Albar claimed that Tan was detained for her safety as the police believed her life was “under threat”. WHAT FLAWED LOGIC!! Thats really like adding salt to injury, isn’t it?? Lim further added,”If Tan had been detained under the ISA for her own safety, isn’t Hamid being most irresponsible bordering on being criminal and endangering her life in releasing her after 20 short hours?
Furthermore, how can other Malaysians avail themselves of the ISA facility to get police protection?”
Heroine Tan Hoon Cheng with mum after release
The Malaysian Insider Analysis
Why was Sin Chew Daily News reporter Tan Hoon Cheng released 24 hours after her arrest under the Internal Security Act (ISA)? Was it because the alleged threat on her life somehow disappeared just as fast it appeared on the police radar screen?
The simple answer:’ The intervention by Barisan Nasional politicians, including a few from Umno, who were convinced that the government had committed a grave injustice by arresting a journalist who was only doing her job when she reported Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s reckless description of Malaysian Chinese as squatters in the country. And who were concerned of the heavy political punishment that would be exacted on the Barisan Nasional for this mistake.’
The Malaysian Insider has learnt that several Umno politicians met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last night after finding out about the arrest. They argued that the detention appeared to be a move to punish the messenger who had exposed an Umno division chief.
Wearing their political antennas, they also noted that the Chinese community ~ already peeved with the Barisan Nasional over a range of issues ~ is recoiling with anger over her detention. (All Anak Bangsa Malaysia are peeved and pissed by the detention of all three under ISA)
One of the Umno politicians noted that if Tan deserved to be held under the ISA so did Ahmad who not only sparked off the ugly episode during the Permatang Pauh by-election but compounded it by making a series of inflammatory remarks after that.
This morning, MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting spoke to Abdullah, and voiced the party’s distress over the reporter’s detention under the ISA.
He noted that the Chinese community felt that this action was unjustified and could have far reaching consequences for race relations.
It is understood that Abdullah empathised with him. Or more likely was only too aware of the political cost of prolonging the detention.
Tan was released at 2.30pm, presumably after the PM gave instructions to Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.
Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng welcomed her release.
“Her unconditional release is a people’s victory and the outcome of sustained public pressure against the use of draconian laws,” he said in a press statement.
He is right. Sustained pressure by politicians and some government officials close to the PM persuaded him to overrule the police. What is clear from the detention of Tan, DAP’s Teresa Kok and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin is that the government will have to contend with stronger public activism than ever before. (People, this is an important statement to note)
Partly this is driven by the sense of injustice over singling out these three individuals and partly it is the result of a more politically conscious society. Catholic churches are organising vigils for Kok and Raja Petra.
At the St Francis Xavier church in Petaling Jaya ~ Kok’s parish ~ a prayer and silent witnessing session will be held until 2am tomorrow. In an SMS which was circulated widely to Catholics, Father O.C. Lim said: “The unjust may break our bones but they can’t break our spirit.”
The Bar Council is going to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the use of the ISA on the three individuals. But more than the show of solidarity by religious groups and organisations is the open indignation shown by the man in the street.
Newspapers have been inundated with callers from irate readers upset with the use of the ISA on Tan and Kok, some of them wondering why a decent and God-fearing man like the PM was resorting to detention without trial.
With such a build-up of pressure from the ground, the authorities will be hard pressed to keep the DAP MP for Seputih behind bars much longer.