DAP calls for the immediate release of Jeffrey Kitingan or he should be charged in court with a chance to defend himself

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 14th May 1991:

DAP calls for the immediate release of Jeffrey Kitingan or he should be charged in court with a chance to defend himself.

The detention of Sabah Foundation director Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan immediately after Tun Mustapha’s victory at the Usukan by-election with a smaller majority is a clear abuse of power and the latest violation of human rights in Malaysia.

Malaysia will again be highlighted in the international arena as a country where there is utterly no respect for the fundamental right of the liberty of the person and where human rights are very primitive.

Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Haniff Omar, said that Dr. Kitingan was detained under Section 73(1) of the Internal Security Act “to facilitate follow-up investigations because there were reasons to believe that Datuk Dr. Kitingan could be involved in a plot to pull Sabah out of Malaysia.”

The DAP calls for the immediate release of Jeffrey Kitingan or he should be charged incourt with a chance to defend himself agains the Federal government charges.

The DAP also rejects the reason given by the IGP for the detention of Jeffrey Kitingan, for the ISA is not meant to make life easy for Police to enable it to ‘facilitiate follow-up investigations’ into anything. On this basis, the the Police will soon claim that it has been given the right under the ISA to detain anybody under Section 73(1) of the ISA for sixty days just for ‘follow-up investigations’.

We will then have opposition political leaders and government critics incarcerated for sixty days under the ISA just to enable the Police to carry out ‘follow-up investigation’!

Speaking as a person who had been victimised and detained twice under the Internal Security Act, the so-called police ‘follow-up investigations’ is just an excuse as the Police had clearly made up its mind and taken a policy decision when it invoked the ISA to detain Jeffrey Kitingan.

For the past few years, Federal government leaders from the Prime Minister downwards, as well as top Police officers, including the IGP himself, had been talking about a plot for secession in Sabah.

At least half a dozen people had been detained under the ISA allegedly for such a plot for secession in Sabah.

Having talked so long and so much about the Sabah secession plot and detained half a dozen people under the ISA, the police should have enough evidence to convince the public that the so-called Sabah secession plot has some basis and not just a political frame-up in the ongoing political conflict between the PBS and the Barisan Nasional at the Federal level.

If by now the Police is unable to make public the evidence of such a Sabah secession plot, then the people of Sabah as well as the people in Malaysia cannot accept the reasons given by IGP for Jeffrey Kitingan’s detention.

It is most ironical that Jeffrey Kitingan should be detained under the ISA for allegedly plotting to pull Sabah out of Malaysia after the victory of Tun Mustapha in the Usakan by-election, for Tun Mustapha was accused of plotting to take Sabah out of Sabah and create a Sulu Sultanate by the Federal Government in 1976, but the ISA was never used against Tun Mustapha.

The DAP calls on the Government and the Police to immediately present a White Paper to prove that there is indeed such a Sabah secession plot involving Sabah state government leaders, and that it is not just a mere concoction in the minds of the Barisan Nasional leaders and the Police.

If the Federal Government and the Police continue to allege a Sabah secession plot and use it to eliminate Sabah leaders without producing evidence, this will gravely damage national integration, particularly the intergration of the people of Sabah in Malaysia – for such allegation implies that the people of Sabah are lacking in loyalty to Malaysia.

DAP calls on the Federal Government, and in particular the Police, not to play politics with national integration and Malaysian unity and to immediately release Jeffrey Kitingan or charge him in the court of law to prove that the Police is acting with a real sense of responsibility and not at the bidding of its political masters.