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Nat Tan’s lawyer: An act of oppression July 14, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics.

Let’s begin with yet another common ‘trick’/tactic of our oh-so-professional police force – perverting the course of justice by not giving vital information to suspects’ lawyers eg. hearing times.

Nat Tan’s lawyers have put their names on record with the police so that they would be informed of the case developments, especially on the time and venue of the remand hearing today.

Close to noon, Sivarasa Rasiah, one of Nat’s legal counsels, received a call from another lawyer, P. Uthayakumar, who happened to be at the Duta magistrate’s court for another remand hearing. Uthaya spotted a handcuffed Nat and realised what the police were trying to do – conduct the hearing without the presence of Nat’s lawyers. Sivarasa and Latheefa Koya rushed there and taruh the cops kau-kau (yeh!).

By the time I got there, the family members, including Li Tsin and Nat’s sister, Cheryl who also blogs, had waited for quite a while. The magistrate had thrown everyone out of the courtroom, including the media. Among those who came were Nik Nazmi, KeADILan Youth Exco Ginie and Lawrence; the Chan brothers, Yus, Ramlan, Tian Chua and William Leong.

We waited for almost 2 hours outside the court room. Finally the lawyers came out and informed us that the police tried to ask for the maximum of 14 days remand (!) and got 4 days instead.


The police said Nat is being investigated for an offence under Section 8 of the Officials Secrets Act (changed from last night’s Section 420 of the Penal Code) , i.e. possession of ‘secret’ documents published on the internet, which alleged that deputy Minister for Internal Security, Johari Bahrum, was involved in the ‘fee-for freedom’ scandal.

This is similar to an earlier investigation, again under Section 8 of the OSA, conducted by Bukit Aman, on the 4 KeADILan leaders who revealed the agreement and the toll-hike rates of Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP). Note:- There were no arrests and no confiscation in that case.

This is what Sivarasa Rasiah, the lead counsel for Nat, said outside the courts after the remand hearing:-

“We are revisiting 1998 – this is a political detention.

“The remand serves no purpose except to put him (Nat) under duress.

“He has given his full cooperation; they have taken documents, CD-Roms and computers from his office, home and car.

“If the remand is for investigation, why continue to detain him when he has given everything? This is a ‘fishing’ expedition. There is clearly another agenda behind this.

“This is purely an act of oppression. I want to go on record that his detention is political motivated.”

Sivarasa also said that the documents and CD-Roms seized from Nat’s home, office and car, were not limited to this so-called investigation but his job as the Secretary to the Chairman of the Foundation for the Future, Anwar Ibrahim.

He added that since the computers and documents were already in the possession of the police, there is no reason to keep him there.

“Nat has the legal right to silence. He will not say a word. So to keep him inside is like punishing him.”

When asked what was the role of the Bukit Aman’s Cyber-Crime Division, it was said that they were mainly involved in information-mining of Nat’s computers (creeps). The Investigating Officer is DSP Victor, his boss ACP Tn Kamaruddin.
Sivarasa also mentioned that the news story which appeared in The Star today is “false and malicious”. (I wish to add – ditto for Sin Chew’s frontpage news) which reported that Nat was arrested over the photoshopped work – “French Dinner for Three”.
Sivarasa said they will consider seeking a revision on Monday. He also said that Nat is in good spirits but there’s no drinking water available in the lockup, so he has to resort to drinking tap water.

Oh… Sivarasa gave a big hug to Nat on behalf of all of us :-P.

Nat was spirited away through the backdoors into a white Wira. We didn’t get to see him.

He will remain in the lockup of IPD Dang Wangi, Jalan Stadium until Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the police will either apply for an extension, or release him without charge, or charge him in court.

(Please go to Malaysiakini for more quotes and background information.)

(Updated: Tian reminded me it was Bastille Day and said,

“Today is Bastille Day. 200 over years ago, the French stormed the prison of Bastille to establish a constitutional democracy.

The event (that) led to the Storming of the Bastille was the sacking of a populist finance minister Jacques Necker.

At the time, French people could be arbitrarily detained on the basis of “lettre de cachet” (king’s letter).

Today Malaysians are still living in the shadow of fear under this authoritarian system. Are we 200 years behind schedule?”



