by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 17th June, 1993:
DAP calls for the immediate release of the other five Sabahans detained under Internal Security Act
While welcoming the release of Benedict Topin and Abdul Rahman Ahmad from detention under the Internal Security Act, DAP calls for the immediate release of the other five Sabahans detained under the ISA for the same reasons – for alleged complicity in a secession plot to take Sabah out of Malaysia.
The release of Benedict Topin and Abdul Rahman shows that their alleged complicity in a secession plot to take Sabah out of Malaysia is only an excuse to detain the seven Sabahans – as the Government has failed to produce one iota of evidence in the past three years to substantiate such a serious allegation.
The seven Sabahans were detained from May 1990 to July 1991. Benedict Topin and Albinus Yudah were detained under the ISA in May 1990, Danit Undikai in June 1990, Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan in May 1991 and Ariffin alias Alfa Hamid in July 1991.
In announcing the suspension of the detention orders for Benedict Topin and Abdul Rahman by Home Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed last Friday, the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Megat Junid said that it was possible that the advisory board was satisfied that the two had indeed repented and had realised their mistake while under detention. As such, they made recommendations that the two be released.
Federal Constitution does not give the advisory board any powers to exonerate or pardon a person who have committed the capital crime of high treason
This is a most illogical and extraordinary explanation. Is Datuk Megat Junid suggesting that both Benedict Topin and Abdul Rahman have now been released from detention under the ISA because they have confessed and repented for involvement in a secession plot to take Sabah out of Malaysia?
Although Benedict Topin and Abdul Rahman have been released form the Kamunting Detention Centre, their freedoms are still being curtailed as they are under police restrictions. In the circumstances, it is most unfair for Datuk Megat to suggest that both of them had confessed and repented for their complicity in a secession plot to take Sabah out of Malaysia.
The Federal Constitution does not given the advisory board any powers to exonerate or pardon a person for committing the capital crime of high treason – and repentance cannot save a person who had committed heinous crimes from being prosecuted in court, just as repentance cannot save a murderer or rapist from being charged in court. Repentance goes to mitigation but not to conviction for commission for a crime.
If it is true that Benedict Topin and Adbul Rahman had confessed and repented to the capital crime of high treason of complicity in a secession plot to take Sabah out of Malaysia, then they should be charged in court, where their repentance would be taken into account for mitigation of the sentences.
Datuk Megat Junid has done a great disservice and wrong in his statement yesterday. If his statement is true, then he had aided and abetted in the circumvention of the law where a person who had confessed to the crime of high treason does not have to face the full rigours of the law. If Datuk Megat’s statement is incorrect, in that neither Benedict Topin and Abdul Rahman had confessed plot, then he had publicly abused his position as Deputy Home Minister to defame two Malaysian citizens.
I have twice been detained under the Internal Security Act, and I can vouch that statements made Cabinet Ministers for the reasons for the detention of persons under the Internal Security are not backed by facts or evidence, but are unfounded allegations to provide the political justification for the ISA detentions without trial.