdullah premiership and 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.

“Hamid’s decision to appeal against the High Court decision is proof that the Minister, though a lawyer, is unrepentant in refusing to understand the changes demanded by Malaysians after the March 8 “political tsunami” for a full restoration of the just rule of law, a truly independent judiciary and a total end to all forms of abuses of executive power.

“The Cabinet should overrule Hamid’s decision to re-arrest Raja Petra and send him back to Kamunting Detention Centre.”

This is time for MCA, Gerakan and all Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders to walk the talk as MCA/Gerakan Ministers and leaders have been staging a “song and dance” in the country about their new-found opposition to and criticism of the ISA, demanding a review if not repeal of the draconian detention-without-trial law.

The MCA and Gerakan have in their recent national delegates conferences passed resolutions demanding review if not repeal of the ISA.
Last week, another BN component party, The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from Sabah also passed a resolution calling for review of the ISA at its national congress, questioning whether the ISA was still relevant and whether there was a need for the scope of the Act to be clearly defined if it was still needed.

Yesterday, the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Chor Chee Heong said in Alor Star that he is opposed to the ISA arrest of the Sin Chew senior report, Tan Hoon Cheng, DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

Did he make his opposition to the ISA arrests of the trio loud and clear to the Home Minister? Have the four MCA Ministers taken a common and collective stand in Cabinet to oppose the ISA detention of the trio, including Raja Petra?

Are Chor and the MCA, Gerakan, LDP and other BN leaders now prepared to oppose Hamid’s appeal against the Shah Alam High Court decision on Raja Petra’s habeas corpus application – implying the re-arrest of Raja Petra and his being sent back to Kamunting Detention Centre?

The statement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Kepala Batas on the ISA detention of Raja Petra is most unfortunate and shocking.

Abdullah claimed that the Government had always been careful when enforcing the ISA , stating: “The ISA is not a tool to be used at our whim and fancy. There must be reasons to warrant any arrest and it must be used with caution.”

When Abdullah cannot convince the Deputy Home Minister that the ISA had not been used arbitrarily at Hamid’s “whim and fancy”, how can the Prime Minister expect to convince Malaysians at large and the world outside that there had been no gross abuse of power of the ISA?

The Shah Alam High Court has found gross abuse of ISA power in Raja Petra’s detention. The court of national and international opinion are united in consensus that the ISA detention of Tan Hoon Cheng, Teresa Kok and Raja Petra are gross abuses of power – how else explain the relase of the Sin Chew report after eight hours and Teresa after seven days?

This is why there should be a special debate on the ISA in Parliament, including whether Hamid shoulod proceed with his decision to appeal against the Shah Alam High Court decision to free Raja Petra from ISA detention .

With the latest developments, I call on Barisan Nasional MPs including Ministers and Deputy Ministers like Chor to endorse the collective requisition by 85 MPs for a full debate on the ISA.

The Parliamentary Caucus on Repeal of ISA and release of all ISA detainees will hold an emergency meeting today to discuss the issue.

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor