Media Conference Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang at the Perak Mentri Besar's Office, Ipoh on Thursday, 18th September 2008 at 12 noon: 

"Free MP Teresa Kok Perak State Assembly Caucus" to be formed tomorrow should adopt Azmi Sharon's call that "The ISA must go. There can be no room for amendments."

The Perak Mentri Besar, Datuk Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin's agreement and announcement that the "Free MP Teresa Kok Perak State Assembly Caucus" would be formed tomorrow to lend support, sympathy and solidarity to MP for Seputeh and Selangor Senior Exco Teresa Kok in her fifth day of detention under the Internal Security Act is one major stride forward for the cause of human rights for Malaysians and legislators.

Following a day after the establishment of the "Free MP Teresa Kok Parliamentary Caucus" yesterday, I call on all states to emulate this pioneering step of the Perak Mentri Besar and State Assembly members to be in the forefront to defend human rights by forming similar "Free MP Teresa Kok State Assembly Caucus" as all legislators, regardless of race, religion or party affiliation, whether at the national or state level, should find common cause in the demand for the immediate and unconditional release of Teresa Kok under the ISA.

When attending the inaugural meeting to establish the "Free MP Teresa Kok Parliamentary Caucus" in Parliament yesterday, Senator Datuk Zaid Ibrahim who had resigned from the Cabinet as a matter of principle in protest against the gross misuse of ISA against Teresa Kok, Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Sin Chew reporter Tan Hoon Cheng, said he disbelieved allegations that she was either anti-Malay or anti-Islam as her detractors alleged.

Zaid had personal acquaintance with Teresa Kok when she was the secretary in the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Myanmar (AIPMC). Zaid was then AIPMC Chairman.

Zaid said:

"I cannot, for the life of me, believe she is anti-Islam, anti-Malay, anti-anything. She's a wonderful lady. I can't see how this person can be a threat to public order and national security. I'm speaking from personal experience here."

Teresa Kok is a third-term MP and I dare say that every Minister in the current Cabinet, whether from UMNO or any other Barisan Nasional component party, would agree with Zaid's description of Teresa.

I challenge any Minister who would disagree with Zaid's verdict that Teresa is a "wonderful lady" whom nobody believes could be "anti-Islam, anti-Malay, anti-anything" to come forward to speak up.

If there is none, and every Cabinet Minister in his or her "heart of hearts" agree with Zaid in his description of Teresa, I challenge everyone of the Cabinet Ministers to explain to the Malaysian public why Teresa Kok should spend another minute languishing in arbitrary, unjust and unhygienic detention!

Politics has been regarded as a very "dirty" business. If there is a saint among Malaysian politicians, the person will be Teresa Kok. And when Teresa Kok could be detained under the ISA, something is very rotten with Malaysian democracy, governance, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.

For the "Free MP Teresa Kok Perak State Assembly Caucus" to be formed tomorrow, there is no better term of reference than to adopt University of Malaya law lecturer Azmi Sharon's call that "The ISA must go. There can be no room for amendments."

In his Star column today, "Time to get rid of draconian ISA", Azmi wrote:

In this light, we can see that the powers provided by the ISA have been severely abused over the decades.

The latest example of course is the arrest of Raja Petra Kamarudin, Teresa Kok and Tan Hoon Cheng.

The reasons for the detention of the three have nothing to do at all with any sort of violent action or even proposed violent action on their part.

In the case of Tan, the justification for her 16-hour detention was so ludicrous and so obtuse, that it beggared belief.

The ISA was not meant to be used as a personal protection device. And pray tell how a 16-hour detention after which the individual was released back into the public sphere can be considered "protection"?

Raja Petra is currently being charged for criminal defamation and sedition.

He is facing the law in open court where he shall be accused and he shall have the opportunity to defend himself or he would have done if he was not locked up right now.

Why on earth is he being detained? Is he planning some sort of armed rebellion? There is no evidence at all to indicate even the slightest hint of that.

And Kok is being detained because some political opponents have decided to accuse her of offending Islam.

If these accusations are false, and there are indications that they are, then there is a term for this kind of behaviour – fitnah.

Fitnah is the most despicable crime committed only by the most despicable of creatures.

I am disgusted by the latest use of the ISA. It is undoubtedly going against the spirit and the intention of the ISA.

The arrest of Raja Petra, Kok and Tan also shows that the law is so open to abuse that we have no other choice but to get rid of it. There can be no room for amendments.

The ISA must go.

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