KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — The federal government is challenging a court ruling ordering payment of RM350,000 in compensation to DAP MP Teresa Kok over her arrest and detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA), her lawyer said today.
Sankara Nair confirmed that the Attorney-General’s Chambers was not merely appealing against the Court of Appeal’s RM350,000 award, but was appealing against the “entire decision” last July which found the government liable for the opposition lawmaker’s wrongful arrest and detention in 2008 under the ISA that has since been abolished.
He confirmed that the AGC had filed its notice of motion seeking leave to appeal at the Federal Court and served it today on Kok’s lawyers.
“We will be prepared to defend the appeal because I think the law on it is very settled and the facts on it are not disputed,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.
Sankara said his client was “quite disappointed”, pointing out that the Court of Appeal had already taken the time to consider arguments from all parties to give a detailed judgment.
“Since the decision is sound in my opinion with well thought-out and clear reasoning by the Court of Appeal, it would seem quite unfair for the AG’s Chambers to appeal,” he said.
The 30-day deadline for the government to appeal the July 26 decision by the Court of Appeal ends today.
On July 26, the Court of Appeal reversed the High Court’s previous decision to dismiss Kok’s lawsuit, after finding that the authorities did not have sufficient grounds to arrest her.
Kok then said the Court of Appeal’s decision showed that all the allegations made against her prior to the arrest were without basis.
On March 13, 2009, Kok filed the civil suit against the Malaysian government, the then Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Syed Jaafar Albar, then Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and police officer DSP E Kim Tien for damages over her alleged wrongful arrest and detention.
In her statement of claim, Kok said she was arrested by the defendants at 11.15pmon September 12, 2008, and was not allowed to contact her lawyer or relatives during a two-hour detention that followed.
She said she was informed at 2am the next day at the Wangsa Maju police station that she was being detained under the ISA’s Section 73 (1) for allegedly taking part in activities that could cause racial tension.
Kok said she was then detained without trial at a secret location until her release on September 19, 2008.
She said that her arrest had been conducted negligently and arbitrarily, causing her severe mental stress, pain and suffering.