Malaysian opposition MP wins appeal in wrongful arrest case

Ms Kok has been awarded $117,000 in damages in her lawsuit against the Malaysian government over her wrongful arrest and detention under the Internal Security Act.
Ms Kok has been awarded $117,000 in damages in her lawsuit against the Malaysian government over her wrongful arrest and detention under the Internal Security Act.

KUALA LUMPUR • The Court of Appeal in Malaysia has awarded opposition MP Teresa Kok Suh Sim RM350,000 (S$117,000) in damages in her lawsuit against the government over her wrongful arrest and detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in 2008, overturning a High Court decision.

The three-member panel, in the judgment yesterday, said the police had failed to show sufficient reason to arrest the Democratic Action Party legislator, nor any urgent need that would validate invoking the ISA.

It ordered that Ms Kok receive RM200,000 in general damages and RM150,000 in exemplary and aggravated damages. It also ordered that she be paid RM70,000 in costs.

The decision reversed one in April last year by the Kuala Lumpur High Court, which dismissed her suit, saying it was satisfied with the witnesses' statements that the arrest and detention were lawfully done. Ms Kok had been ordered to pay costs of RM50,000 to each defendant.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing yesterday, she said the ruling exonerated her and proved she had been wrongfully arrested.

Ms Kok filed the suit in March 2009 against former home minister Syed Hamid Albar, former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan, arresting officer E Kim Tien and the Malaysian government, claiming she was wrongfully arrested.

She also claimed that the negligence, arbitrariness and frivolity of the defendants in effecting her wrongful arrest and detention had caused her severe mental stress, pain and suffering due to food poisoning and denial of her constitutional rights.

Ms Kok had sought damages for wrongful arrest and detention, pain and suffering and mental stress, general and special damages and other relief deemed fit by the court.

The MP had said that she was arrested on Sept 12, 2008 and detained for two hours without being allowed to contact her closest relative or her lawyer.

She was then informed that she was being detained under Section 73(1) of the ISA on the grounds that she had taken part in activities that could cause tension and racial clashes, she said.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2016, with the headline 'Malaysian opposition MP wins appeal in wrongful arrest case'. Print Edition | Subscribe