ISA dragnet widens: Journalist held
Malaysiakini Team Sep 12, 08 9:38pm
Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng has been arrested today under the Internal Security Act at 8.30pm at her home in Bukit Mertajam, Penang.
Tan (left) is the second person after Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin, to be arrested under the tough security law which allows for detention without trial.
Tan, 33, was taken by the police to the Penang police headquarters, where a crowd of 100 supporters have gathered to express their concern.Her arrest under the ISA has been confirmed by deputy inspector general of police Ismail Omar.Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's political secretary Ng Wei Aik also confirmed Tan's arrest.
"Penang police chief Ayub Yaakob just confirmed the arrest of the journalist under Section 73(1) of ISA to the chief minister," he told reporters gathered at the Penang police headquarters at about 10.45pm.Section 73(1) allowed the police to detain Tan for a maximum of 60 days for investigations. After that, based on the outcome of the probe, she can be detained for two years without trial, and the term can be renewed indefinitely.Earlier Gerakan secretary-general Chia Kwang Chye was among those who visited the state police headquarters to inquire on the matter. He slammed Tan's arrest and called on the police to complete their investigation as soon as possible so that she could be released.It is learnt that a team from federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur, had arrested Tan.
Government ticked off for double standards
Meanwhile in an immediate reaction, MCA Youth legal bureau Gan Ping Sieu also condemned the use of ISA against Tan."The journalist concerned should be called for questioning and not be arrested," he said.He criticised the government for its double standards, adding that the arrest was a setback for democracy.He added that the MCA Youth legal bureau was prepared to form a team of lawyers to render legal assistance to defend Tan.
Tan was the journalist who reported that local Umno chieftain Ahmad Ismail had allegedly said that Chinese Malaysians are “squatters” in the country.
Her report sparked a nationwide outcry, resulting in Ahmad being suspended by Umno for three years after an emergency meeting on Wednesday.Sin Chew had three days ago came out strongly to defend Tan, who was accused by Ahmad for misreporting his comments.Tan, who holds a mass communications degree from Universiti Sains Malaysia, has been a journalist for nine years.
She has been with Sin Chew for four years. Before she joined Sin Chew, she was a journalist in Kwong Wah daily.
It is unclear whether Ahmad, who remained defiant despite being slapped with the suspension, has also been detained.
PAS leader Mujahid Yusuf Rawa was also at the police station and did not mince his words by saying that it should be Ahmad who must be detained under the ISA and "not the reporter who reported what he had said".