Press Statement by Charles Santiago in Klang on
Friday, 7th November 2008:
Syed Hamid Albar should resign for
I applaud the decision by the Shah Alam
High Court to immediately release prominent blogger Raja Petra
Kamaruddin. But more importantly, judge Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad had
ruled that the detention under the Internal Security Act or ISA was
illegal and unconstitutional.
I received this great piece of news as I was chairing the Parliamentary
Roundtable on the amendment to the University and University Colleges
Act at Parliament involving academics, student bodies, Bar Council, and
members of parliament.
Another point to note is that, according to the judge, Home Minister
Syed Hamid Albar had not followed proper procedure when issuing the
detention order against Raja Petra.
This is disturbing as it aptly describes the high handedness of the
minister and his total disregard for the rule of law. It, once again,
brings to the surface nagging doubts that the detention was to frustrate
Raja Petra for his blog postings.
I therefore urge Syed Hamid to take responsibility for not following
proper procedure in issuing the detention order and resign immediately
for misusing his ministerial power.
Raja Petra's blog, Malaysia Today, was one of the primary sources of
information for the public who had lost faith in the news reports
carried by the controlled local media.
His sensational articles linking deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak
to corruption amounting to billions of dollars and the murder of a
Mongolian woman shifted the ground reality for ruling UMNO. Malaysians
and Barisan Nasional supporters voted for the opposition, delivering a
severe blow to the ruling government at the March general election.
Although we are happy with the release of Raja Petra who has paid
heavily for his candid remarks and bold writing, our struggle must not
The ISA must be repealed as it violates the very grains of democracy.
The pre-independence relic denies detainees the right to legal
representation and also allows for indefinite detention.
In Malaysia, it is primarily used to thwart any opposition to the ruling
government and silence the voice of dissidents like Raja Petra.
We are witnessing historic changes in the political platforms around the
world. The victory of US President-elect Barack Obama has renewed the
hope, of millions, for change.
Malaysia is also gearing up for a change in leadership. Let us take this
opportunity to make the right decisions that could initiate change and
reforms in the administration of the country.
I, therefore, once again strongly appeal to the government to abolish
the Internal Security Act, release the Hindraf Five and all other ISA
* Charles Santiago, MP for Klang