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Teresa Kok released from ISA detention

KUALA LUMPUR, 19 Sept 2008: Seputeh Member of Parliament Teresa Kok Suh Sim was released today after eight days of detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The DAP national organising secretary was released at the Jalan Travers police station here at about 1.30 pm.

Her parents, father Kok Kim Tong and mother Poh Seh Kwon, and her lawyer N Sankara Nair were at the police station when she was released.

"I am happy that I have been released and I’m OK," she told reporters gathered at the police station.

To a question, Kok said: "I do not know why I was released today, just as I do not know why I was detained."

Kok, 44, who is also a Selangor state executive councillor, was one of three people – the others being Malaysia-Today blog editor Raja Petra Kamarudin, 57, and Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng, 33 – detained on 12 Sept under Section 73 (1) of the ISA.

Tan was released a day later while Raja Petra is still under detention.

Kok was picked up in front of her apartment in OUG Heights in Jalan Klang Lama at 11.15 pm last Friday while returning home from a function.

Kok had been accused of petitioning a mosque to reduce the volume for the "azan" call for prayer. She has denied doing so.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said in a statement today the police had conducted an investigation into Kok for alleged involvement in matters considered to be a threat to national security.

"The police were satisfied with the cooperation extended by Teresa during the investigation.

"There was no reason to detain her further and (the police) decided to release her today," he said.

In a media statement released in the afternoon, Teresa said her ISA detention was without any legal or moral basis and was a clear abuse of detention without trial.

“After being detained for seven days … the police failed to produce any evidence or proof of me being involved in the activities of causing racial and religious tension. They were only able to ask me few questions based entirely on the false and malicious article written by Zaini Hassan under the topic Azan, jawi, JAIS, Uitm dan ba-alif-ba-ya that was published in Utusan Malaysia on 10 Sept 2008.

Teresa said the investigators’ line of questioning was limited to three areas: whether she had mobilised a group of residents at Bandar Kinrara to present a petition to oppose to the azan at the Bandar Kinrara mosque; whether she had made a statement that 30% of the Selangor Islamic Department (JAIS) allocation was to be given to other non-Islam religious bodies; and whether she had opposed the Jawi wording on road signages in Kuala Lumpur.

She denied the first two and qualified the third, by saying the residents in Taman Seputeh objected to the arbitrary changes in road signages by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), as they considered it to be a waste of public funds.

Teresa also pointed out that it is incumbent on the police to investigate the allegations made against her first before proceeding to detain her. She alleged that she was made a scapegoat over the internal squabbles of Umno.

“I see my detention as a ploy by Umno to try to cover up the embarrassment and the outrage of the racist statements made by [former Bukit Bendera Umno division chief] Ahmad Ismail in Penang. I wonder why they choose an innocent person like me as I have never made any racist statements or racist speeches in the past,” she said.

Teresa also lodged a police report on 17 Sept against Utusan Malaysia, Zaini Hassan and Datuk Dr Mohd Khir Toyo [whose blog first highlighted the ‘azan’ issue] for criminal defamation, and is also planning to sue them.

The popular MP called for the release of Raja Petra, the Hindraf Five and the other 60 detainees still under detention. She also thanked all politicians in the ruling parties as well as in the Pakatan Rakyat, NGOs, churches and all social organisations who campaigned and prayed for her release. – Bernama

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