Malaysia’s Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed confirmed that Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah was not arrested for her involvement with Bersih rally.
Mr Nur stated that Ms Maria was arrested after police reports had been lodged against her.
He said, at the Parliament lobby at Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (22 November), “It is not because of Bersih. Her family knows why she is arrested. Also please ask the Inspector-General of Police for details.”
When the reporters asked him on who gave the orders to the Police to lock her up, Mr Nur said that the Home Ministry looked into the policies. While, the Police looked into operational issues.
“We will look into questioning her and making sure she is given good treatment,” he said.
Mr Nur did not answer when asked whether the detention was an abuse of the Special Offences (Security Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) as it was not meant to detain politicians and organisers of rallies. However, he stated, “I want to say they (police) followed procedures (in detaining her).”
He explained then that Ms Maria was charged under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), which is under Sosma. This allows the Police to investigate her.
According to the local news, Free Malaysia Today, Mr Nur said earlier in the Dewan Rakyat that he was unable to answer questions raised by the opposition regarding Maria’s arrest as it was sub judice.
He told the opposition law makers, “I prepared answers on Maria Chin. (However) I just received information she has filed a habeas corpus. It will be sub judice (to answer).”
Opposition lawmakers also questioned the justification for several arrests during Bersih 5. According to local news, The Malay Online, there were 28 police reports made, 20 of which involved arrests while eight were general reports.
The debate then abruptly ended by deputy speaker Ronald Kiandee, who instead called for a vote for those supporting the budget.
Lawyers who represents Maria had filed a habeas corpus application on Tuesday (22 November) to challenge her detention under the act and to seek her immediate release.
Lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan said the grounds for the application were filed on one of the conditions of Maria’s detention, solitary confinement.
Maria was arrested on Friday (18 November), a day before the Bersih 5 rally in the Kuala Lumpur city centre. This rally, which saw more than 15,000 people in yellow t-shirts and 2,800 in red t-shirts, aims to protest against the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.