‘Arrest warrant needed’
> IGP’s stand contradicts law, say legal experts
PETALING JAYA: The law states that the police will need to obtain a warrant when an arrest is made under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia (MCMC) Act 1998, according to legal experts and interpreters of the law.
This contradicts the stand of Inspector-General of Police Tan Seri Khalid Abu Bakar recently that obtaining a warrant was not necessary in the case of the arrest of former journalist Sidek Kamiso, who was arrested at his home in Petaling Jaya on Monday.
“Basically, it’s not correct, the law clearly states that the police need a warrant for arrest,” said prominent civil rights lawyer Syahredzan Johan.
“The Act states that an investigation needs to be carried out by an officer in the Multimedia and Communications Commission who then hands over his findings to the police,” said Syahredzan.
The Section reads: “A police officer may, by warrant, arrest a person who may have committed an offence under this Act or its subsidiary legislation.”
Syahrezan said the interpretation of the law is very clear, the police need to obtain a warrant before they arrest someone under the Act.
He did, however, say that Section 248 of the Act does allow for search and seizure of items in a person’s household without a warrant.
“The arrest was unlawful and they could face a civil suit if the person arrested wants to pursue it,” he told theSun.
Lawyer Siti Kasim said the police had erred in their interpretation of the law and arrest of Sidek.
“Section 248 only refers to search and seizures and not arrests, but they can however, without warrant enter a premises to secure evidence in the course of their investigations if they can justify that evidence will be destroyed.”
She added that arrests can only be made after a warrant has been obtained under Section 258.
Sidek was arrested over a tweet on the death of PAS spiritual leader Datok 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 warrant or explanation.
Meanwhile, former law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim yesterday criticised the nature of Sidek’s arrest, saying he was being treated like a jihadist from the Islamic State and that it was “almost like a special operation by the police”.
“The arrest was made at 4.30am and he was brought to Johor to be remanded. No warrant was issued, like it was an arrestable (serious) offence.”