by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, September 6, 1994:
Is the Malaysian Government asking the Indonesian Government to hand over the No.2 Al Arqam leader, Abdul Halim Abbas for detention under the ISA in the same, way the Thai authorities handed over Asshari Muhammad and wife?
Is the Malaysian Government asking the Indonesian Government to hand over the No. 2 Al Arqam leader, Abdul Halim Abbas, for detention under the Internal Security Act in the same way the Thai authorities had handed over Asshari Muhammad and wife after revocation of their passports by the Immigrant Department?
DAP reiterates that the Government should not use the ISA against Ashaari, his wife or other Al Arqam members, because it is an undemocratic law which allows for indefinite detention without trial without giving the detainee a chance to defend himself in a court of law.
For this reason, Ashaari, his wife and others who had been detained under the ISA should be released immediately. If they have committed any crimes against the law, they should be charged and tried under the ordinary laws of the land.
In Jakarta yesterday, the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor, dismissed the DAP’s protests against the use of ISA as a violation of human rights, claiming “adalah menjadi hak mereka untuk mengkritik kerana ISA selama ini memang tidak pernah lepas daripada kritikan”.
The Police owes the nation an explanation why it could not use the ordinary laws of the land to arrest the Al Arqam leader and charge him in a court of law, instead of having to resort to the most undemocratic ISA.
In an era ‘Where the people expect higher standards of accountability, transparency and responsibility by all public officers and departments, even the police must act more accountably’.
The Police cannot just say that just because it has the powers to act under the ISA, why should it act under the other ordinary laws to give the detainee a chance to defend himself in a trial.
The new climate demanding greater accountability of the Police requires the Police to explain and justify itself whenever it resorts to extraordinary laws like the ISA.
Furthermore, the DAP condemns the novel manner in which Ashaari and his wife had been brought back to Malaysia, by getting the co-operation of another ASEAN country to hand them over to the Malaysian authorities after revoking their passports.
Is this going to be the new spirit of ‘co-operation’ among ASEAN countries, where the ASEAN governments would help each other to hand over ‘wanted’ or ‘undesirable’ nationals for prolonged detentions without trial, without going through the due process of law as in the normal extradition proceedings?