Sep 24, 2008

Malaysia's Future PM On The Arrest Of Leading Blogger

This from Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia's next Prime Minister

September 12, 2008

ISA Detention of Raja Petra Kamaruddin

I condemn the arrest of social activist and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin under the draconian and infamous ISA. By sanctioning the use of the ISA to avert the process of transformational change in Malaysia, the UMNO-led BN government is confirming that it has lost touch with the will of the people and is no longer capable of leading within the framework of a just and democratic society.

Raja Petra should be released immediately and any allegations leveled against him by the Ministry of Home Affairs must be resolved swiftly by the due process of the law. Raja Petra should be given access to proper legal counsel, and his wife and children should not be denied an opportunity to visit him while he is held captive under this illegal detention.

Raja Petra’s detention and the show cause letters issued today to Sin Chew Daily, The Sun and Suara Keadilan, and its earlier banning of prominent political websites, demonstrate clearly the government’s willingness to subvert the freedom of speech at a time when expression of dissatisfaction with the government’s policies is at an all time high.

In the aftermath of the March 8th elections and the Permatang Pauh by-election the Malaysian people have demonstrated their courage and commitment to building a mature democratic society. The dastardly act of detention without trial will do nothing to abate the current government’s declining credibility, and in fact will likely hasten its eventual collapse.

Keadilan reiterates its vehement opposition to the practice of arbitrary detention without trial. We have consistently called for the immediate release of all ISA detainees, as such practices have no place in a democratic society. The ISA is used to quash dissent and smother those who in exercising their right to free speech voice opinions contrary to the preferred views of the ruling clique.

Invoking the ISA just days before September 16th is clearly an attempt to engineer an atmosphere of fear and instability that would justify the government’s heavy-handed tactics against those aligned with the political opposition.

Opposition Chief