Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the SSS (Support, Sympathy and Solidarity) Candlelight Vigil for DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok demanding her immediate release from Internal Security Act held at Ipoh Timor Garden East, Ipoh on Thursday, 18th September 2008 at 9pm:
Call on top MCA leadership to apologise and make amends for Teresa Kok's ISA detention for failure of MCA Ministers to demand in Cabinet yesterday for Teresa's immediate release and for Teresa's arrest as it was based on a police report by a key MCA operative in Puchong
The top MCA leadership should apologise and make amends for DAP National Organising Secretary, MP for Seputeh and Selangor Senior Exco Teresa Kok Suh Sim's detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for two reasons:
· Failure of the MCA Ministers to demand in the Cabinet meeting yesterday for the immediate and unconditional release of Teresa Kok under the ISA; and
· For Teresa's ISA detention as it was based on a police report by a key MCA operative in Puchong.
On Tuesday, the MCA Central Committee called for the release of Teresa under ISA, wanting her to be investigated under other laws and charged in court if there was evidence.
However at the weekly Wednesday Cabinet meeting yesterday, the four MCA Ministers failed to uphold and implement the MCA Central Committee resolution that Teresa should be released immediately under the ISA, as they failed to place Teresa's ISA detention as a specific item on the Cabinet agenda and to ask for a Cabinet decision for the immediate release of Teresa.
In fact, apart from some mumblings and grumblings at the Cabinet meeting, the MCA Ministers never tried to force an issue to demand Teresa's immediate release under the ISA at the Cabinet meeting yesterday although the majority of the Ministers were privately opposed to Teresa's detention.
It is clearly most unacceptable and dishonourable for the MCA leadership to stage a double-faced political farce – on the one hand, pretending to yield to public opinion by taking a stand in the newspapers calling for Teresa's release yet on the other, fully submitting to Umno political hegemony in the Cabinet by the failure and cowardice of the MCA Ministers to force an issue at yesterday's weekly meeting to get Teresa released immediately and unconditionally.
If the full weight of national and international opinion can force the release of senior Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng after 18 hours of unlawful ISA detention, why can't the four MCA Ministers take a stand in the Cabinet yesterday to secure the release of Teresa after five days of arbitrary, unjust, undemocratic and unhygienic ISA detention?
What is the use of having four MCA Ministers in Cabinet if they are incapable of or impotent in accomplishing the simplest of things – the immediate release of Teresa from ISA when she should never have been arrested in the first place?
The failure of the MCA Ministers to get the Cabinet yesterday to release Teresa – or even to place Teresa's detention as a specific agenda for Cabinet meeting and decision yesterday – is even more inexcusable when it was a key MCA operative in Puchong whose police report making false allegations against Teresa over the azan controversy last Thursday was the trigger for her ISA detention the next day on September 12 at 11.18 pm!
Is the MCA leadership going to sack this key MCA operative in Puchong for making the false and mischievous report against Teresa or is the MCA leadership taking the stand that Teresa should not be detained under the ISA but should be charged under other laws in the country over the false azan allegations against her?
Is the MCA leadership going to haul up the four MCA Ministers to show cause why they had failed to uphold and implement the MCA Central Committee decision in the Cabinet yesterday to secure Teresa's immediate release?
Who would have any doubt that if the UMNO Supreme Council on Tuesday had taken a decision that Teresa should be released immediately under the ISA that she would have walked out of ISA detention as a free Malaysian latest by Wednesday?
Why should there be any difference between the powers and influence of the MCA Central Committee from the Umno Supreme Council, unless the former is just subservient and subordinate to the latter?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor