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:
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.