Saturday, 13 September 2008

Eh? What's This Ar?

This was in The Star Online today.

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar gave his latest statements on the ISA arrests:

Sin Chew reporter may be released Saturday (updated)


JOHOR BARU: Sin Chew Daily News reporter Tan Hoon Cheng, who was arrested under the Internal Security Act 1960, maybe released as soon as Saturday, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

He said Tan was detained under Section 73(1) of the Act in order to ensure her safety as police intelligence indicated that there were threats to her life after she reported on Bukit Bendera division Umno chairman Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s allegedly racist remarks.

“We have no intention of holding a reporter as after all she was just taking notes of the comments made by a certain party that led to a public debate.

She maybe released as soon as today after police have obtained all information needed,” he said, adding that the reporter’s detention was part of the police preventive action.

Asked on the detention of Selangor senior executive councillor Teresa Kok, Syed Hamid said she was arrested due to her comments on mosques and the Azan recently.

”Her comments have created public disorder and problems,” he said.

Asked whether Kok would be released soon, he said it was up to the police, as they have to access the situation before taking any further action.

He added no more arrests under ISA are expected but it would depend on the situation of public order.

”We are not making arrests just for the sake of arrests. ”We will not make any more arrests under ISA as long as there is no more disturbance to peace and public order,” he said.

He also appealed to all newspapers to cooperate with the Government and not incite negative feelings or sentiment.

What? "...released as soon as Saturday (today)"?

And, "...after all she was just taking notes of the comments made by a certain party that led to a public debate."?

And also, "...not making arrests just for the sake of arrests."

If he knows very well "she was just taking notes", then why the hell take her in under the ISA just to release her the next day?? Couldn't they just summon her to the police station to take her statement?

No more arrests under ISA expected and not making arrests for the sake of arrests? Since they expected to arrest her yesterday and "she was merely taking notes", why arrest her if it is not merely for the sake of arresting her? I am utterly confused!!!

Why do I get the feeling that someone is jerking our chain?

UPDATE: 9.00 pm 13th September 2008

Journalist Tan Hoon Cheng has indeed been freed this afternoon. Just when things could not get more ludicrous, the Home Minister said in press conference at Bukit Aman that it was purely a decision by the police to arrest her under the ISA because her life was in danger.

Since she is now free, she is safe? Purely a police decision...hmmm. So now are we suppose to laugh or cry?

Read this Malaysian Insider report yourself la!

Journalist freed, was held because her life threatened, cops tell Syed Hamid


By Shannon Teoh

Journalist freed, was held because her life threatened, cops tell Syed Hamid


By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 - Sin Chew journalist Tan Hoon Cheng was released at 2.30pm today.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said this at a press conference at the Bukit Aman police headquarters.

"She made the first report so we had to get to the bottom of it and we received information that her life was under threat," he said.

He added that blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok would continue to be held for investigations and if there was no reason to hold them, that they would be released within the 60 days allowed for by the Internal Security Act.

He explained that RPK had been held after being given sufficient warning but continued to "create tension" while DAP's Kok had touched on sensitive issues, that is the azan call to prayer.

Kok has since denied this allegation that was originally put forward by Umno's former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Khir Toyo.

Syed Hamid insisted also that the move was not political and it was purely the decision of the police.

"I can tell you that the police need not refer to me. Under Section 73(1) it is under their discretion but they will let me know.

"I think there has not been any malice on their part. We have acted within the law," he said, adding also that if he interfered in police action, people would say there is a political motive.

"Each one of us have our own logical explanation but none of us, whether we are reporters or editors, we are not above the law," he said when asked why Tan but not Datuk Ahmad Ismail, whose statement she had reported on, was picked up.

"Ahmad has been punished as a party member and suspended for three years. At the same time there is a report against him for sedition, so we are not treating politicians differently."

He, however, said that there was no logical link between the ISA action and opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Sept 16 plan to take over the federal government as claimed by some quarters.

When asked if there would be more arrests as it was reminiscent of 1987's Operasi Lalang, he quipped, "Is it? Let me know if there is," and insisted that "so far, there are no other arrests".

He also scoffed at suggestions that the country would be put under a state of emergency.

"The arrests are about public order. We do get information from members of the public who feel unsafe, so we have to take preventive measures."

When asked if similar action would be taken if members of the public came forward to say they felt they were under threat due to the statements by Ahmad or Khir or any other politician, he called the question one that was racial in nature.

"At present everything we are doing, we are looking at it from an ethnic angle. Khir Toyo is a Malay, Ahmad Ismail is a Malay, we arrest Chinese...We should start to think as Malaysians. Even me, if I'm considered a threat, the police are free to take action against me."

Bernama adds that in BUKIT MERTAJAM, Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan defended her report on alleged racist remarks made by former Bukit Bendera Umno chief, Datuk Ahmad Ismail.

Tan, 33, said the report was done in a professional manner and was based on what she heard on the night the remarks were made.

"I just write what I heard," she told reporters at her house here after being' released today.

Yesterday, Tan was detained under the ISA at her home in Taman Alma about 8.40pm over the controversial report.

Tan said she was treated well by the police during the 17 hours in custody.

"My thanks to everybody including the police who treated me in a very good and professional way," she said.

"I could not sleep but the police treated me well, no problem," she said, adding that the incident will not deter her from carrying out her duties.

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