Abdullah should make a ministerial statement in Parliament tomorrow to explain why he is spearheading an open declaration of war against the rule of law in the re-arrest of Nasharuddin under ISA after Shah Alam High Court has granted his habeas corpus application and ordered his release
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Sunday): The re-arrest of an alleged KMM member Nasharuddin Nasir under the Internal Security Act (ISA) after the Shah Alam High Court has granted his habeas corpus application and ordered his release is no less than an open declaration of war against the rule of law by the Executive.
Nasharuddin, 45, a petty trader, was arrested under the ISA on April 17, along with 13 others, for alleged involvement with the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
On Friday, the Shah Alam High Court judge Datuk Suriyadi Halim Omar declared that Nasaruddin's arrest and detention under the ISA for alleged terrorist activities was unlawful after police failed to show evidence justifying his arrest and that the ministerial detention order dated June 12 was defective and unlawful.
Although the Shah Alam High Court ordered Nasharrudin's release on Friday at 11.30 a.m., Nasharruddin was only released from the Kamunting Detention Centre at 1.31 p.m. yesterday and was immediately re-arrested and taken to the Kamunting police station where he was served with a new detention order signed by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi the day before and sent back to the Kamunting detention centre at 3.15 p.m.
DAP calls on the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, to make a ministerial statement in Parliament tomorrow to explain why by signing the Nasaruddin's re-detention order as the Home Minister, he is spearheading an open declaration of war against the rule of law.
This is most ominous for the future of Malaysian democracy as Abdullah seems to be sending out an important signal that there will be no let-up in the Executive encroachment and usurpation of the powers of the judiciary and that nobody should expect greater respect for the rule of law after he becomes the fifth Prime Minister next October.
The issue at stake here is not whether one is for or against terrorism, but whether one is for or against the rule of law as the war against terrorism must not be waged in utter and reckless disregard of the rule of law, spawning or aggravating root causes of terrorism which US President Bush has rightly been criticized for ignoring in his war against terrorism.
In his ministerial statement in Parliament tomorrow, Abdullah should explain why his Ministry had not anticipated the Shah Alam High Court judgment, which is the logical outcome following the landmark Federal Court decision on Sept. 6 on judicial review of ISA detentions, adopting the "objective" in place of the "subjective" test to enable the courts to examine the reasons for detention.
If the Home Ministry had been fully aware of the consequences of the landmark decision of the Federal Court judgment on September 6, Abdullah should explain in Parliament why it had not been able to produce evidence to satisfy the court that it had adequate and sufficient reason to invoke the ISA to detain Nasharrudin without trial.
Was this because no such evidence exist, or had the Home Ministry arrived at a policy decision to show utter contempt for the courts and declare open war against the principle of the rule of law by automatically re-detaining Nasharrudin under the ISA after the granting of habeas corpus application in accordance with the principle laid down by the landmark September 6 Federal Court judgment?
The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim, said yesterday that the government intends to tighten the ISA to curb judicial scrutiny of the reasons for detention and that amendments to the ISA to keep matters pertaining to state security out of court by prohibiting sensitive information being brought to court will be tabled in the March meeting of Parliament.
The Suhakam Commissioners, which are having their full board meeting tomorrow, should declare the Suhakam stand in keeping with their statutory duties to protect and promote human rights on the Executive's open declaration of war against the rule of law in the re-detention of Nasharuddin as well as Rais' move to amend the ISA to destroy the rule of law by the total undoing of the landmark Sept. 6 Federal Court judgment.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman