Friday, September 12, 2008

Washington summons Malaysian envoy

Washington summons Malaysian envoy

(The Star) KUALA LUMPUR: The United States has summoned Ilango Karuppannan, the charge d’affaires of the Malaysian embassy, to protest what it called the “crackdown on dissent” at a time when the opposition was attempting to form a new government.

According to the AFP, Ilango was summoned to the State Department after the three arrests under the Internal Security Act (ISA) on Friday.

”Peaceful expression of political opinions is a fundamental right and critical to a democracy,” a State Department official told AFP.

”The United States believes that the Malaysian Government should provide due process and treatment consistent with Malaysian law and international standards,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

”We expect that democratic countries that purport to advocate free expression of political views will not curtail such freedom,” the official said.

This is the second time Ilango was summoned to the State Department in a month.

The last time was when PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was charged with sodomy.

”The United States firmly believes that freedom of the press and freedom of speech are fundamental to a vibrant democracy,” the State Department official said.

On Friday, Malaysia Today news portal editor Raja Petra Kamarudin, Sin Chew Daily News reporter Tan Hoon Cheng and Seputeh MP and Selangor senior executive councillor Teresa Kok were arrested under the ISA.

Three publications - Sin Chew Daily, The Sun and Suara Keadilan - have also been issued show-cause letters by the Home Ministry for breaching guidelines set by the Government.

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