[The law] should only be used on armed terrorists…

Posted on September 20, 2008


I am signatory No. 107 of the Free Raja Petra, Teresa Kok & others petition created and written by Lim Teck Ghee.

Whilst the creator of the petition is known to me, our acquaintance is fairly recent and therefore I do not have the privilege to claim that he and I are good friends.

However, I know enough of him to say without hesitation that he firmly stands up for the defence of civil rights and liberties, including the right to be free from unlawful and unjustifiable restraint and detention.

That one sentence that has caused discomfort in certain quarters aside, I want to acknowledge the exemplary presentation of detail and rationale in the third to the fifth paragraphs of that petition as to why the latest round of detentions must be roundly condemned.

Now, to that one sentence that has offended the sensitivities of so many.

[The law] should only be used on armed terrorists or those out to topple the government by force,”

I, too, noted that this sentence, without more, might be read to mean approval of the ISA as it is presently worded.

But there was more, for me at least.

I knew of the creator of the petition, and from what I knew of him, he could not have meant it to read that way.

He may well have hurriedly quoted Zaid verbatim and overlooked that, without any qualification, it could be taken to mean his unconditional approval of the ISA.

This one sentence aside, the petition was, in my view, an excellent instrument amongst the many other efforts to get our RPK released.

Should I therefore decline to sign up in support of the petition by reason only of that one sentence?

I did not think so.

I was confident that those who know me and the work that I do will know full well that my indorsement of the petition could not be taken to mean that I support the use of the ISA as it is presently worded.

I have a question for those who now decline to sign the petition because of that ‘offending’ sentence.

Let’s say that today, the detaining authorities inform RPK’ wife, Marina, that RPK is due to be released and she should come get him. Marina attends at the detention centre to receive him. She is presented with a Writ of release that she is told she must sign before RPK can be released. The Writ bears a statement that she acknowledges that RPK was properly detained in the interest of the nation and that by so signing, she waives any right to seek any recompense from the authorities, whether through the courts or otherwise.

Should Marina sign it notwithstanding she does not agree with it, and get RPK out?

Or should Marina refuse to sign it, get into her car and drive off without RPK?

If you see my point, and have held back signing the petition up to now on account of that sentence, could you please sign it now?

If you do not get my point, well, what can I say?

Posted in: Digressions