Is there any other way to describe the man?
The topic of discussion here is responsibility. The correctness or lack thereof in this situation I’ll ask the reader to suspend – as enough commentators are working justifiably through it.
The police do not employ the Internal Security Act (ISA) at their own discretion when it comes to political arrests – and the three arrests were political.
It is the home minister’s call. That is why for the majority of Abdullah Badawi’s and Mahathir’s rule – the home minister portfolio was under them. It wielded the most power, and the ISA is the tool of the said minister.
So why is Syed Hamid Albar – the law graduate – saying that the arrests were not his decisions?
We are walking into some very dangerous waters when things are occurring with responsibility uncertain.
That is the start of a slippery slope and you can never play down the effect, and further actions that will follow from it.
South Africa had detention laws and people disappeared quite easily for a long time – and with a death count. They are still trying to decipher, recognise, identify, establish and realise who and what did these things. But these things are done at multi-levels, and accountability missing.
Or the brutality that followed under Pinochet in Chile with people disappearing in the night, just because. Perhaps a revisitation of Stalin’s Soviet.
The example game and trans-continental pickings can go on indefinitely, however the key theme – an accountable arrests.
Having a draconian law with wide ranging powers to impinge on people’s basic rights is a canker on its own. But now having arrests that cannot be attributed to any political master is scary.
Mahathir ordered the arrest of 108 persons in 1987. Mahathir ordered closing of the newspapers then.
So we can point the finger at Mahathir, right or wrong.
Now, Teresa Kok in an undisclosed location, being processed and we do not know who ordered it.
Stop hiding behind the police Syed Hamid, face the music.
For your own good
The second discussion point is the arrest – albeit a short one – of Tan Hoon Cheng, a reporter who reported.
A new basis for arrest emerged. They arrested her because they feared for her security.
It is bizarre at best, and insidious in practical terms when a person is taken away and put in police custody for the person’s sake.
I have a suggestion: if you think her life is under threat, why not offer police protection? That would be a nice way of “protecting” someone who is in danger.
Rather than whisking them away in the dark. And it might make us think the cops are acting in the best interest of the rakyat for a change.