A warrant is necessary, even when an arrest is made under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia (MCMC) Act 1998, said lawyer Siti Kasim today.
In disputing Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar’s claim that a warrant was unnecessary in the case of former journalist Sidek Kamiso, who was arrested at his home in Petaling Jaya yesterday, Siti stressed that “nothing can override the main Act which requires a warrant”.
While Khalid did not specify which section the authorities used when they nabbed Sidek, FMT has been made to understand that according to Section 248 of the Act, a police officer with the rank of an Inspector and above can search and seize, if he has reasonable cause to believe that a delay would affect the evidence, or if the evidence was likely to be tampered with or destroyed, without a warrant.
Asked about this, Siti argued that the authorities had already documented the evidence.
“It’s a tweet isn’t it? What proof do they (the police) have to say there’s a serious risk of evidence being dissipated? They have to prove that,” she told FMT after accompanying members of the Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Kelantan to hand over a memorandum to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).
Siti also pointed out that Section 258 of the same Act spelled out very clearly that police required a warrant.
“They have to do due investigation first, only then can a warrant be issued. But in this case there was no investigation. They just made an arrest and asked for a remand.”
Sidek was arrested over a tweet on the death of PAS spiritual leader Dr Haron Din and taken to Johor for questioning, after police reports were lodged against him.
His wife Norlin Musa had complained that the police had entered her home at 4.30am to arrest him without any form of warrant, or explanation.
The police, however, failed to secure a remand for Sidek after the magistrate in Johor dismissed the request, saying there was “an abuse of court process”.
Khalid had reportedly justified the arrest, as he confirmed that Sidek was being probed for abusing social media under the MCMC Act.
Siti lauded the magistrate who refused to give the remand order against Sidek.
She questioned why Sidek had to be taken all the way to Johor, when he was arrested in Petaling Jaya and could have been remanded in Selangor instead.
“They (the police) want to make it a big show and difficult for the detainee.”