Friday, September 12, 2008
Sin Chew reporter nabbed under ISA
Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng, who wrote about Ahmad Ismail's racist remarks, has been arrested. She was picked up by police at her Bukit Mertajam home at about 8.30pm and it is now confirmed that she has been arrested under the ISA. The Universiti Sains Malaysia mass communication graduate has worked in the newspaper for the past nine years. Her arrest has shocked the press fratenity as even in 1987, during the Operasi Lallang mass arrests, not a single journalist was arrested. The National Union of Journalists then was assured by the authorities that no reporter would be arrested. A large crowd of reporters and politicians have gathered at the state police headquarters where Tan is being reportedly held. The arrest took place just hours after the arrest of Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin. The authorities may have their reasons for their arrests and certainly the security of the nation is paramount. But the use of the ISA cannot be justified. This is not just a draconian law but an archaic one. These are reporters and writers, not terrorists or communists. Those that deserves to be punished are racist politicians not scribes. It is unacceptable in a democracy, if we still claim we are one.