(Ipoh, Wednesday): I was arrested by the Ipoh police this
morning although I had committed no offence under any law and the police could
not tell me at the time precisely what offence I had committed.
I was distributing the “No to 911, No
to 929, Yes to 1957” People’s Awareness Campaign leaflet outside the Pasir
Pinji market in Ipoh when I was arrested by Chief Inspector Abdul Wahab bin Abu
Rahman, 47, on the instruction of the Deputy OCPD Ipoh, Supt. Sab Hanafiah.
Both were unable to tell me what offence I had committed, with Sab
claiming that I had committed an offence under the Sedition Act for distributing
a pamphlet without a permit.
I am not aware that there is such an
offence of “distributing a pamphlet without a permit under the Sedition Act”
and I have received a call from DAP National Deputy Chairman Karpal Singh
confirming that there is no such offence under the Sedition Act.
I have been released on RM3,000 police
bail in one surety given by DAP Perak State Chairman Ngeh Koo Ham for an offence
under Section 4(i)© of the Sedition Act 1948 in connection with distributing
materials having a seditious tendency, which is completely different from what
Sab had claimed at Pasir Pinji market about
the offence of “distributing a pamphlet without permit under the
Sedition Act”. The offence under
section 4(i)© of Sedition Act is liable to maximum sentence of three years
jail, RM5,000 fine or both. I am to appear in court in Ipoh on July 5 on the police bond.
The first thought that occurred to me
in the arrest is that if the police could so blatantly abuse their powers,
including illegal arrests on flimsy and even non-existent grounds against
political leaders, how can ordinary citizens be safe from the police, who are
supposed to protect instead of tyrannize over the people.
The police abuse of power and illegal
arrest this morning is another blot for the people-friendly image of the police
– so soon after the outrageous case of the
police killing of an innocent factory worker, Ramli Othman, 25, who died
leaving a wife and three young children, all
because he did not have a crash-helmet when riding his motor-cycle in Puchong,
Selangor last Sunday.
I understand that the case has been
referred to the higher-ups to establish whether I had committed an offence.
It is another blatant abuse of police power to arrest first and then try
to find whether an offence had been committed and I call on the
Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai and the Attorney-General to
issue specific directives to the police not to abuse arrest powers to arrest
first and find out whether an offence had been committed later.
I will meet the Suhakam Chairman Tan
Sri Abu Talib Othman next week over the crisis of confidence and credibility
faced by the Human Rights Commission and I will take the occasion to discuss
with him the Suhakam fail;ure to educate the police of their human rights
responsibilities resulting in police abuses of power, illegal arrests and
violation of human rights of Malaysians.
It is sad that the Malaysian police are
the biggest violaters of human rights of Malaysians when they should be in the
forefront to protect and promote human rights.