(Penang, Wednesdat): The police re-arrest of two lecturers minutes after they were freed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court from detention under the Internal Security Act is most astounding and a major setback to public confidence in the government's commitment to the rule of law.
The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor's justification of the re-arrest under the ISA of Universiti Malaya's professor Lutpi Ibrahim and Institut Teknologi Mara's Fadzlullah Shuib and that the police did not "main pondok" are completely unconvincing. The police re-arrest of the two lecturers within minutes after they were freed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in a habeas corpus application makes a complete mockery of the both the judicial system and the principle of the rule of law.
Both Lutpi and Fadzlullah should not have been detained under the ISA in the first place, for there are adequate laws in the country to charge them in open court if they had committed offences. Their re-arrest under the ISA after the High Court had ordered their release from unlawful detention compounds the government's disregard of the rule of law as distinct from the rule by law, and offends decent Malaysians as something which should not occur in our country.
At a time when Malaysia is aiming to establish a civil society, and to be a model for other developing nations, any use of detention-without-trial laws to arbitrarily deny its citizens their fundamental rights to liberty of the person and due process of law, must be regarded as unacceptable and the Police must adhere to higher standards of public accountability in every such instance.
Furthermore, the Police must exercise greater self-discipline and self-restraint and take a policy decision not to abuse and flaunt its powers by blatantly re-arresting citizens under the same ISA minutes after the court had ordered their release.
The police re-arrest of the two lecturers under ISA is most astounding and I call on the Police to stop "main pondok", free the two lecturers or put them on public trial to restore public faith in the rule of law.