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  Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 24th September 2008: 

All eyes on MCA Ministers in Cabinet today will they censure Hamid and demand immediate release of RPK under ISA?

The formal detention of blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK) hours before his habeas corpus application hearing at the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday is 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.

One would have expected that being a lawyer by training, the Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar would have greater regard, respect and understanding of the principles of a just of rule and would not do anything to frustrate the legal process as in RPK's habeas corpus application hearing yesterday. But Hamid has proved everyone wrong.

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail should explain whether he was privy to the Home Minister's decision on Monday night to frustrate the legal process over RPK's habeas corpus application hearing yesterday challenging the police detention under Section 73 of the Internal Security Act (ISA) by the simple but most cynical and irresponsible expedient of the Minister signing a formal detention order under Section 8 of the ISA.

Was the Attorney-General consulted and his agreement sought to this irresponsible ploy to frustrate RPK's habeas corpus application and did he advise the Home Minister against such flagrant contempt of court and to trust in the impartiality and integrity of the judicial system to pronounce on the legality of the police detention of RPK under the ISA under Section 73?

Whose idea was it that the Home Minister should abuse his powers to expedite the formal detention of RPK under Section 8 of the ISA in order to frustrate RPK's habeas corpus application, when RPK had been detained for only 10 days under Section 73 which provides for a 60-day police custodial detention?

All eyes are on the four MCA Ministers in Cabinet today will they censure Hamid and demand immediate release of RPK under ISA?

This is because MCA Ministers and leaders have been going to town in the past few days declaring that the MCA will continue its call for the repeal or review of the ISA, in particular the comprehensive review of the draconian law to ensure that the ISA is applied strictly to cases relating to terrorism and subversive elements to prevent possible abuse of the law.

As the MCA Ministers and leaders have declared that RPK is not a suitable case for ISA detention, Malaysians want to know what the four MCA Ministers are going to do in Cabinet apart from making statements in the newspapers.

Are the MCA Ministers prepared to spearhead a decision in Cabinet dissociating Ministers from the contempt of court perpetrated by Hamid in his abuse of power under Section 8 of the ISA to frustrate RPK's habeas corpus application as well as to demand the immediate release of RPK from Kamunting Detention Centre under the ISA?

The MCA Ministers should also raise in this morning's Cabinet meeting the three-hour questioning of rapper Wee Meng Chee and express disapproval for any vindictive action against Wee for his "Negarakuku" rap video and to demand immediate end of police harassment of Wee.

If the police and the Attorney-General's Chambers are not prepared to take action against the suspended Umno Bukit Bendera Chairman Datuk Ahmad Ismail for his offensive, provocative and racist "penumpang" reference to the Chinese in Malaysia, what justification can the police give for the harassment of Wee as subjecting him to questioning and possible prosecution under the Sedition Act?


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