Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, the caretaker Menteri Besar of Kedah, deserved to be punished, but he did not deserve to be arrested in the wee hours of the morning.
There is no justification for this. He wasn’t a flight-risk person. In any case, where could he run to?
What happened in the wee hours of Tuesday morning reminded many of the detested days of the Internal Security Act (ISA), when the police would come knocking at the door at an unearthly hour and haul away the suspect in a disconcerting manner.
The ISA is no longer around, but the police, it would appear, had been conditioned by it. This practice of picking up a suspect at will in the early hours of the morning should have been discarded. Obviously, bad habits die hard.
Couldn’t they have served Sanusi charge papers and left, expecting him to turn up at the stated time and place? If he had failed to turn up in court, the court could have issued a warrant of arrest against him. This would have given the police legitimate reason to arrest him.
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If this was followed, nobody would have blamed the police for acting high-handedly. The image of the police force would not have been tarnished. Now, the police are forced to be on the defensive, trying to justify themselves.
Sanusi’s latest version of what happened – that he was in contact with the police “from between 10pm on Monday (17 July) and 2am on Tuesday and has the WhatsApp messages in his possession to prove it” – contradicts the inspector general’s explanation that police calls were not picked up.
Sanusi has created some doubt, which isn’t good for the police. Many are wondering what really is the truth! We hope, in the future, the arresting of Malaysians for whatever reason will not occur in the unearthly hours of the morning – unless the arrests are time-sensitive.