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ISA was not justified against Sin Chew reporter – Hishammuddin

PUTRAJAYA, 15 Sept 2008: Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the Internal Security Act (ISA) should not have been used against Sin Chew Daily reporter, Tan Hoon Cheng, and would be raising the matter at the next Cabinet meeting.

He said although he agreed to the use of the ISA to protect national security, it should not be invoked to save or protect any individual, which was given as the reason to detain Tan.

“For the other two cases (ISA arrests of Malaysia-Today news portal editor, Raja Petra Kamarudin and Selangor executive councillor Teresa Kok), I feel the authorities are better in the know of the risks they posed but I do not have the information [about this] to comment if the arrests were justified.

“But in the context of the reporter, the minister concerned (Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar) has stated the reasons but I personally feel the ISA should not have been used for the reasons he mentioned,” he told reporters after the launching the book Malaysia: From Traditional to Smart Schools — The Malaysian Education Odyssey, here today.

Differing from the stand taken by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim who yesterday rejected outright the use of the ISA against non-terrorists, Hishammuddin said in a multi-racial country like Malaysia, threats to the nation’s security and racial harmony must also be considered.

He also said the decision by the government to use the ISA should not be disputed by its members openly, but instead at the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, in KUALA LUMPUR, People’s Progressive Party Youth leader T Murugiah also called for the ISA to be reviewed, particularly in its usage.

“I don’t mind if we use the ISA against terrorists but not on civilians. We have enough laws for civilians. I think it’s just too cruel. We can use the Sedition Act when it comes to civilians,” he said.

Murugiah, who is deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, was commenting on the arrests of Tan, Kok and Raja Petra on Friday.

He spoke to reporters after attending a meeting at Sekolah Menengah Bukit Bandaraya in Bangsar to investigate allegations that two teachers had made racist remarks against students of the school recently.— Bernama

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