Penang state assembly condemns Maria Chin’s arrest

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GEORGE TOWN: An emergency motion to condemn the detention of Bersih leader Maria Chin Abdullah under a controversial anti-terrorism law was allowed to be debated by the Penang legislative assembly today.

In proposing the motion, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Air Putih) said Maria’s arrest was a clear abuse of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

“Maria is not a terrorist but a leader of a civil society. We strongly condemn the misuse of Sosma to detain her. The law should not be used on politicians or civil society activists.

“We also find her solitary confinement inhumane and we urge that she be freed without any conditions immediately,” Lim said in his proposed motion.

Speaker Law Choo Kiang allowed the debate after receiving majority support from the floor.

Maria, who is chairperson of Bersih 2.0, the organiser of the Bersih 5 rally, was detained on Friday. Under the law, police can detain her for up to 28 days and withhold legal representation for two days.

Lim said watching Maria’s son, Azumin Mohamad Yunus’ video describing his mother’s condition, was moving.

“Maria has not hurt anyone, she was just helping to save Malaysia. She was exercising her right under the Federal Constitution to assemble peacefully.

“But for an activist to be arrested under terrorism laws is such a lembap (weak) move.

“We have been told from time to time that there will never be another Internal Security Act, the same way I was arrested before. But today we have Sosma.

“Maria is a 60-year-old woman, a mother, and is not a terrorist,” Lim said.

Roslan Saidin (BN-Pinang Tunggal) said Maria’s arrest under Sosma was appropriate.

He said the authorities had acted accordingly for the larger interest of the rakyat, in ensuring the safety of the country.

“As you have seen Bersih rallies before, police cars have been overturned, there was chaos.

“The authorities know better. If you have committed a crime, it does not matter if it was committed by a mother, single mother, or whoever, a mistake is a mistake. And the law is the law,” Roslan said in objecting to the motion.