Three questions for Abdullah - did he take Hishamuddin judgement into consideration before signing ISA detention orders for Ezam, Tian Chua, Saari and Hishamuddin?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): DAP welcomes the release of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Free Anwar Campaign director and condemns the formal detention of Parti Keadilan Nasional leaders Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor and  Tian Chua  and two reformasi activists Saari Sungib and Hishamuddin Rais under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Raja Petra was released yesterday while the four others have been sent to the Kamunting detention centre in  Perak to begin their two-year formal ISA detention order.

The formal detention of Ezam, Tian Chua, Saari and Hishamuddin under the ISA is most deplorable, especially as only four days earlier, the Shah Alam High Court judge Justice Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus had delivered the landmark judgement on habeas corpus and the ISA, faulting the recent spate of ISA arrests as studded with abuses of power, mala fide and violation of fundamental  Constitutional safeguards on the liberty of the person.

At the end of his landmark judgement, Hishamuddin posed the burning issue of the day in Malaysia when he said that “with the greatest respect and in all humility, perhaps it is high time for Parliament to consider whether the ISA, which was originally meant to counter Communist terrorism in the early years of our Independence, is really relevant to the present-day situation of this nation of ours; or, if at all it is to be retained, at least whether its provisions need to be thoroughly reviewed to prevent or minimise the abuses which I have highlighted in this judgment.”

I wish to pose three questions to the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who, as Home Minister, must have acted under Section 8 of the Internal Security Act to sign the detention orders for Ezam, Tian Chua, Saari and Hishamuddin:

  1. How had he, as Home Minister, satisfied himself that the detention of the four  under the ISA is necessary for the security of Malaysia; did he just rubber-stamp the recommendation of the police or did he cause an independent assessments to be made about the reliability and veracity of the various matters contained in the police investigation papers and recommendation?
  2. Did he sign the detention order for Ezam, Tian Chua, Saari and Hishamuddin before or after the Shah Alam High Court judgement, and if after, did he study the Hishamuddin judgement and take it  into consideration before coming to his decisions; and
  3. If he had failed to study and taken the  Hishamuddin judgement into consideration before exercising his powers under Section 8 of the ISA to issue formal detention orders, would he suspend the detention order served on the four until he had given the Hishamuddin judgement due and proper consideration?

The answers to these three questions will throw light as to whether Abdullah had discharged his fearsome powers to deprive a person of his most precious right - liberty of the person -  fully conscious of his duty to uphold the rule of law or otherwise.

When introducing the Eighth Malaysia Plan in the Dewan Negara last Tuesday, Abdullah called for a policy of transparency to ensure the success of the government’s development plans.

Abdullah should prove his own  commitment to transparency by accounting for his actions as Home Minister in  ordering the detention of Ezam, Tian Chua, Saari and Hishamuddin by answering the three questions which I have posed.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman