(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Police has given itself a "black eye" in arresting Parti Keadilan National Youth chief Ezam Mohamad Nor on Monday, showing the nation and the world in the high-profile case that the police is most unprofessional, lacking independence and most politically-motivated.
The police arrested Ezam based on the Mingguan Malaysia front-page report on Sunday that the Keadilan Youth leader had said that he was launching street demonstrations every day to topple the government.
Professional and competent police all over the world would investigate first before making any arrest, but the Malaysian police has done itself a great disservice by showing to the whole world that it does the opposite - arrest first and investigate later.
As Ezam has denied that he had ever made such a statement as reported by Mingguan Malaysia, would the police arrest the Mingguan Malaysia editor and reporter concerned unless they can produce proof that Ezam had in fact made the statement?
The Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has done his own reputation no good in his swift endorsement of the completely indefensible police action in arresting first and investigating later in the Ezam case.
A strong and fair-minded Home Minister would have reprimanded the police for bringing the police and the country into disrepute in the arrest of Ezam even before there was any investigation, showing the world how unprofessional the Malaysian police could be in dancing to the tune of the political agenda of UMNO whose UMNO Youth had lodged a police report against Ezam earlier the same day.
Abdullah should direct the police to release Ezam immediately as the arrest on Monday was most unprofessional, in bad faith and with ulterior motives, as it was made before the police had checked whether there was any truth in the Mingguan Malaysia report.
The further remand of Ezam for another four days following the expiry of his two-day detention today is scandalous and outrageous, as it flouts all notions of fair play and justice.
The Ezam case has served to highlight the double standards practised by the police in handling political cases, where reports lodged by Barisan Nasional parties against Barisan Alternative leaders are taken as gospel truth even causing the police to dishonour its professional code in commiting the unthinkable deed of arresting first and investigate later, while reports lodged by the Barisan Alternative against Barisan Nasional leaders are regarded as trash not deserving of any police action!
Malaysians had hoped that with Abdullah as Home Minister, there would be greater police professionalism and independence in the police handling of such political cases, but the Ezam case has shown that the opposite has taken place.
In fact, the police under Abdullah is becoming even more intolerant and repressive as shown by the arrest of nine persons outside the Dang Wangi district police headquarters last night for a peaceful candlelight vigil in support of Ezam who was held in the police lock-up there.
There can be no justification for the high-handed police action against a peaceful candlelight vigil gathering, and something is very wrong with the police mentality and the law and order situation in the country when such a small peaceful candlelight vigil could be regarded as a threat to security as to justify the mobilisation of the FRU and police arrests.
The police should immediately release the six men and three women arrested last night and remember that the police must contribute to the national objective as laid down in the Rukunegara "to maintain a democratic way of life" and not to perpetrate a repressive police state by respecting the peaceful gathering of people who want to express their outrage or concern at unfair or unjust government actions.