The police’s order asking Jelutong MP of DAP Jeff Ooi to “surrender” is an overuse of the word itself, say lawyers.
They were commenting on the Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar’s statement which said Ooi should “surrender” or face arrest for his allegedly offensive tweet on the death of PAS spiritual leader Datuk Haron Din.
As of press time, three (not Ooi) have been arrested by the police on their postings on social media with regard to Haron Din’s demise.
Eric Paulsen of Lawyers For Liberty says that the word ‘surrender’ in the case of Ooi is an overkill.
“All the IGP had to do was to ask Ooi to go in for an investigation. It is not like Ooi is a fugitive or on the run,” says Paulsen.
Khalid had earlier asked for Ooi to surrender or they (the police) will find him.
“Well if he doesn’t ‘surrender’ then he will be arrested.
“So, by co-operating with the police he (Ooi) will be able to point out that there is no need to arrest or detain him further,” Paulsen adds.
Meanwhile, PKR Vice President N Surendran says before the IGP can arrest Ooi, they can only do so if Ooi has committed an offence.
“Ooi is asked to ‘surrender’ over his tweet post, but from the looks of it there is no offence committed through the posting.
“To arrest someone, the person must have done something that needs to be arrested. So, unless they can determine what Ooi has done that is an offence that warrants the arrests they cannot arrest him,” says Surendran.
He adds that ‘surrender’ is not the right word as Ooi is not running away from being arrested.
“The police may have their opinion as to what Ooi has done but it still does not sound right to ask a person to surrender when they have not committed an offence that warrants an arrest,” says Surendran.
Khalid earlier confirmed Ooi as being investigated under Section 298 of the Penal Code for causing disharmony, disunity or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will, or prejudicing the maintenance of harmony on grounds of religion.
Ooi had tweeted, “Adios Haron Din. May there be peace” when re-tweeting another user’s message about the PAS spiritual leader’s passing on Friday.
His lawyer Ramkarpal Singh had said that Ooi will cooperate with the police.
Soo Wern Jun