Cross-border arrest of Patrick Teoh ‘bizarre’, says rights group

Radio personality Patrick Teoh was arrested by Johor police at the Petaling Jaya police headquarters on Saturday.

PETALING JAYA: Rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) has questioned Johor police for crossing state lines to arrest radio personality and actor Patrick Teoh.

“For an offence that poses no immediate threat to public safety, it is bizarre for the Johor police contingent to cross its state borders to arrest an individual in Petaling Jaya when the offence itself could have been investigated remotely,” said Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy in a statement today.

“This is even more so absurd when the country is still under the conditional movement control order and interstate travel is forbidden by default.”

Teoh was arrested by a team from the Johor state commercial CID at the Petaling Jaya police headquarters on Saturday over alleged insulting remarks against the Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, and the Johor royal institution.

The case is being investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which provides for a fine of up to RM50,000 or imprisonment of up to one year or both, on conviction.

Johor police chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay yesterday said police would seek further remand as Teoh was not cooperating with the investigation.

Sevan said Ayob’s statement that remand can be extended for “uncooperative” detainees is “punitive in nature and manifestly unjust”.

He said the suggestion that an extended remand would make a detainee more amenable to cooperating was “malicious”.

He called for Teoh’s immediate release and urged the home affairs ministry to conduct an inquiry into the Johor police’s rationale behind the arrest.

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