Malaysiakini NEWS

After crackdown, PSM reminds Harapan leaders of their ISA arrests

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PSM reminded Pakatan Harapan leaders of their detention under the now-defunct Internal Security Act after the police arrested seven individuals, including two DAP politicians, for their alleged links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The seven were held under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), which allows for detention without trial for a period of 28 days.

Condemning the arrests, PSM deputy chairperson S Arutchelvan noted how Pakatan Harapan had pledged to repeal draconian laws, including Sosma.

“Many leaders in Harapan have been victims of the ISA and they know very well how detention without trial laws can be used and abused by the government.

“Harapan had promised to repeal POCA (Prevention of Crime Act) and abolish the draconian provisions in Sosma. Harapan also called it oppressive,” he said in a statement this evening.

Arutchelvan said PSM has experienced the abuse of such laws, noting how six of its leaders, including chairperson Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, were detained under the Emergency Ordinance.

“They were not only released but the government had to pay compensation for their unlawful detention.

“(Former Bersih chairperson and current Petaling Jaya MP) Maria Chin (Abdullah) was also detained under Sosma (in 2016) and also won compensation,” he added.

Former Umno division leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan and lawyer Matthias Chang were also detained under Sosma for lodging a series of reports regarding the 1MDB scandal in 2015.

Among the notable leaders arrested under the ISA in the past were PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, DAP leaders Lim Kit Siang and his son Guan Eng, PKR vice-president Tian Chua, DAP's Teresa Kok, the late Karpal Singh and V Ganabatirau.

Meanwhile, Arutchelvan said many Tamils in Malaysia are sympathetic with the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka and considered the LTTE as an organisation which fought for liberation.

“Having said that, the LTTE has been completely wiped out and those claiming today to have links with the LTTE are perhaps living in nostalgia.

“The police must have solid proof to back their allegations as the Inspector-General of Police (Abdul Hamid Bador) previously said Sosma would not be abused.

“We reiterate our position against detention without trial because it goes against the principles of justice. We call for the release of those arrested.

“This detention is yet another test for the Harapan government and their reform agenda,” he added.

According to the police, one of the suspects arrested, an insurance agent, had planned to launch an attack on the Sri Lanka High Commission building in Kuala Lumpur.

The two politicians detained were Malacca exco G Saminathan and Seremban Jaya assemblyperson P Gunasekaran.

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