1. Muhammad Yunus - July 14, 2007

Hey Liz,

Is Nat the first ever blogger being arrested by the authorities in Malaysia under this act?

EW: To my knowledge, yes.

2. the __earthinc » Blog Archive » [1288] Of free Nat - July 14, 2007

[…] for Internal Security, Johari Bahrum, was involved in the ‘fee-for freedom’ scandal. [Nat Tan’s lawyer: An act of oppression. Elizabeth Wong.  July 14 […]

3. hasilox - July 14, 2007

“French dinner for 3”. Why such f#$^&* over-reaction? Only one conclusion. Bullseye hit!!!

Forget about C4…it’s D3 now!

EW: Hehe 😛

4. Adrian Wong - July 14, 2007

Shame on our boys and girls in blue. They should be protecting the people, not oppressing them. There is just no honour in our culture. No honour at all.

5. 4896 » Nathaniel Tan - July 14, 2007

[…] The latest update from Eli’s blog on today (14.07.07), the reason he was arrested was – Nat Tan’s lawyer: An act of oppression […]

6. OSA probe: the first case to be recorded for Abdullah Badawi Administration Records - July 14, 2007

[…] Nat Tan’s lawyer: An act of oppression […]

7. mob1900 - July 14, 2007

How the hell can anyone gets reprimanded for ‘Providing a link’ to an OSAed website?

and how can anyone OSA a website???

So if that means to get reprimanded, all we have to do is to ‘Provide a link’ to the alleged website and we are done for! Fishing garbage.

8. WATTAHACK? - July 14, 2007

OMG how can they take a person to court without a lawyer! This is breaking the very foundation of our CONSTITUTION! and I must say to Politukus those computers better not have your private moments with Nat in them! else we might be viewing them on Youtube no-thanks to those foxes in blue! Not that’s Intimidating!

9. WATTAHACK? - July 14, 2007
10. zona marie - July 15, 2007

Muhammad Yunus – July 14, 2007Hey Liz, Is Nat the first ever blogger being arrested by the authorities in Malaysia under this act?

while being empathic for Nat, his family, and the plight of those others who fight for political justice, i honestly detest the idea of the association of Nat being arrested for being a blogger, or any such association “blogger = arrested” particularly because of his direct involvement in politics in real life, in the first place. being a Malaysian blogger does NOT make you a political blogger, or someone involved in politics. please do not shame the name of a “blogger”.

EW: Sweetie – read the piece again. Nat blogs. He is a blogger. He is proud to be a blogger. His name card is about his blogs. He is now sleeping on cold hard cement floor because the police says his blog is suspect, as oppose to say, his editing of a best-seller. It’s a bit like saying, hey, Rushdie, you taint the good name of novelists, because your content is too political?

11.   Why Nat? — Malaysians Abroad Blog - July 15, 2007

[…] that’s playing in my mind now … “How … how is that possible?” “Perverting the course of justice?” “Why […]

12. bobjots : redux - July 15, 2007

Some Further Information On Nat’s Saga

Apart from the brief update below, I just found out that a small drama occurred this afternoon in relation to Nat’s remand hearing. Apparently the police attempted to get the hearing conducted without the presence of legal counsel despite four…

13. Hizami - July 15, 2007

eli, hope you don’t mind my curi-ing Sivarasa’s statement to put on bangkit. thx!

14. arifabdull - July 15, 2007

No matter what race, religion, or political ideology Nat is belong to; since his blood is also red as all of us, this single reason is enough for all of us to defend his rights! PLEASE!

15. Raja - July 16, 2007

Political detention? When someone is whisked away detained and held incommunicado it is not always for political reasons. His connection to PKR is what did it. The real purpose (rather than reason) behind the arrest and detention is apparently to instill fear among members of the blogging community, a warning to all bloggers to be careful who you associate with. Allowing visitors to his blog to leave comments which suggest he is in possession of documents which purportedly come within the purview of the Official Secrets Act makes the blogger guilty by way of association – or is he?

It does not matter, does it??

Nathaniel will be released. Sure, he has the right to remain silent like anybody else when arrested. In Malaysia the police officer who places him under right is not required to read his Miranda rights. But remaining silent in his case would not work to his favor. If he has not done anything he should speak up.

