Saturday, September 13, 2008

Those Arrests

It's no good. It's too big to be ignored. Forgive the off-topicness.

This blogger vehemently protests the arrest and detention without trial of Raja Petra, MP Theresa Kok and Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng under the Internal Security Act. I add my voice to those demanding their immediate release.

More here on The Malaysian Insider ... which also says that intelligence sources said more arrests are likely ... making us wonder if this is this a repeat of the infamous Operation Lalang of 1987?

Three newspapers have also been issued show-cause letters.

Certainly these measures smack of desperation and are taken by a government which has clearly lost the plot.

Tan's arrest (for, hello, simply doing her job as a reporter!) has sent shockwaves through those working in the media. On Rocky's blog, Norlia Daud of the National Union of Journalists is quoted as saying :
This is a gravely serious matter. For the first time in 21 years, a journalist has been detained under the ISA. A reporter has been detained under ISA for doing her job, for reporting. The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, only recently told media practioners to be brave in reporting the truth [read the Star's Uphold the truth, 4/9], and now the Government has taken an action designed to intimidate these media practitioners. Sin Chew has been issued with a show-cause letter by the Government over the Ahmad Ismail report, so why invoke the ISA when before letting the newspaper editors respond to the show-cause? Also, I am very disappointed that the editors have not been hauled up. In any newspaper company, it is the Editor who is accountable. The NUJ will monitor the developments very closely.
I'm not very good at writing of matters political so please let me pass you on to other bloggers who talk a lot of sense. Here's some to start with : Kickdefella, Marina Mahathir, KTemoc, Lulu, Patrick Teoh, Jeff Ooi, Eli Wong.

(The badge, which I also picked up from Rocky's blog, is designed by Mr. Smith and I wish I had a real life version to wear.)


Anonymous said...

While I've never liked Raja Petra from the few occassions I've met him, using the ISA on him is completely against the UN Human Rights charter Malaysia is a signatory to. We don't want more Nabi ISA!

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post, Sharon. It's not really off-topic -- those journalists are writers too -- and even if it were, this is too important to remain silent about.

-- Preeta

bibliobibuli said...

very true, preeta.

i just heard via facebook that tan has been released. what is happening???? does the right hand not know what the left is doing?

Subashini said...

Apparently she was taken in for "protection." Because you know, a wild pack of dogs could eat her, or something. And that's how we do protection over here, we arrest those in need of protection under ISA. Hey, it's internal security! But okay, I guess you were asking a rhetorical question.

But they continue to feed utter crap to the Malaysian public as if they really BELIEVE we have a collective national IQ of a retarded rodent. Are we supposed to FALL for that "protection" garbage?!?

I'm foaming at the mouth here and can't seem to write anything coherent.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the right hand and the left are playing some kind of strange game - that's the scariest part. I have never met Raja Petra in person but I think he is one of the most courageous people in the country, kicking ass with his in-your-face articles, putting himself in the firing line every single day, knowing full well the repercussions of his work. He is a history-maker and one of my heroes.
Thank God the reporter has been released. Isn't it amazing that March 8 has created some kind of mental tsunami within Malaysians as well? As if some (not all) of the fears that we propped around us like prison walls have been demolished. Even timid people like me no longer hide behind 'anonmymice'. saras

Eli James said...

Bravo, Sharon. Thank you for highlighting this. The more people who know, the better.

gnute said...

Someone told me that when Raja Petra's cousin the Sultan of Selangor was crowned in 1999, at the most 'inappropriate' moment RPK got up and shouted "Reformasi!"

Legend lah, legend.

Greenbottle said...

for once i totally agree with all of you here. it's terribly sad that this kind of thing still happens but with the kind of government we have, this sort of action shouldn't be too surprising.

oh, if (god forbids) the thing that they feared most - racial riots- do actually happen, i declare here that as a "muslim extremist" myself, all of you non malays and non muslims of whatever race, religious and political persuasions are welcome to come and hide in my house.

if any of those racists come we'll fight them with books. we'll throw heavy hardcover coffee table art books at them. i have a lot of 'em.

dreamer idiot said...

I think, so far, the Malaysian people has stood well and calm, despite provocation and intimidation.

We are still Malaysians, despite our differences, as Greenbottle has put it.

caving liz said...

I think most people in Msia will agree with your comments. It is too big an issue to be ignored, especially as it has made international news.

Anonymous said...

It's really nice to see that at least the readers of this blog (well, the ones who have commented here) seem to stand together on this issue. I *did* actually come across someone who thinks RPK's arrest was justified. But it's not someone who reads this blog, and I'm still trying to get them to explain why they think what they think.

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

Please register your support for the detainees on:


glenda larke said...

I think myself that RPK is weird and inclined to jump to unjustified conclusions based on very little evidence. A bit whako in fact. Of course, that doesn't mean he should be treated like a criminal.

