KUALA LUMPUR, 8 May 2009: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today the release 13 Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees is a proof that the Barisan Nasional (BN) has acted based on the principles of fairness and justice, and respect for the country’s rule of law.
He said police felt that it was time to consider releasing the 13 people who had been serving detention for nearly two years.
“I have been told of this. I think the move shows that the claim by opposition parties that we are practising repressive policies and trying to suppress personal freedom is baseless.
“If the detainees no longer pose a threat to security, we won’t be detaining them even a day longer. If the time has come for them to be released, then we will release them.
“When I took over the post of prime minister, I announced the release of 13 ISA detainees. I want to show that the government is acting based on the principles of justice and fairness, and respect for the law and civil liberties,” he said.
Najib was speaking to reporters after launching an exhibition showcasing the 10-year achievement of the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia here today.
Also present were former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.
Asked on claims by opposition parties that the three Hindraf leaders were released to regain the support of the Indian Malaysian community, Najib said the opposition parties would always try to find fault with the government.
“If we release them they say it is not right, when we detain them, they say we are repressive… please decide what you want,” he said.
Najib also congratulated the Malaysian police for a job well done in arresting fugitive Mas Selamat Kastari, who escaped from a Singapore prison in February last year.
Meanwhile, commenting on the release of the ISA detainees, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he hoped that there would be no more accusations that the government was being irresponsible.
“Now that they (ISA detainees) are no longer a threat, we hope that they will go back to the society and tell the actual story,” he told reporters after launching the Malaysian International Cocoa Fair 2009 at the Berjaya Times Square here.
He said that the move to release the detainees showed that the government respected the law. — Bernama