Sept 19, 2008
The following is the press statement issued by Teresa Kok who was released after being detained for seven days under the ISA.
I have been released after being detained in solitary confinement in a 6-by-8 holding cell for seven days under the Internal Security Act (ISA). I was informed by the police that they detained me under section 73(1) of Internal Security Act 1960, which means I have incited racial and religious tension and conflict.
After being detained for seven days under the guise of so-called investigations, the police failed to produce any evidence or proof of me being involved in the activities of causing racial and religious tension. They were only able to ask me few questions based entirely on the false and malicious article written by Zaini Hassan under the topic ‘Azan, Jawi, JAIS, UiTM dan ba-alif-ba-ya’ that was published in Utusan Malaysia on Sept 10, 2008.
The three main questions that the investigation officers asked me were:
1. whether I have mobilised a group of residents at Bandar Kinrara to present a petition to oppose to the azan at the Bandar Kinrara mosque;
2. whether I have made a statement that 30 percent of the Selangor Islamic Department (JAIS) allocation is to be given to other non-Islam religious bodies; and
3. whether I have opposed to the Jawi-wording road signages in Kuala Lumpur.
I denied the first two accusations as I did not do any such things as accused. I also told them that the issue of opposing Jawi road signages in Kuala Lumpur were done in January/February 2008 at the request and following the pressure of resident associations.
The resident associations, particularly in Taman Seputeh, were most unhappy because many of the road signages were changed arbitrarily by DBKL a few months before and changed again soon after, this time with Jawi wordings. They were strongly opposed to this kind of wastage of public funds by DBKL.
I was quite surprised that there were no other questions posed to me besides these few main questions.
The ISA is meant to detain people who threaten national security. The three issues stated above have nothing to do with national security. If the police wanted to carry out investigation on me, they can always ask me to give statements in any of the police station and there was absolutely no need to detain me under the ISA for seven days. This is a phenomenal abuse of the power of police under the ISA.
Besides, it is nonsensical for the police to detain me under the ISA merely based on the unsubstantiated article written by an irresponsible columnist in Utusan Malaysia. How can they regard that article as the gospel truth without investigating the writer in the first place? How can Utusan Malaysia publish it without verifying the facts?
I wish to ask the police whether they have called Zaini and Utusan Malaysia's editors for questioning before and after my detention.
I know that the imam of Bandar Kinrara mosque has publicly denied that I was involved in the Puchong residents petition against azan of his mosque on Sept 13. I am also quite surprised to read in the New Straits Times dated Sept 19 that the official of the Bandar Kinrara mosque was called by the Dang Wangi police for statement recording only yesterday afternoon.
Why did the police do it so late, one week after I was arrested? Why didn't they check their facts first before they arrest me and put me behind bars?
I see my detention as a ploy by Umno to try to cover up the embarrassment and the outrage of the racist statements made by (ex-Bukit Bendera Umno division chief) Ahmad Ismail in Penang. I wonder why did they choose an innocent person like me as I have never made any racist statements or racist speeches in the past?
I have lodged the police report on Sept 17, 2008 against Utusan Malaysia, Zaini and Dr Mohd Khir Toyo for criminal defamation. I would therefore urge the police to investigate Utusan Malaysia's editors, those racist bloggers and Khir Toyo under the Penal Code.
As I have mentioned in my previous lawyer's visit, I will sue Utusan Malaysia, Zaini and Khir Toyo. I have also instructed my lawyers to sue the Malaysian government for my unlawful arrest and detention.
As I am free from ISA detention today, I also call for the release of Raja Petra Kamarudin, the Hindraf Five and all other 60 over detainees under the draconian ISA.
I would also like to thank all politicians in the ruling parties as well as in the Pakatan Rakyat, NGOs, churches and all social organisations who have campaigned and prayed for my release.
Selangor senior exco
Kinrara state assemblyperson