Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Parliamentary caucus set up to free Teresa - Star


Pakatan Rakyat MPs have formed a ‘Free MP Teresa Kok Parliamentary Caucus’ with the support of Barisan Nasional’s Senator Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

The purpose of the caucus is to seek solutions for an immediate and unconditional release of Kok from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The caucus is co-chaired by Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang (DAP adviser), Gombak MP Azmin Ali (PKR vice-president) and Tumpat MP Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar (PAS secretary-general).

Lim said the caucus planned to meet Deputy Inspector General Tan Sri Ismail Omar for permission to visit Kok.

He also said they would write to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly for support.

He added that they would move an emergency motion on the detention of Kok when Parliament reconvenes on Oct 13.

“We will continue to get international pressure for her release.

“The main objective of the caucus is to free Kok but the larger objective is also for all ISA detainees to be freed,” he told reporters Wednesday after forming the caucus in Parliament here.

Forty-nine opposition MPs turned up at the meeting and they gave a standing ovation to Zaid when he walked in.

Zaid, who recently quit his post as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law, said he supported the caucus because he was very concerned with the use of the ISA.

He said the ISA should be used against violent people or those who wanted to overthrow the Government by force for a limited period instead of against politicians or journalists.

“We use the ISA for political purpose, this is what we mean by abuse.

“Whoever is in power will abuse it as long as it’s up to their satisfaction,” he said.

Zaid also remarked that he knew Kok personally as she was his secretary when he was the president for Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus.

“I cannot, for the life of me, see her as anti-Islam, anti-Malay, anti-anything ... she’s a wonderful lady,” he said, adding that he could not understand how Kok could be a threat to national security.

Other opposition party leaders who were present, including PKR secretary-general Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and DAP national chairman Karpal Singh also called for the ISA to be repealed.

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