Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng has been arrested today
under the Internal Security Act at 8.30pm at her home in Bukit
Tan (left), 33, is the second person after Malaysia Today editor Raja
Petra Kamarudin, to be arrested under the tough security law which
allows for detention without trial.
She was taken by the police to the Penang police headquarters, where
a crowd of 100 supporters have gathered to express their concern.
Tan was the first journalist who reported that local Umno chieftain
Ahmad Ismail had allegedly said that Chinese Malaysians are
¡°squatters¡± in the country.
Deputy inspectorp-general of police Ismail Omar has confirmed her
arrest under ISA.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s political secretary Ng Wei Aik
was at the police headquarters to obtain more information on Tan’s
“Penang police chief Ayub Yaakob has just confirmed the arrest of the
journalist under section 73(1) of ISA to the chief minister,” he told
reporters gathered at the Penang police headquarters at about 10.45pm.
Under section 73(1), the police can detain Tan for a maximum of 60
days for investigations. Based on the outcome of the probe, she can
be detained for two years without trial, and the two-year term can be
Gerakan secretary-general Chia Kwang Chye, who was among those who
visited the state police headquarters, slammed Tan’s arrest and
called on the police to complete their investigation as soon as
possible so that she could be released.
Tan was arrested by a team from federal police headquarters in Bukit
Aman, Kuala Lumpur.
Government ticked off for double standards
Meanwhile in an immediate reaction, MCA Youth legal bureau Gan Ping
Sieu also condemned the use of ISA against Tan.
“The journalist concerned should be called for questioning and not be
arrested,” he said.
He criticised the government for its double standards, adding that
the arrest was a setback for democracy.
He added that the MCA Youth legal bureau was prepared to set up a
team of lawyers to provide legal assistance to Tan.
Tan’s report on Ahmad late last month had sparked a nationwide
outcry, resulting in Ahmad being suspended by Umno for three years
after an emergency meeting on Wednesday.
Three days ago, Sin Chew came out strongly to defend Tan, who was
accused by Ahmad for misreporting his comments.
Tan, who holds a mass communications degree from Universiti Sains
Malaysia, has been a journalist for nine years.
She has been with Sin Chew for four years. Before joining Sin Chew,
she was a journalist in Kwong Wah daily.
It is unclear whether Ahmad, who remained defiant despite being
slapped with the suspension, has also been detained.
PAS leader Mujahid Yusuf Rawa, who was also at the police station,
did not mince his words in arguing that Ahmad should be the one
detained underISA and “not the journalist who reported what he had