By the time Nathaniel is released the shock waves created as a result of his arrest and detention would have done their job. Already it has got the entire blogging community talking about it!

This is just a warning!

EW: “His connection to PKR is what did it”. You said it – it’s politically motivated.

“But remaining silent in his case would not work to his favor. If he has not done anything he should speak up.”
Which law school did you go to?? A right to silence does not connote guilt. He will speak – in court only and in the presence of his lawyers.

16. Raja - July 16, 2007

“On Tuesday, the police will either apply for an extension, or release him without charge, or charge him in court.”

I believe there is nothing they could charge him with. They know that.

EW: Hence keeping him inside is considered arbitrary detention and without basis.

17. Raja - July 16, 2007

“Let’s begin with yet another common ‘trick’/tactic of our oh-so-professional police force – perverting the course of justice by not giving vital information to suspects’ lawyers eg. hearing times.”

He is under remand, Elizabeth. He has not been charged with anything. He has been arrested, yes! They are hoping he would give incriminating evidence against himself while in custody so they could charge him with something or at least justify his continued detention.

It has nothing to do with police professionalism. They know what they are doing.

EW: This contradicts your previous suggestion that he should sing like the canary, if the remand is for them to dig out incriminating evidence. And everyone has a constitutional right to legal counsel. We too know what we are doing.

18. ACP - July 16, 2007


19. ACP - July 16, 2007

You are next Eli. From now on you should be looking behind your shoulders!

EW: HAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry Raja (haiya – why you use the same IP?) I got better things to do like kick your b*tt for trying to threaten me!

20. Emmanuel - July 16, 2007

Hehe Eli,

Maybe the IP originator is from Dang Wangi 😛

21. Julie - July 16, 2007

I’m Nat’s cousin. Needless to say this is distressing. Thanks for writing about this. This type of thing STILL happening in my country makes me positively ashamed to be Malaysian at times.

22. wits0 - July 16, 2007

Is Raja really posting from London as claimed in Susan’s Blog? Somethings he says makes sense but others don’t. Well, it seems, KTemoc maybe thinks all things tally.

EW: Beats me. I’m happy to debate and stuff, but pretending to be a cop to threaten me, that’s (speechless). Even cops here have better manners. I’ve put him down as Spam.

23. Dissappointed Citizen - July 16, 2007

That was funny…towards the few end…the threats..and oh. Thanks for constant update..I cannot focused on my work now…too eager to know what will happen to Nat. It’s not only on the release matter itself, but the outcome of it will reflect of how messed up or not or already our police/gov country is..

24. wits0 - July 16, 2007

“ACP”, can stand for many stand for many things such as :

However, for anyone making threats, it is possibly being used to insinuate reference to pistol ammunition such as the .45 calibre or .380 ACP(Automatic Colt Pistol). So if someone is what Emmanuel suggests, that isn’t impossible. 😀 You think a layman would commonly have such a linkage consciously ready in his mind? Your truly is an exception though 😉

EW: ACP =Assistant Commissioner of Police.

25. smoothriver.net » Blog Archive » What is the first thing that Nat should do? - July 17, 2007

[…] Nat is out around 5pm today after being remanded for 4 days over something really stupid… […]

26. Free Nat Tan! « Thinking Aloud - July 17, 2007

[…] a fuller account, head here. I doubt that you will get a honest appraisal of the situation from the mainstream media. There is […]

27. wits0 - July 19, 2007

Making different handles for mischief or expounding of his other views/idiosnycracy makes a commentor untrustworthy of his real intention.

28. zona marie - July 19, 2007

pls don’t “sweetie” me… my comment was in reference to yunus’ comment. i understand ur entry, thank you. and ur point is somewhat valid re: Rushdie-Nat, but not in this context.
Nat would’ve been arrested by OSA regardless whether he was a blogger or not, because of his political involvement, correct? he did things that “might” have broken our countries law (subject to whoever’s interpretation). in this case, he was first a political secretary. being a blogger is a supplementary position, not a profession. Rushdie is a novelist by profession. Rushdie may have written controversies, but which secular law did he break?

I’m glad Nat is safe, btw.

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