Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 6th May 2009:
Wong Chin Huat’s arrest – would Najib’s police detain Mahatma Gandhi for his civil disobedience campaign if the “Great-Souled” Indian is alive in Malaysia today?
Civil society activist and poll reform group Bersih spokesperson Wong Chin Huat told me at the Jalan Duta Courts Complex lockup that he had been wearing black for 89 days to protest the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak since Feb. 5, 2009, but he was compelled to wear the compulsory orange police lock-up uniform on the 90th day.
He asked like-minded, justice and democracy-loving Malaysians to join in the protest against the undemocratic and illegal “coup d’etat” in Perak by wearing black, particularly tomorrow.
This is because tomorrow is the 91st day of the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak, when the usurper and illegitimate Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir is convening an illegal meeting of the Perak State Assembly to secure legitimacy for his totally illegitimate administration.
Chin Huat is in high and fighting spirits although he had been in police custody since 7.40 p.m yesterday when a platoon of nine police officers surprised Chin Huat outside his home in Taman Sri Sentosa, Kuala Lumpur as he was going out for dinner.
What was Chin Huat’s crime? It is believed that Chin Huat’s arrest under the Sedition Act is related to the press conference he had called yesterday to announce the BERSIH’s “1BLACKMalaysia” campaign to urge Malaysians to wear black on May 7 to protest against the undemocratic and unconstitutional power grab in Perak.
Chin Huat never advocated violence or force, only a peaceful but powerful civil disobedience campaign to make the people’s voice and protest heard loud and clear by the powers-that-be.
If Mahatma Gandi is alive today and in Malaysia, would the “Great-Souled” Indian be arrested for sedition by Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s police for his civil disobedience campaign?
Chin Huat’s arrest is a blatant case of police abuse of power. The police was super-fast and super-efficient to arrest Chin Huat within a few hours of the BERSIH media conference yesterday morning, but is super-slow and super-inefficient when performing its most elementary duty to protect the lives and property of Malaysians.
The media today reported another heart-wrenching loss of two lives when pregnant Jamilah Selamat, 32, succumbed to severe head injuries inflicted when she was a victim to a snatch thief near her home in Ayer Hitam, Johore.
We are reminded of a long list of avoidable fatalities in a country afflicted with endemic crime, like the Nanyang Siang Pau clerk, Chong Fee Cheng, 37, who died after she lapsed into a coma following a snatch theft in Taman Molek, Johor Baru and a housewife Lim See Nya, 58 in Bukit Mertajam who was run over by a three-tonne truck when she lost her balance and fell onto the road after a motor-cycle pillion rider grabbed her handbag.
Last week, the Johor Baru South OCPD was tied-up and robbed at knife-point in his house.
Why is the Police so super-fast and super-efficient to arrest Chin Huat when they are so super-slow and super-inefficient to arrest criminals to protect the personal safety and property of Malaysians, visitors, tourists and investors?
Kuala Lumpur Commercial Crimes Division Director Datuk Koh Hong Sun said Chin Huat was arrested for sedition following a police report to assist in police investigations.
This is a gross abuse of police powers in putting the cart before the horse. The police should investigate following a police report to ascertain whether there is any basis for the allegation that a crime has been committed. Instead, the police has chosen to arrest first and investigate later.
Chin Huat told me when I saw him at about 12.30 pm that although he had been in police custody for 17 hours, the police had not taken any statement from him.
The police has also seized a laptop and a cellular phone belonging to Chin Huat.
In ancient times, emperors and tyrants burnt books to deny their intellectuals the fundamental freedoms of thought, speech and expression. In this Internet era, the powers-that-be have resorted to snatching laptops and mobile phones!
Chin Huat’s arrest is a triple assault on the fundamental liberties of freedom of expression, media freedom and academic freedom.
Academicians and bloggers are rightly outraged. I agree with academician Ong Kian Ming who asked: “What kind of signal does the arrest send about the state of academic freedom in Malaysia?” and Khoo Kay Peng’s condemnation of Chin Huat’s arrest as “a national shame”!
Najib should intervene to direct Hishammuddin and the police to immediately release Chin Huat or his motto of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” will be the first casualty, as it would be seen as nothing more than a camouflage for “1Divided Malaysia. People Last. Performance Never.”
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor