The release of SOS (Save Ourselves) secretary Ong Boon Keong and Ooi Chuan Seng a day after the police had sought a magistrate’s consent to extend their detention for another five days is an admission of the correctness of my criticism yesterday that the extension was completely unnecessary and a gross abuse of power.
There were many abuses of power in this simple and straightforward case
the SOS and the pre-war tenants seeking to get Penang Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to stop evading his promises and responsibilities to resolve the adverse socio-economic impact of the most ill-planned repeal of the Rent Control Act, such as:
If the police had not exceeded its powers and jurisdiction in trying to help the Penang Chief Minister to extricate himself from his failure to fulfil his promises to the pre-war tenants to resolve their problems, such a simple and straightforward case would not have become so complicated resulting in so many abuses of power.
The Penang Police’s standing suffered a serious setback in the past four days and it should learn an expensive lesson of not trying to extricate government leaders from their failures to resolve socio-economic hardships of the people and having of face the wrath of the people through peaceful and civilised protests.
The police should drop all charges against the three SOS activists, in particular the ridiculous charge of rioting under Section 147 of the Penal Code.
In fact Tsu Koon should ask the police to drop all charges against the three SOS activists, making clear that there was no rioting whatsoever last Friday but only personal embarrassment on his part - and that he could testify in court that there was no rioting in the meaning of Section 147 of the Penal Code.
Tsu Koon should also explain whether he was responsible for the lodging of a police report against the SOS activists for rioting over last Friday’s incident.
It would be very sad if the Penang Chief Minister, who has expressed support for human rights and civil liberties, allows such an outrageous charge of rioting against the three SOS activists to stand - which would tantamount to telling Malaysians that they could be charged with rioting if they exercise their democratic right to protest against government leaders whether national or state for their failure to resolve the people’s socio-economic problems caused by government neglect.