Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ridiculous Arrests.....and some soul searching

Think about this; you go and make a report at the police station. You bring a few friends, oh well, say maybe 4 of them, just to give you the extra courage when you file your report. When you get there, suddenly, you are handcuffed, for no apparent reason other than the fact that you wanted to make a report in the first place! Of course this scenario is far fetched, but then, no amount of fiction would deny that a similar scenario happened in the Brickfields police station recently.

19 people were arrested for attending a candlelight vigil for Wong Chin Huat. They were arrested. Fine. In this country, this sort of things are not uncommon. Why is it uncommon? That would perhaps be the discussion for another article. In the hour of need, 5 fearless lawyers from the Legal Aid Centre, Fadiah Nadwa, Puspawati Rosman, Murnie Hidayah, Syuhanie Safuan and Ravinder Singh rushed to the aid of the people who were arrested. As is entrenched in our constitution, vide Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution, any person so arrested shall be informed on his grounds of arrest and shall consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his (or her) choice. And that's why the 5 came to the rescue.

However, not only were they not allowed to see their clients, after pleading with the police, they were arrested by the police, on what grounds, only the police would know, but they would never tell. The 5 were subsequently released the next day, after much protest from the lawyers in the KL Courts. However, the damage has already been done.

To many and myself, the arrests of the 5 and the 19 was utterly ridiculous. Why the treatment? What are they so afraid of and whose orders were they following? I mean come on, if you wanna do something, at least do it nicely. Otherwise, don't do it at all! It seems to me that the arrest was a stop-gap measure of sorts. It serves as a warning to not 'illegally assemble'. But was this necessary? As a soon to be practicing lawyer, I knew I had to do my part in attending the BAR EGM. It's not surprising when the motions to bring legal action against the police for unlawful detention and IGP and the calling for the resignation of the Home Minister were agreed unanimously. This was simply unbecoming of the police.

The IGP then replied and to ask the BAR to do some soul searching and to question the acts of the 5 lawyers. Various parties have condemned the BAR because of this. People like Syed Ali, Abu Zahar and even Musa Hassan has claimed that the BAR should be a political party if it wants to act this way. Honestly, do they even know what they claim? They talk of lawyers not being professional. Please ler, the 5 lawyers were very much professional, when they have decided to aid the people who were detained without fear. Now thats being professional. I mean, seriously, what could they have thought, that when the BAR passed the motion for the AGM , they were siding with the pihak pembangkang? I suppose anyone in that position, BN or PR or whatever, Alien from outer space maybe, who needed legal aid, would be given aid when it is called for. Once again, baseless claims. Man, do they just come out with wild ideas out of thin air? And what's with the Syed Ali claim that the BAR consists mainly of Indians? What does that have to do with anything?!!! Seriously, if the BAR were to do 100 days of soul searching, I suppose they would still come out with the same conclusion.

So herein is another article, on the ridiculous ramblings made by Malaysians who sometimes need to do more soul searching themselves. Well, to be fair, I had the chance to meet some really nice police people in court and in balai and they are a helpful lot. I really appreciate people like them to give their best to serve the people. Its just that there are some who tend to make the whole force look bad, and unfortunately and sometimes unfairly, it has become a blanket for the rest of the police folk.

Anyway, there will be more revelations to come, beginning this Thursday when the Respondents appeal (on the MB v MB case) is finally heard. I doubt there will be any closure as of yet, but I hope there is one within the horizon. Whether it is justified or not, would be an entire different issue.

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