Updated 1am on 6 May 2009
PETALING JAYA, 5 May 2009: Political scientist Wong Chin Huat was arrested tonight for sedition for writing several articles, including on the 1BLACKMalaysia campaign.
Wong (Pic courtesy of Bersih) The academic was arrested at his apartment in Seri Sentosa, Kuala Lumpur and taken to Bukit Aman. His personal computer has also been seized by the police, who have thus far denied him legal access.
Bukit Aman Commercial CID director Datuk Koh Hong Sun said Wong was detained under the Sedition Act 1948 for writing several articles, including on the 1BLACK Malaysia campaign, Bernama reported.
Koh, who declined to give details on Wong’s detention, said police would decide tomorrow whether to extend his detention or not.
At 12.15am, Wong was whisked away to an undisclosed destination in a police car without having had a chance to meet his lawyers, said lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.
Lawyer Latheefa Koya said the police took the academic away while the lawyers were in the midst of negotiating to gain access to him. “They made us wait for at least four hours without indicating that they were denying him legal representation,” she said in an SMS to The Nut Graph.
Earlier, human rights lawyer Edmund Bon had told The Nut Graph that he had received a phone call from Wong at about 7.45pm to say the police were at his apartment.
The lawyer said he spoke to the police officer on the phone, and was told that a police report had been lodged against Wong for sedition.
“However, the officer refused to say who lodged the report and over what,” Bon said.
Bon also said Wong remained in the car park of his apartment building, and, as of 8.15pm, had refused to follow the police until someone arrived to accompany him.
Wong was eventually taken to Bukit Aman at 8.30pm.
Bon had also added that he would be asking the police to record Wong’s statement and to release him immediately. Under the law, the police can detain a person for 24 hours under arrest before bringing him or her before a magistrate.
As of 11pm tonight, a group of about 40 people held a candlelight vigil for Wong outside Bukit Aman.
Earlier this morning, Wong, as a representative of the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih), held a press conference to launch the 1BLACKMalaysia campaign, and urged all Malaysians to wear black on 7 May to protest the “ongoing Perak coup” by the Barisan Nasional government.
Wong teaches journalism at Monash University (Malaysia). He is also a columnist with The Nut Graph.