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Can the actions of Police towards Politically-related events be justified?

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  #1 Old 24-05-2009 Angry Can the actions of Police towards Politically-related events be justified?

Raja Petra, Teresa Kok and Sin Chew reporter arrested under ISA

Teresa Kok, Sin Chew reporter arrested under ISA
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Today news portal editor Raja Petra Kamarudin, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok and Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng were arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) here and in Penang.
The first person to be picked up was Raja Petra, 58, from his house in Sungai Buloh near here, followed by Tan, 32, who was arrested from her house in Bukit Mertajam, Penang. Teresa, 43, was detained at 11.20pm as she was on her way home in a car.

Detained: (From left) Raja Petra, Tan and Kok were picked up under Section 73(1) of the ISA.

All of them were arrested under Section 73(1) of the ISA for allegedly being a threat to security, peace and public order.

A team of police officers from Bukit Aman arrived at Raja Petra?s house at 1.10pm and led him away 40 minutes later.

The team also took some 15 VCDs on ceramah held by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as well as 16 books.

Last week, the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) and several Muslim bodies lodged a police report against Raja Petra, who is already facing criminal defamation charges for allegedly insulting the Malays, Muslims and Islam.

In a statement, Deputy Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said Raja Petra was arrested based on surveillance that showed that he was involved in activities that could cause unrest among the multi-racial and multi-religious society of the country.

Tan, who was picked up at 8.40pm, was taken from her house in Taman Seri Rambai in Bukit Mertajam to the state police headquarters on the island.

Tan, 32, reported former Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail?s racist remarks while campaigning for the Permatang Pauh by-election.

Lee Kelvin from Guang Ming and Tan Ming Xao from Nanyang Siang Pau, who had vouched for the accuracy of Tan?s report had gone into hiding.
Kok, 43, who is also state assemblyman for Kinrara and the senior Selangor state executive councillor, was picked up over an alleged involvement with a resident?s petition over a mosque.

Acting Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar confirmed the arrests of Tan and Kok.

Under the Section, police are empowered to detain the trio for a period of 60 days after which the Home Minister can decide on further detention.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar admitted that the decision to detain people and issue show cause letters would be unpopular and would be criticised but it had to be done.

?While we may want to be popular, freedom without responsibilities has ramifications.

?We have to take action to protect the wishes of the majority,? he said.
Syed Hamid also said Raja Petra had been warned on many occasions in the last two years.

?Now, with so much public uneasiness, we do not want anything that can threaten peace in the country.

?The police looked at all aspects and, under present circumstances, the actions were necessary,? he added.
Intention behind the law misunderstood


There are limits to freedom, and the Constitution allows for these. However, those limits are subject to certain over-arching protective principles.

SOME things are impossible to understand. For example, how on God?s sweet earth could Tottenham Hotspur in their last game against Manchester United go from leading 2-0 at half time to losing 2-5 at full time?

And this is not the first time we?ve done it. A few years ago, we were leading 3-0 at half time only to lose 3-5.

My Liverpool-supporting friends were flabbergasted as Spurs, by their total and complete implosion, have probably destroyed Liverpool?s last hope of winning the Premier League this season.

They tried to make sense of it, but we long-suffering Spurs men and women know that some things just can?t be understood.

But there are some things which must be understood. It is in fact imperative that we understand them. And these pertain to things in our country. Yet, sadly, it appears that some of us can?t.

I am referring here to the Sedition Act and the Police Act. Both, in my opinion, have been totally abused in the last few weeks because those with the power to use them simply did not understand them.

Allow me to explain. The Sedition Act is a remnant of the bad old British days. The English introduced the law to quash dissent among the people who were opposing the Malayan Union, namely the Malayan left.

One would have thought that we would have got rid of this law, seeing as how its formation was for the purpose of oppressing some of the heroes of our independence. But, strangely, we have kept it.

Now, as appalling as this law is, it is not the blunderbuss that the Internal Security Act is. You don?t have the discretion to use the Sedition Act willy-nilly like you can the ISA.

You can?t just arrest someone for sedition for no good reason ? for example, for their outlandish hairstyle or their choice of clothes.

The Sedition Act is really meant for those who advocate the unlawful destruction of a government.

If one were to read the Act, it looks pretty broad; on the surface, it looks as if you can?t at all criticise the monarchy or the government.

But if you were to read carefully, you will see that if the King or the Sultans were mistaken in their actions, or if you are advocating a lawful change of government, then it is perfectly OK to criticise them.

This being the case, I could not see any reason whatsoever for Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) activist Wong Chin Huat to be arrested for sedition last week.

All he did was advocate the wearing of black in order to peaceably protest what was considered by many to be a poor state of affairs in the Perak legislature. Something which was perfectly within his rights and the rights of everyone in this country ? to peaceably express themselves.

Another law which appears to be misunderstood by the powerful is the Police Act. It was used on May 7 against scores of people for ?illegal assembly?. Most were in Ipoh, dressed in black, and some were in Kuala Lumpur gathering to show their support for Wong, who was being held in remand.

The Police Act also looks a bit crazy. Any gathering of more than two people can be deemed an illegal assembly. It, therefore, looks as though the police can do anything they want.

