Reasons for Teresa's arrest
Selangor executive committee member Teresa Kok was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) yesterday evening for allegedly causing tension and conflict among races as laid out in the notice issued by the police special branch to her next of kin.
The notice stated that Kok had acted in a way which threatened national security, which warranted arrest under Section 73 (1) of the ISA.
It added that the Seputeh member of parliament had become a national threat by being involved in "activities which can cause tension and conflict among races and religion".
The notice also stated that her digital camera, car keys and house keys were also confiscated in the process.
Political insiders said it was possible her arrest was also related to a report in the Utusan Melayu newspaper, which alleged she was behind apetition to lower the sound volume for the azan at several mosques.Kok had denied the allegations and threatened to sue the newspaper and former Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Khir Toyo for making the allegation.
Kok becomes the first female member of parliament to be detained under the ISA.
No access to lawyers
In a related development, Kok's counsel Sankara Nair has slammed the police for denying access to his client.
In his complaint letter to Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan, Sankara said that he had tried to gain access to his client at the Wangsa Maju district police station where she was held late last night.
"The police has denied fundamental rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution for us to meet our clients immediately after an arrest," he said.
Sankara also urged Musa to allow immediate access to his client and be furnished with relevant information regarding the arrest.
Detainee Kok 'not involved in azan petition'
Masjid Kinrara, the mosque which is embroiled in an azan controversy, said DAP parliamentarian Teresa Kok was not involved in the petition to lower the volume of its loudspeakers.
According to Abdul Rahman Nasir (left), who is head of the mosque ommittee, Kok had never set foot in Masjid Kinrara to present the residents' petition.
Kok, who is Selangor senior exco member, was arrested under the Internal Security Act yesterday ostensibly for her role in the controversy.
Former Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo has earlier alleged that Kok, who is Kinrara state representative, of submitting the petition calling for the mosque to "tone down" the azan (the call to prayers).
Mohd Khir caused a stir when he was quoted as having warned the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government against issuing directives against the use of loudspeakers by mosques and suraus (community prayer hall) for purposes of the azan.
"This matter has been allowed to proceed because DAP supporters have lately become big headed. Do not poke at the hornet's nest lest you regret it forever," he was quoted as saying.
Early this week, Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia has picked on Khir Toyo's comment and highlighted the issue in one of its opinion column.
Kok has strenously denied organising any such petitions. Two days ago, Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud of PAS lodged a police report against Mohd Khir for misrepresenting the issue.
But Siti Mariah's effort did not save Kok from being nabbed under the tough ISA law, which allows for detention without trial.
Meanwhile, the residents who signed the petition said they had never intended to protest against the use of loudspeakers for theazan.
Instead they have requested the mosque to lower the volume of the loudspeakers for the ceramah (religious talks) which often followed the prayers.
According to the residents, the volume on the loudspeaker when the mosque performed the ceramah caused disturbance to them, especially on Sundays whem most of them would want to "wake up late for extra rest after a long week's work".
While the azan lasts a couple of minutes, religious ceramah could go on for more than an hour.
This was explained by Steven Ee, the person who presented the mosque with the petition on behalf of the residents in the area.
He also said that the allegations made by Khir Toyo that the handing over of the petition was instigated by a Pakatan party was untrue. Ee said that the petition was his own initiative.
Petition signed by 189 residents
The petition, signed by 189 residents, was handed over to Serdang state assemblyperson Mohamad Satim Diman from Umno in February and another copy given to the mosque authorities.
Another copy was also sent to Kinrara DAP state assemblyperson and state exco Teresa Kok's office after the March 8 polls.
Ee said that the reason why the copy was sent to Kok was because she was the nearest state assemblyperson there apart from Mohamad Satim.
"We common people cannot have easy access to the leaders. We hope that the leaders can discuss this matter and solve it," said Ee.
He also said that the petition was sent to Mohamad Satim with hope that he could be the mediator between the residents and the mosque authority to solve the problem.
According to Ee, his wife had met with a BN component party leader to discuss the matter and was advised by the person to draft the petition and have it sent to the relevant people.
"As advised, I started collecting signatures from the residents there and handed it over to Mohamad Satim through one of his officers at his office," explained Ee.
Ee then said he noticed that the loudspeaker's volume was lowered for about two weeks but then returned to its original pitch after that.
"You can't be expecting us to move away. I believe the Muslims here understand our concerns," said Ee, who added that he was not against Islamic activities in the area.
He also expressed hope that the Muslim residents there can cooperate with the non-Muslims on the matter for the benefit of all.