Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sin Chew reporter released (Update 2)

Saturday September 13, 2008 MYT 5:01:09 PM

Sin Chew reporter released (Update 2)


GEORGE TOWN: Sin Chew Daily News reporter Tan Hoon Cheng has been released. Penang state police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakub said Tan was sent to her house in Bukit Mertajam at 4.15pm.

She was released Saturday after a one-day detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

On Saturday morning, she was sent to the Bukit Aman Police Headquarters in a black Kia Sorenta vehicle which was escorted by a Proton Waja car.

The journalist, who was arrested under Section 73(1) of the Internal Security Act 1960 at her home in Bukit Mertajam on Friday night, was allowed to see her parents for about 15 minutes Saturday morning.

She told her parents that she was fine and that they need not worry.

Her parents, Tan Booi Siam and Khor Ah Heok, arrived with their son Weng Khian at the headquarters in Penang Road at about 7am.

Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, state PKR chief Datuk Zahrain Mohd Hashim and several state executive councillors arrived soon after.

Also present were the Chinese daily’s management staff.

Only Tan’s father and mother were allowed to see her. They had brought some dumplings for her breakfast.

Khor, who looked calm despite her red, puffy eyes, said she told her 32-year-old daughter that her family, colleagues in the media and society were strongly supporting her.

“I was happy to see her. She told us not to worry and that she had been treated well while under detention.”

Her brother Weng Khian, 35, said his sister was “brave” and that the family would stand by her.

Saturday September 13, 2008 MYT 5:39:51 PM

NUJ saddened, disappointed by arrest (updated)

PETALING JAYA: The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and National Press Club expressed sadness at Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng's arrest under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

NUJ president Norila Mohd Daud when contacted Saturday said the union felt sad and disappointed over the arrest.

“Only a few weeks ago, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi mentioned that the media should write the truth and there should be no fear in writing the truth. Look what has happened now,” she told The Star.

“It is obvious that the Government is not keeping to its word,” she added.

“For Tan to be charged under the ISA is too much. It is very unbecoming. She was just writing what she heard at the campaign and was merely doing her job as a reporter. She has no political interest,” Norila pointed out.

Should her report be deemed seditious, Norila said the authorities could have charged her under the Sedition Act but not the ISA.

“It is a very serious charge. And the editors and the company should also be held responsible if anything, not just the messenger,” she said, adding that the source of the issue should also be arrested.

“We do not see a point as to why she is being detained under the ISA. She does not pose a threat to national security. This is a mere intimidation for journalists and the media industry. It is like a threat to instil fear among journalists to not write the truth,” she maintained.

Norila also said the union was in the process of submitting protest petition letters to Malaysian ambassadors abroad.

“We will ensure these ambassadors receive the petition letters. We are going to flash this news to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and via our international links,” she said.

“We believe that it is not right to use ISA on a journalist who was merely fulfilling her professional duty,” president Mokhtar Hussain told The Star on Saturday.

Calling the detention improper, he added that arresting reporters would not augur well for the journalism industry in Malaysia.

“Journalists will then be working in an environment of fear when reporting the truth,” Mokhtar said, adding that the club hoped for Tan’s release as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Press Institute said Tan's arrest is a test case for journalists all over the country to know how to approach similar situations.

Chairman Datuk Azman Ujang said it was a rare case of a reporter being arrested under the ISA for repoting an event.

“We are anxious to know how the ministry will react considering that the newspaper had explained that it was straight forward reporting.

“Journalists themselves are also anxious to know so that they won’t make similar mistakes,” he said.

The Star

Journalist freed, was held because her life threatened, cops tell Syed Hamid

(Malaysian Insider) KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 - Sin Chew journalist Tan Hoon Cheng was released at 2.30m today.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said this at a press conference at the Bukit Aman police headquarters.

"She made the first report so we had to get to the bottom of it and we received information that her life was under threat," he said.

He added that blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok would continue to be held for investigations and if there was no reason to hold them, they would be released within the 60 days allowed for by the Internal Security Act.

He insisted that the move was not political and it was purely the decision of the police.

"I can tell you that the police need not refer to me. Under Section 73(1) it is under their discretion but they will let me know.

"I think there has not been any malice on their part," he said, adding also that if he interfered in police action, people would say there is a political motive.

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