(Kuala Lumpur, Sunday): DAP condemns the arrest of Parti Keadilan National Youth chief Ezam Mohamad Nor yesterday and calls for his immediate release.
The police arrest was most uncalled for as it was based on the Mingguan Malaysia front-page report that Ezam had said that he was launching street demonstrations every day to topple the government.
The first thing the police should do is to establish the veracity or otherwise of the Mingguan Malaysia report as Ezam has denied that he had ever made such a statement, and he repeated this denial when I asked him over the phone yesterday.
There is no justification for the police to arrest Ezam before finding out whether there is any truth in the Mingguan Malaysia report, for if the report is false, then the person to be arrested is not Ezam but the Mingguan Malaysia editor.
Why should the police believe the Mingguan Malaysia and not Ezam, especially as the lack of credibility and integrity of Mingguan Malaysia in political journalism is household knowledge in Malaysia?
The DAP has made it an essential creed of our political struggle in the past 35 years that we are committed to political change through the peaceful and democratic process and not by any violent or unconstitutional means.
The government on the other hand should respect the fundamental rights of Malaysians to the freedom of speech, assembly and association and should take note that Suhakam is drawing up a code of guidelines whereby peaceful assemblies could be conducted by Malaysians to express their concerns and grievances to the government in an orderly, peaceful and democratic manner.
Suhakam should speak out against the high-handed and politically-motivated police action in arresting Ezam without establishing whether the Mingguan Malaysia report is true or not as well as call for Ezam’s immediate and unconditional release.