Malaysians again see in the newspapers today four Keadilan leaders, one of whom is a State Assemblyman, being taken to court in handcuffs to be further remanded in police lock-up for four days purportedly to "assist police investigations into the illegal demonstration at the National Mosque on Sept. 19".
I had earlier questioned the need for the police to remand seven opposition leaders and activists, namely PKN Vice Chairman Tian Chua, PKN Youth leader Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor, former private secretary to Anwar Ibrahim, Azmin Ali, PKN Sabah Youth chief Dr. Badrul Amin Baharom, PAS Central Committee member, Dr. Hatta Ramli, PRM Legal Adviser Sivarasa Rasiah and former student leader Hishamuddin Rais who have subsequently been charged in court under Section 27(5) of the Police Act for an unlawful assembly at the grounds of the national mosque on Sept. 19, 1999.
I had asked: "Apart from trying to humiliate the seven, can the Police make out a credible case that it must physically remand the seven in the police lock-up 24 hours a day for five or six days to enable the police to conduct its investigations, when all the seven would have fully co-operated with the police by appearing at the police station at the fixed dates and times for interrogation?"
The Police has not been able to answer this question, and I want to
ask the same question with regard to the four-day remand of another four
Keadilan officials, namely its Information chief, Ruslan Kassim,
Perak Youth chief Hanafiah Man, Johore Youth chief Lokman Noor Adam, Youth
wing assistant secretary N. Gopalakrishnan, as well as lawyer Wan Mohamad
Razali and driver Urmia Mat Zaid.
I call on Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to intervene to stop police double-standards where opposition activists and lawyers are humiliated by being handcuffed and remanded in lock-ups when the former Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor was given special treatment and never had to spend a second either in handcuffs or in a police lock-up although he had brought shame to the police force, the government and the nation by taking the law into his own hands when he assaulted Anwar Ibrahim in the Bukit Aman police lock-up on the first night of his arrest on Sept. 20 last year - until blue-black in the eye and within an inch of Anwar’s life!
I commend the Negri Sembilan Police for the restrained, considerate and responsible manner it conducted its investigation in connection with a gathering at the state mosque on Sept. 18, recording statements from two Keadilan leaders without subjecting them to the indignity and humiliation of dumping them in the police lock-up, and I call on the Federal Territory Police to take a leaf from the Negri Sembilan Police to demonstrate to Malaysians that it could act with restraint and not abuse its powers to humiliate opposition activists.