NECF Malaysia’s Response to the ISA Detention
16 September 2008
As a national body that represents some one million evangelical Christians in Malaysia, NECF Malaysia is deeply concerned over the use of the ISA and printing laws against newspapers and individuals who are performing the vital duty of bringing critical issues to the attention of the Malaysian public for constructive debate.
While the release of journalist Tan Hoon Cheng is welcomed, NECF believes that the ISA should not have been used in the first place to arrest and detain Tan, Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Seputeh MP YB Teresa Kok. The denial of due process occasioned by preventive detention under ISA is unfair and a violation of the constitutional rights of citizens.
If there are grounds to suspect that any of the three citizens detained under ISA on 12 September 2008 had committed any wrongdoing, they should be charged in court and be afforded the opportunity to defend themselves. If they are found guilty of any wrongdoing after the due process of a trial, there can be no complaint to the appropriate punishment being meted out against them.
NECF therefore calls upon the government to guarantee the safety and well-being of Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Seputeh MP YB Teresa Kok by immediately releasing them unconditionally.
NECF is also concerned that the show cause letters issued to Sin Chew Daily, The Sun and Suara Keadilan for reporting on matters, which rightfully belong to the public domain, has the undesired effect of stifling press freedom and journalistic integrity. NECF believes that the results of the March 8 elections have demonstrated the maturity of the Malaysian populace and their desire to interact on various issues confronting the nation. Freedom of information is vital to this process. The eagerness to use the penal sanctions of the printing laws will undermine the process of constructive debate and the maturing of the citizenry in participating in nation-building.
NECF therefore calls upon the government to confirm their recent public commitment to greater press freedom by withdrawing the show-cause letters issued to the three newspapers and the Catholic’s newspaper, Herald.
The link also has a list of prayer points.
Go HERE to sign a petition to free the ISA detainees.