Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gerakan calls for ISA to be amended or abolished


Gerakan acting present Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon has called on the government to either amend or abolish the Internal Security Act.

He said the existence of the act painted a very negative perception of the country to the outside world, adding that it was also irrelevant considering the country had a sound judicial system in place.

“It is time this act be seriously looked at. Gerakan strongly urges the government to abolish the ISA once and for all.

“There is no reason why anyone should be subject to the provisions of this act which simply means detention without trial when the authorities can use the judicial system instead,” he said after opening the state Gerakan convention here.

Koh said the judicial system was far more transparent in terms of the legal and social aspects as compared to the ISA.
“When you detain someone under the ISA, it gives room for people to draw all kinds of conclusions and provides plenty of room for manipulation.

“Gerakan, for one, is against taking action against the Press as this is clearly against the freedom of expression which is provided for under the Federal Constitution,” he said.

Referring to former Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail, Koh said it was ironic that the “man who burnt down the house was still free, while the person who cried fire” had been detained.

(Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng was detained under the ISA on Friday over her report about Ahmad’s alleged racist remarks during a ceramah in the run-up to the Permatang Pauh by-election.)

“The minute we heard about the reporter's detention, I personally called the prime minister and his deputy to express Gerakan's disappointment. It is not only Gerakan which is upset, but also many senior ministers and ex-ministers also,” said Koh.

He said Gerakan was also against the detention of Seputeh member of Parliamet Teresa Kok and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

“If they have done anything wrong, use the legal system to seek justice. Give the alleged wrongdoers a proper trial and if they are found guilty, then punish them accordingly.

“In this modern age and time, it is totally unacceptable to detain anyone without trial,” he said.


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