KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 -Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng, the person who first reported on Bukit Bendera MP Ahmad Ismail’s racial remarks, was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) tonight.
Tan was picked up from her home in Bukit Mertajam at 8.30 tonight.
The arrest tonight comes on the same day as the detention of prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, also under the ISA.
Both arrests followed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi’s warning this week that the ISA would be used to calm rising racial tensions in the country.
Three newspapers - Suara Keadilan, Sin Chew Daily and The Sun - were also issued show cause letters by the Home Ministry today.
Racial tensions have been on the rise since Ahmad’s controversial comments that the Chinese in Malaysia were squatters, was made during the recent Permatang Pauh by election campaign.
Ahmad’s comments and subsequent defiance of his party president Abdullah has also happened amid instability within Umno, with renewed calls for Abdullah to leave office ahead of 2010, the year in which he has promised to hand over power to deputy Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Today’s arrests also happened ahead of September 16, the day in which Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance would topple the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
Earlier today, Raja Petra was detained under Section 73 (1) of the ISA for being a threat to security, peace and public order.
Under the detention orders, he will be detained for 60 days. The Home Minister can extend the detention order at the end of that period.