PARLIAMENT Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and his deputy Nur Jazlan Mohamed kept mum about the detention of Bersih chief Maria Chin Abdullah under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma).
Nur Jazlan had at the end of his Home Ministry Budget 2017 wrap up speech in the House cited sub judice as a reason to not give answers.
“I want to inform (the House) that I have the answers ready, but the problem is I just received information that Maria has filed a habeas corpus writ.
“Therefore I can't speak further due to sub judice,” Nur Jazlan told the House.
Under the Dewan Rakyat's Standing Orders, only the speaker can decide if a matter is sub judice.
However, Deputy Speaker Ronald Kiandee did not say anything when Nur Jazlan cited sub judice without asking for a ruling.
Sub judice is a latin term meaning "under judgment", which means that a particular case or matter is under trial or being considered by a judge or court.
Maria was arrested last Friday evening, on the eve of Nov 19 Bersih 5 rally. The next day, inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed that she was detained under Sosma.
Attempts to get an answer about her detention out of Zahid also proved unfruitful.
When met at the Parliament lobby and asked who gave the order to detain Maria under Sosma, Zahid merely replied: “My deputy has answered.”
When pointed out that Nur Jazlan cited sub judice to avoid answering the question, Zahid answered: “Sub judice la tu.” (Then it is sub judice).
'Don't want to jeapordise the case'
Later, Nur Jazlan still kept mum when approached by the media at the Parliament lobby.
“My answer in Parliament was sub judice because she filed habeas corpus. We don't want to jeapordise the case,” he said.
Pressured on who gave the order to use Sosma, the deputy minister merely said that the Home Ministry was in charge of policy, while the police were in charge of operations.
Nur Jazlan also stressed that police had acted on “operational issues”, and followed procedures.
He also said Maria was not being detained for terrorism, but noted that Sosma also covers threats to parliamentary democracy and human trafficking.
Bersih is being probed under Section 124C of the Penal Code for attempting to carry out activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy.
This after it was revealed that the electoral watchdog received funds from the George Soros-linked Open Society Foundation.
Critics of Maria's detention have pointed out that the government had in the past assured that Sosma would only be used against terrorists and not on politicians.- Mkini