Sunday, September 14, 2008

MCA against use of ISA on journos

MCA against use of ISA on journos

IPOH: The MCA is against the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) against any journalists.

Party president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said journalists were just carrying out their duties and should not be detained under the Act.

While welcoming the release of Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng, Ong said the party could not accept the arrest and felt it was inappropriate to use the ISA on any journalists.

“Journalists are merely reporting the news. They should not be detained under ISA for carrying out their duties,” he told a press conference Saturday after opening the Perak MCA Convention at Syuen Hotel here.

After learning of the arrest of the Sin Chew Daily reporter, Ong said he had immediately discussed with the party leadership before conveying the public and party’s views and feelings to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“The party leaders told me that I have their backing and they are with me.

“We have principles and we are standing by it. We are drawing a clear line that the MCA is against the use of ISA on any journalists, more so in this case,” he said.

In BUTTERWORTH, party Wanita chief Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen said MCA had all the while asked the Government to review the law, which many had deemed as draconian.

“ISA must be used only for national security with the confidence of all Malaysians.

“But, if at all the ISA is seen to create more non-confidence and confusion among Malaysians, then the Government must review it,” she said Saturday after attending a Seberang Prai MCA delegates conference at Fook Yuen restaurant in Bukit Tengah, Butterworth.

Dr Ng said following the arrest of Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng on Friday, it was very obvious that the ISA could be abused under certain circumstances.

“We (the MCA) will definitely, after this (episode), be even more vocal and more determined to ask for a review of the ISA,” she said.

In IPOH, former MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said there was no reason for Tan to be detained under the ISA.

”It has shocked society at large. People are disappointed and regret what has happened to the reporter when all she had done was report what (Bukit Bendera Umno division chief) Datuk Ahmad Ismail uttered.

”Perhaps, the police could have held her for questioning but to use the ISA on her, many feel the matter has gone overboard,” he said.

The Government’s actions, he added, had been likened to “arresting the victim who goes to the police but releasing the criminal who commits wrongdoings”.

“For the Deputy Prime Minister to publicly apologise, it is obvious that the problem lies with Ahmad. So why such developments whereby Ahmad is only suspended but the reporter gets detained?” he asked.

”We support the Government’s move to ensure political stability in the country and that no one, including reporters and politicians, should play up racial issues.

”This is the Government’s responsibility but in doing so it has to also uphold justice to assure the people that the Barisan Nasional government is a fair and considerate government,” Dr Chua added.

Also in Ipoh, MCA Youth’s secretary-general Dr Wee Ka Siong strongly condemned the use of ISA on Tan.

He said there was no justification for Tan’s detention under the ISA.

”We are disappointed as the person who made the remark was not arrested but the person who reported the matter was arrested,” he said after meeting the Perak MCA Youth members here on Saturday.

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