Maria Chin detained over documents found at her office, not because of Bersih 5 rally: Police chief

Bersih 2.0 Chairman Maria Chin Abdullah (second from left) and her comittee wave during the Bersih 5.0 rally press conference at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Nov 17, 2016.
Bersih 2.0 Chairman Maria Chin Abdullah (second from left) and her comittee wave during the Bersih 5.0 rally press conference at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Nov 17, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

SEPANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Bersih 2.0 chair Maria Chin Abdullah was detained after documents "detrimental to parliamentary democracy" were found in her office, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said on Wednesday (Nov 23).

He pointed out that Maria's detention was not over Saturday's (Nov 19) Bersih 5 rally.

"Her detention has nothing at all to do with the Bersih rally. That part is clear, okay? She was arrested under Section 124(C) of the Penal Code for activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy," IG Khalid told reporters at KLIA.

IG Khalid said Maria's detention for 28 days under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) was "to give police ample time to get a statement from her on the nature of Bersih 2.0's funds".

"On November 18, a team of police officers raided the Bersih office and found some documents that have led us to believe that they could be involved in activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, an offence under Section 124(c) of the Penal Code," he said.

"We arrested her on the same day under Section 124(c) of the Penal Code. The procedures for us to carry out investigations are under Section 124(c) of the Penal Code, which is under Sosma. Under Sosma, we can detain her for 28 days," said IG Khalid.

IG Khalid clarified that "Sosma can be used for investigations into organised crime, human trafficking and crimes against the country- not just terrorism."

"People are saying that the government has promised to use Sosma only against terrorists have gotten it confused with Pota. P-O-T-A. Pota. Prevention of Terrorism Act. Don't get confused. I hope that no one else tries to confuse the public."

"As far as I remember, the government has never said that Section 124(c) can only be used against terrorists. None," he said.

IG Khalid said the 28-day detention period would give police enough time to go through the documents and items seized from the Bersih office on Nov 18, and to get Maria's statement on the confiscated items.

He said Maria has confessed to getting funds from the Open Society Foundation (OSF) funded by billionaire George Soros.

"We all know what OSF is and how many countries they have taken down in their own ways. It is the responsibility of the police to ensure that national security is not threatened by anyone at all," he said.

"It's not as if we don't know OSF's track records. We have to take necessary measures so that our country does not fall into the trap of those trying to bring down Malaysia," said IG Khalid.

He added that in addition to being investigated for activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy, Maria is also being probed under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012.

IG Khalid said police have received more than 15 reports on Bersih-related activities, including the weekly convoys, as well as alleged assistance from outsiders.

"We too want to know the nature of Bersih. Are they an organisation or a company? Are they allowed to receive funding from any parties? We have to investigate all of this, which is why we took all the measures I've mentioned before," said IG Khalid.

"What we found in her office is serious and we need to carry out detailed investigations. That is why the police decided to use Sosma as a procedure to carry out careful investigations," he explained.