KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 – The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) has hit out at Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for questioning last night’s arrest of human rights lawyer Eric Paulsen and claiming that the nation’s top cop was practising double standards. In a response to The Rakyat Post today, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the prerogative to investigate any case would depend on police reports lodged.
“While the Royal Malaysian Police are required to investigate offences within the parameters of the existing laws, the decision to institute, conduct or discontinue prosecution is solely the discretion of the Attorney-General’s (AG) Chambers,” he said, in referring to Article 145 (3) of the Federal Constitution.
Responding to the DAP’s secretary-general’s claims that the government had instead let others such as Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali and Baling Umno Wanita chief Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim to go scot-free, Khalid said police had conducted investigations into both cases thoroughly.
“I need not elaborate further on Ibrahim’s case as it has been elaborated by the A-G himself and would not comment further as the A-G has on numerous occasions explained it. “The YB (Lim) must have missed it or chose to do so,” he said. As for Mashitah’s case, Khalid said the investigation papers were referred to the A-G’s Chambers and were now pending a decision.
“The question of her arrest does not arise as different circumstances apply variably and making comparisons on a case-by-case basis will not justify any doubts. “Dr Mashitah’s case was investigated under Sect 505 (b) of the Penal Code. It is not an arrestable case and as such she cannot be arrested.”
Mashitah, during a speech at the Umno General Assembly, had said that the Chinese community in Kedah had burned the Quran in a prayer ritual while Ibrahim threatened to burn the Malay and Iban versions of the Bible. With regard to the two examples, Lim ignored the IGP’s warning not to politicise Paulsen’s arrest by claiming that it was “a clear case of double standards from BN and the IGP involving their supporters who oppose PR (Pakatan Rakyat)”.
Lim alleged Khalid and Barisan Nasional had abused their power when they arrested Paulsen last night. According to Roketkini, Lim said the government failed to act fairly when the arrest was made while letting Dr Mashitah and Ibrahim walk free. Khalid, meanwhile, said that Lim’s learned counsel could advise him further on these matters, in stressing that the question of double standards did not arise as police investigations would always take place, irrespective of race, religion or gender.
Last night, Paulsen was arrested in Brickfields and taken to the Dang Wangi district police station after which a remand order was obtained today. During the remand hearing, police applied for a four-day remand, but were only granted two by the court. This will see Paulsen being released by tomorrow.
Paulsen had last Friday accused the Malaysia Islamic Development Department (Jakim) of spreading extremism every Friday via its prepared sermons through a tweet on his Twitter account @ericpaulsen101. This had led to an outcry by netizens as well as politicians. Umno Youth lodged a police report over the tweet in Putrajaya.