They can charge into a coffeeshop and haul two pals and me away because we constitute an illegal gathering. It appears unbelievable, does it not?

What is misunderstood, however, is that the Police Act is not meant to be used by the police as though it were their personal toy.
Any invocation of it has to be done within the context of the Federal Constitution.

In fact, the use of any law in the country has to be done within the context of the Constitution. And the Constitution does say that we have the freedom to assemble.
Sure, there are limits to that freedom, and the Constitution allows for these. However those limits have limits, too. You can only stop an assembly if it is armed, violent, and a threat to national security and public order.

The people in Ipoh were not armed. They were there merely to express their disappointment at how things were turning out in Perak.
The people burning candles outside the Brickfields police station to show solidarity with Wong were not in any way being a threat to national security.

In this light, the very most the police could do was to control the crowd to make sure that order was maintained. There was absolutely no need to trample on the citizens? Constitutional rights. Their arrests, in my view, were uncalled for and totally against the Constitution.

It?s perfectly all right to not understand how a football team can play so beautifully for 45 minutes and then crumble for the next 45. I?ve lived in such a state of befuddlement for the past 30 years of supporting the boys from North London.

However, it is not acceptable to misunderstand that our laws are subject to certain over-arching protective principles.

The Sedition Act is to be used for those advocating the unlawful overturning of governments and institutions. The Police Act is not to be used to indiscriminately take away our civil liberties. If these things are not understood, then we have no right to call ourselves a democracy.

Dr Azmi Sharom is a law teacher. The views expressed here are entirely his own.
Bar Council wants Home Minister, IGP to resign


PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar Council has called for the Home Minister and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to resign over the alleged unlawful detention of five Legal Aid Centre (LAC) lawyers.

At the same time, the Council would also be filing a civil suit against the Government, IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan and OCPD Asst Comm Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid, said Bar president Ragunath Kesavan.

?There are two aspects to the suit: It?s for unlawful arrest and detention (of the LAC lawyers).

?Secondly, it is for the public interest issue of police excess under Section 28A(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC),? he told reporters after the Bar?s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on the matter Friday.

The Bar passed a resolution containing 11 motions to condemn police action in denying the LAC lawyers access to 15 detainees who were arrested for participating in a candlelight vigil on May 7.

The five LAC lawyers were also detained by police when they arrived at the Brickfields police station intending to act as counsel for the 15 during the same evening.

The candlelight vigil had been organised in support of Bersih activist Wong Chin Huat who urged the public to wear black to protest the ongoing Perak political crisis.

Ragunath said it was necessary for a lawyer to be present when a person was arrested or being questioned by police so that accountability in the criminal justice system was maintained.

?If a lawyer is present, it promotes accountability so that lawyers can correct any police excess on the spot,? he said.

Ragunath said the call for the resignations was due to the five being wrongfully accused by the authorities of participating in an illegal assembly and for not allowing them access to the other detainees to act as their legal representatives.

?The lawyers were accused of asking for preferential treatment. It was publicly said that we were not above the law, implying that we had broken the law in front of the police station, which is not true,? he said.

He added that the Bar would be seeking a meeting the Prime Minister to present a memorandum on the Bar?s resolution on the matter.

Meanwhile, the Advocates Association of Sarawak also condemned the detention and interrogation of the LAC lawyers.

Its president Frank Tang King Hung pointed out that detained persons had the right to access to legal counsel under Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution and Sections 28A(2) to (7) of the CPC.

?The police action makes an absolute mockery of the constitutional right to legal representation and is a gross abuse of power,? he said in a statement in support of the Bar?s EGM Friday.
Cops raid DAP HQ and seize computer and 19 DVDs

PETALING JAYA: Police raided the DAP headquarters here last night in connection with the candle-light vigil two nights ago and seized a computer and 19 DVDs.

The one-hour raid by 12 plainclothes men headed by ASP Kamal Khan Mohd Shariff began at 6.25pm.

Police also brought along Ulu Selangor district councillor Ooi Leng Heng, 34, who is also DAP Youth?s political education bureau director.
Ooi, who was handcuffed and wearing a standard orange lock-up uniform, was among 16 people arrested in Pandan Indah during the vigil calling for the dissolution of the Perak state assembly and for fresh elections in Perak.
Puchong MP Gobind Deo Singh who rushed to the DAP headquarters as soon as he heard about it had questioned ASP Kamal, who said the raid was being conducted under the Printing Press and Publications Act.
Gobind later told reporters the police acted wrongly as they conducted the raid without a warrant.

?It is a clear-cut unlawful invasion and trespass of private property. I will be lodging a police report against the conduct of the raiding party,? he said.

Teratai state assemblyman Jenice Lee was also among the 16 arrested at the vigil on Thursday. They are expected to be released today.
In Bukit Mertajam, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng described the raid as a shameful act.

?The police should act against criminals and not elected representatives,? he told reporters after speaking at a ceramah in Padang Berapit last night.
Can all those actions be justified especially detaining the Sin Chew Daily reporter under iSA for her "protection"?
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danielhong93 Male
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  #2 Old 05-06-2009 Default Re: Can the actions of Police towards Politically-related events be justified?

Honestly, this is just sad. I pray that true democracy will stand!
God Bless
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