The Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar made a splash of a news earlier this evening, announcing that Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah is safe and in good health and that she had been provided with a mattress and pillow due to her feeling uncomfortable sleeping on the wooden floor in her cell.
It is sad that Khalid did not realise that the announcement did not reflect on his sensitivity but the opposite, that it has to take a week for the head of the Police to realise that it is cruel, heartless and insensitive for the IGP not to take all necessary steps to ensure that a defenceless 60-year-old woman should be treated with all the decency and humanity she deserved while under police incarceration, on top of the baseless charge of detaining her whether as a terrorist or a traitor when she should be treated as a patriot par excellence of Malaysia.
Khalid cannot stop Malaysians from asking, even though not in his presence, as to why Maria Chin is held under Sosma for Bersih receiving puny funds from Open Society Foundation (OSF) while the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak can go scot-free for receiving astronomical RM4.2 billion from foreigners?
Maria Chin and Bersih had always advocated peaceful, non-violent and democratic process to bring about public awareness and public pressures for change, yet she could be treated like a terrorist to be placed under Sosma allowing for up to 28 days of detention without trial.
What has the nation become 60 years after Merdeka and 53 years after Malaysia?
Yet the thugs and ruffians in society, who stormed Parliament trying to beat up Amanah MP for Shah Alam, Khalid Samad, or disrupted an exhibition by cartoonist Zunar in Penang, are given the tardy treatment by the police.
The police have shown their professionalism last Saturday when Bersih 5 rally was held in Kuala Lumpur, ensuring that it was incident-free despite threats and provocations by the rowdy Red Shirts.
This is proof that the police personnel could be depended upon to carry out their professional duties to uphold the rule of law and ensure peace and order if there is no political interference, whether by their political masters or their superiors playing the political game of their masters.
There can be no basis to continue the detention of Maria Chin, and I call for the immediate release of the Bersih Chairperson without any conditions even before her habeas corpus application goes to court next Tuesday.
[Speech(2) at the Kampong Jawa, Tawau dialogue on Friday, 25th November 2016 at 9 pm]