KUALA LUMPUR: Sept 13, 2008 By ZULKIFLI ABD RAHMAN
The arrests of three people under the Internal Security Act (ISA) are part of the Government’s attempt to foil the planned crossover of Barisan Nasional MPs to the Pakatan Rakyat by Sept 16, PAS youth chief Salahuddin Ayub said on Saturday.
He added the arrests are also to cover up the real issue that the Barisan was undergoing a political crisis and was weakening.
“The arrests were similar to the Operasi Lallang in 1987, where arrests under the ISA were made at the same time when Umno was heading towards a political crisis.
“In this context, we have information that about 15 more people from the Pakatan Rakyat may be detained under the Act to deflect people's attention away from Umno’s internal problems.
“We expect these arrests will happen at any time soon,” he told reporters Saturday at the PAS headquarters here.
Salahuddin questioned why Malaysia Today news portal editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin was not questioned by the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) or charged in the Syariah Court due to the alleged accusations that he had belittled Islam in his articles.
He also said the reports about Seputeh MP and Selangor senior executive councillor Teresa Kok being involved in a residents’ petition in Puchong over a mosque could have caused misunderstanding and become misintepreted.
“There are other laws that can be used against her but certainly not the ISA,” he added.
Meanwhile, PAS information chief Mahfuz Omar told reporters in a separate press conference that the ISA arrests seemed to show that the Government didn’t trust its own laws and the legal system that could adequately deal with the offences committed by the three who were arrested Friday.
“Is it because the Government doesn’t like the country’s courts and its judiciary, which may not rule in its favour?” he added.
On the arrest of Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng, Mahfuz questioned why she was arrested for reporting the statement made by Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail, whereas it was Ahmad himself who should be detained for raising communal issues.
Tan was released on Saturday.