Samy Vellu said the workers had gone to the Immigration Department to lodge a complaint about the ill-treatment given by their employer at a Serdang factory when they were arrested by the officers who accused them of creating trouble. The workers alleged that their employer had cut their salaries by 50%, made them go through a regimented work style and provided deplorable living conditions
Samy Vellu said there was no basis for the 43 to be arrested as they have valid passports and work permits.
I commend Samy Vellu for his outspokenness against the flagrant injustice
perpetrated against the 43 Indian nationals, but it would be a shame to
Malaysia if at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow, only injustices suffered by
foreign nationals are raised while no Minister dare to raise the
blatant injustices and human rights violations over the use of the Internal
Security Act (ISA) to arrest the Reformasi Seven and the continued police
denial of access to the detainees by their family members and lawyers.
As Samy Vellu would be raising the unlawful detention of the 43 Indian nationals by the Immigration Department, is there any Minister who would dare to raise the ISA arrests and human rights violations in tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting?
From the various conflicting and confusing statements issued by Gerakan leaders after the ISA crackdown, it would appear that Cabinet Ministers do not fully understand the contents and implications of the detention without trial ISA.
There is a Minister who seems to think that the police can wake up one morning and out-of-the-blue decide that he can detain anyone under Section 73(1) of the ISA for investigation for 60 days without any grounds whatsoever, and that the police has 60 days to “fish for evidence” before the Home Minister is required to act under Section 8 of the ISA to decide whether to issue a formal two-year detention order.
I had lunch with the Professor R.H. Hickling, who was the draftsman of the Internal Security Act 1960, who was horrified that anyone could ever have such a notion. He was already very upset that the judicial review provisions he had embedded in the original ISA had been removed by various amendments but for anyone to suggest that the police could act without any evidence to initiate the first ISA interrogative arrests is not only unthinkable to the ISA draftsman but completely repugnant to Section 73(1) of the Act.
The problem is that with the removal of judicial review under the ISA, abuses of power under Section 73(1) where police acted unlawfully without evidence or adequate ground is not challengeable in the court of law, but this does not mean that it is not challengeable at the bar of public opinion in a parliamentary democracy!
I had yesterday criticised the Gerakan President and Primary Industries Minister, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, for suggesting that it was all right to to detain the seven under the ISA for investigation, but that they should be released if there are no evidence to charge them in court after 60 days.
Keng Yaik does not seem to understand two things about the ISA:
Although Keng Yaik’s proposal that ISA detainees should be released if the police have no evidence to charge them in open court after 60 days runs counter to the provisions in the ISA, is he prepared to raise the issue in Cabinet tomorrow for such a policy decision to be taken and announced after the meeting: namely, that henceforth, until the ISA is properly amended, any person detained under Section 73(1) of the ISA for interrogative custody would be released if after the expiry of 60 days the police does not have evidence to charge them in court for public trial.
Keng Yaik owes Malaysians an explanation on the outcome of his proposal
after the Cabinet meeting tomorrow.