The other two arrests are even further way out of line. Not to say stupid. Has no one learned anything?

Anonymous said...

I've met RPK a few times and found him to be an egoistical twat who can't stop talking about his theories or me-me-me, Petra-fying everyone in the vicinity into boredom. But using the ISA on him - or anyone - is just wrong.

- Poppadumdum

Mat Cendana said...

RPK seems like a nut with a big mouth than anything else. But that's not just cause to detain anyone indefinitely. Or to even detain at all.

But this is like the mythical hydra - more will spring up. I'm one of them. Previously, I'd just read what others say. But now, since the ISA arrest, I've started a site of my own.

It's at and it deals with satire, lampoon and such...

Damyanti said...

I am not a Malaysian, merely an expat, so I am not sure my opinions count.

But I do think that when in any country, be it Malaysia or any other, people are put under arrest for exercising freedom of speech, the country is a under dictatorship, not democracy.

There are laws in place for a blogger or newspaper to be taken to court. When a law meant for terrorists is used to arrest and detain a blogger without trial, the government is showing cowardice, not strength.

animah said...

Whatever your opinions about RPK as a person, don't forget he and his blog were instrumental in giving courage to Malaysians to voice out, realise they were not alone in their views and the Political Tsunami of the 2008 GE.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely my thoughts too, Animah. Thank you. saras

june said...

Hear, hear Aminah.

Anonymous said...

How could one forget, when he doesn't let us?


bibliobibuli said...

mat cendana - has anyone eever told you you bear an uncanny resemblance to bill gates? anyway, glad to see you inspired to blog.

chiew-siah - thanks and duly signed. it was good to see how amny had put their name to the petition already

Anonymous said...

Animah, he and his blog? we've been doing the same for years, only not so controversially. We work, he works, but we don't stand on mountains, beat our chests and yell.

Anonymous said...

Oh, leave Animah alone. She was making a valid point. She didn't say RPK was the ONLY factor in Malaysia's political awakening. Just that he (and his blog) were *one* important factor. And however unpopular he may be, however much of an ass he makes of himself, let's not get sidetracked by how much fun it is to throw rotten tomatoes at him; the point is that indefinite detention without trial is a violation of human rights and has no place in a democracy (and before anyone brings up the US: I disagree with it there, too).

-- Preeta

Mat Cendana said...

mat cendana - has anyone eever told you you bear an uncanny resemblance to bill gates?

Well, Sharon; Bill here is someone that I "could have looked like but for one or two reasons". So I conveniently borrowed his pix. Just add a "cat-style" moustache, make the face a bit more gaunt, and there'll be some resemblance as to the real me:-)

Anonymous said...


If you did that there'd be some resemblance to a lot of people actually. Now there's a thought. I think it's the eyes, he's got the same "I don't really care about much, I just want to continue my work" look as you see in a lot of people.

animah said...

Thanks Preeta!

Anon, you do beat your chest and yell here on Sharon's blog. RPK however dares to put his face up. What are you scared of?

Anonymous said...

It's not that I'm scared of anything, it's just that if I do it, I can't use it as a bargaining chip :) my real identity has a value now, lots of people want it, so I usually don't give it away unless to people that I know I can trust.

And besides, half the time I'm joking (or wish I was.) RPK, for all intents and purposes, appears to be serious.

What disturbs me though, is why the government isn't suing him. Is there a provision for the government to sue a private citizen for defamation? politically it seems odd, because it would be like a company suing an individual for defamation, the court's always biased towards the little guy (or at least that's my impression.)

It's just that I hate intelligence sometimes, because it robs the beauty and hope out of things. Why can't good people win all the time? why aren't all criminals punished? why is justice impossible? I wish I didn't know that. I wish I didn't know a lot of things. I want to believe in snow angels and magic. I want to believe that magicians such as David Foster Wallace should be somehow exempt from the ugly laws of realism.

Anyway, Animah, you're the lawyer here, can you detain someone indefinitely?

animah said...

Anon, The government has charged RPK for criminal defamation over the article which states that Rosmah was present when Altantuya's body was blown up. Rosmah could have sued for criminal defamation, but this way she saves legal fees which we the public pay through the public prosecutor's office.

The police can only detain a person without charge under 2 circumstances (lawyers can correct me if there are more, I'm using memory here):
1) for remand up to 48 hours if they are investigating a crime. This can be extended up to 2 weeks if they can show to a magistrate that more time is required to collect evidence;
2) laws such as the ISA (I think the Emergency Orders are another one) which allows a person to be detained without charge or trial up to 60 days. This can be extended by the Minister of Home Affairs (not the Courts) for a further 2 years, and can be extended for yet another 2 years and so on. It would be interesting to know how many are currently detained under ISA and for how long.