Raja Petra Kamaruddin given two-year ISA detention order

Detention without trial, the Internal Security Act raises its very ugly head again in Malaysia. 


ISA Updates: 23 September 2008

Raja Petra Kamaruddin, editor of the popular political blog, Malaysia Today, today (23 September 2008) received a two-year detention order under Section 8(1) of the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA). The detention order was signed by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar. Section 8(1) of the ISA states, “If the Minister is satisfied that the detention of any person is necessary with a view of preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof […], he may make an order directing that a person be detained for any period not exceeding two years.”

According to Raja Petra’s lawyers, he will be sent to the Kamunting Detention Centre in Perak, where he will be detained for a period of two years from today.

Under the ISA, this two-year detention order can be renewed by the Home Minister indefinitely. No clear explanation or details were given the nature of the threat or national security risks. In fact, under the ISA, the Home Minister has no obligation to disclose to the public or the courts the details of the detention or release. This clearly shows that the draconian ISA constitutes gross abuse of power by the authorities.

Raja Petra’s lawyers have also filed a writ of habeas corpus at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, in a bid to release him from his detention.


Raja Petra Kamaruddin was arrested on 12 September 2008, under Section 73(1) of the ISA for allegedly being a threat to security, peace and public order. He is alleged to have posted articles deemed seditious and that also belittle Islam.

Two other individuals – journalist Tan Hoon Cheng and member of Parliament Teresa Kok – were arrested on the same day as Raja Petra’s arrest. The two were subsequently released – Tan on 13 September 2008, while Kok on 19 September 2008.

On 16 September 2008, ISA detainee Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the editor of Malaysia Today, was allowed to see his wife and two children at the Bukit Aman police headquarters.

According to Raja Petra’s wife Marina Abdullah, Raja Petra spoke very softly and looked weak, pale and lost much weight. Raja Petra complained to her that he was suffering from lack of sleep because the night before, he was harassed on an hourly basis by officers who recorded statements from him. He said he was never physically abused, but was mentally abused. Marina said that his blood sugar level had dropped. She also added that her husband suffers from heart artery blockages and is on medication.

Raja Petra’s lawyers filed a habeas corpus application at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on 16 September 2008, seeking his immediate release.

Detention without trial under the ISA a serious human rights violation

The ISA provides for ‘preventive detention’ without trial for an indefinite period. It violates fundamental rights such as the right to trial, the right to legal counsel, the right to defend oneself in open court and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. It goes against the principles of justice and undermines the rule of law.

One thought on “Raja Petra Kamaruddin given two-year ISA detention order”

  1. Your actions needed

    We would like to thank you for your support and solidarity shown in our campaign against the use of the draconian ISA by the Malaysian government. We believe that your urgent actions have helped tremendously in our campaign to secure the release of previous ISA detainees. This effort must be continued.

    Please continue sending letters to the Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar to urge him free all the detainees in Kamunting or charge them in court, and abolish the draconian ISA. Send copies of the letter to the National Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), and the Secretariat of GMI


    (Your organisation’s letterhead)

    Y.B. Dato’ Seri Syed Hamid bin Syed Jaafar Albar

    Home Minister,

    Blok D 2, Parcel D,

    Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,

    62546 Putrajaya.

    Tel: 03-8886 3299

    Fax 03-8889 3854

    Dear Sir,

    Re: Release Mr. Raja Petra Kamaruddin and All Other ISA Detainees Immediately!

    We are writing to you to register our strongest condemnation and protest against the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) on Raja Petra Kamaruddin an editor of popular news portal Malaysia Today. Under the ISA, a person can be detained without trial indefinitely. It violates important and fundamental rights such as the right to be presumed innocent before proven guilty, the right to an open and fair trial and the right to legal counsel.

    We strongly condemn and protest against your action of arbitrarily signing the two-year detention orders for Raja Petra and all other ISA detainees currently in detention. The government must respect the right to trial and abolish the ISA and all forms of detention without trial; charge all detainees in an open court. Failing to do so, the detainees must be released immediately and unconditionally.

    ‘Preventive detention’ in Malaysia disregards human rights and violate the safeguards enshrined in the Federal Constitution and international human rights law. The continued use of the ISA only goes to show that despite being a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Malaysian government pays scant respect to human rights.

    All forms of detention without trial must be abolished!

    Thank you for your attention.

    Sincerely yours,



    1. Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman


    National Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM)

    Tingkat 29, Menara Tun Razak,

    Jalan Raja Laut,

    50350 Kuala Lumpur

    Tel: 03 2612 5600

    Fax: 03 2612 5620


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