KUALA LUMPUR: Sept 13, 2008
Shocked and deeply troubled over the arrest of blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin under the Internal Security Act (ISA), the Bar Council has called for his immediate release, together with other detainees.
Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said the Malaysian Bar had consistently denounced the ISA as draconian and undemocratic, and believed that the preventive detention laws should not be invoked under any circumstances.
”The Bar Council is equally perturbed that three newspapers (Sin Chew Daily, The Sun and Suara Keadilan) have been issued show-cause letters today over their news coverage.
”This, together with the arrest of Raja Petra under the ISA, may be viewed as a chilling message that our fundamental freedoms are not secure,” she said in a statement Friday.
Ambiga said if an offence had allegedly been commited, the individual concerned must be charged in court and given a fair opportunity to defend himself.
”We agree with the view reportedly expressed by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim on Thursday, when he disagreed with the call for the use of the ISA on Datuk Ahmad Ismail, saying that this ‘will have a huge effect on ... the rule of law’ and that he should therefore, ‘go through the normal process of law’,” she said.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has expressed great concern over Raja Petra’s arrest.
Three Suhakam commissioners Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, Datuk Michael Yeoh and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria in a statement Friday said although Suhakam appreciated the Government’s responsibility in maintaining peace and stability, the commission had consistently held that the ISA and other preventive laws should be abolished.
They also expressed concern over the warning letters issued to the three newspapers as it was a curtailment of freedom of expression. - Bernama