DAP sending strongest possible protest to Dr. Mahathir for detention of DAP MP Tan Kok Wai under the Internal Security Act for protesting against Cheras toll

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 9th September 1990:

DAP sending strongest possible protest to Dr. Mahathir for detention of DAP MP Tan Kok Wai under the Internal Security Act for protesting against Cheras toll

DAP is sending the strongest possible protest to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, for the Barisan Nasional government’s gross abuse of power in using the Internal Security Act for detaining a Member of Parliament for representing the people in their protest against the unreasonable and highly exploitative Cheras toll charges.

I am asking for a meeting with the Prime Minister over the detention of the DAP MP for Sungei Besi, Sdr. Tan Kok Wai, under the Internal Security Act.

If a Member of Parliament could be locked away under the Internal Security Act for representing his constituents, then it makes a completely mockery of the entire process of parliamentary democracy and representative government.

In a country which really practices representative government and where the principle of the power of the people is honoured, no elected MP would be detained without trial without an immediate meeting of Parliament for the police to justify such an extraordinary action.

But in Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy, if it suits the larger interest of the ruling parties, the police could lock up indefinitely an elected MP without ground or cause.

If this is not a Police State, then what is a Police State?

In the case of Tan Kok Wai, it has been clearly established that he was not at the scene at the Cheras toll plaza on Friday night when the spontaneous frustration and anger of the people boiled over into ugly incidents with the police.

Tan Kok Wai was in fact at a meeting with the Cheras Anti-toll Residents Committee planning to hold a demonstration next Saturday. The Cheras Anti-Toll Residents Committee meeting on Friday night had decided to apply for a Police permit for a demonstration on 15th Sept., and the demonstration by the people of Cheras last Friday had nothing to do either with the Cheras Anti-Toll Residents Committee or the DAP.

If the DAP MP for Sungei Besi, Tan Kok Wai, had contravened any law of the land, he should be charged in a court of law to allow him an opportunity to defend himself.

One newspaper reported today that Tan Kok Wai and Lim Yoke Kee, aide to Bukit BIntang DAP MP, Lee Lam Thye, were summoned to the Cheras police station and arrested when they turned up at 5 am. Yesterday. This is incorrect.

Tan Kok Wai and three others went to the Cheras police station to boil out the 31 persons arrested by the police, when they were all detained.

DAP has always opposed the use of violence but reiterate its firm stand behind the people of Cheras to oppose the Cheras tolls

On behalf of the DAP, I want to make it very clear that the DAP had always oppose the use of violence, whether by the people or by the government.

Deputy IGP Tan Sri Rahim Noor had said that if the people are unhappy they could use proper channels to express their grievances, and if they do not want to pay toll, they could use alternative routes.

This is the crux of the whole problem of the frustration and anger over the Cheras toll issue. The people, through the Cheras Anti-Toll Residents Committee and their elected representatives, had tried to convey their views and demands for the removal of the toll to the highest authorities, but have not been successful.

The 200,000 residents in the 60-odd housing estates directly affected by the Cheras tolls who do not want to pay tolls have no other alternative routes, when more and more access roads and slipways, like the Christian cemetery path, were closed off by Syarikat Teratai K.G. Sdn. Bhd., the toll collection company.

I call on the Police to review its crowd control techniques, for it should have been able to control the crowds which came out spontaneously last Friday to protest against the toll imposition without letting it degenerate into ugly incidents and violence.

DAP calls on the Prime Minister, before he leaves for his South Korean visit, to immediately stop the Cheras Road tolls collections.

If the government wants the Cheras toll plaza to operate, then it should only be allowed to do so when it has ensured that there are suitable alternative routes for the 200,000 residents in the surrounding 60-odd housing estates, including the re-opening of all the access roads and slipways that had been closed off by Teratai in the past few days.