KUALA LUMPUR—Political activist and anti-government figure Wong Chin Huat was arrested by Malaysia police on Tuesday night under the Sedition Act.
Wong, a representative with the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), attended a press conference together with representatives from opposition parties on Tuesday. In his speech he urged Malaysians to wear black on May 7 to protest the ruling National Front coalition’s controversial takeover of the state government in Perak State.
Wong was arrested at his home in Taman Sri Sentosa on Tuesday evening. Police also seized a laptop and a cellular phone belonging to Wong. According to Malaysia law, Sedition violation is punishable by up to three years in jail.
The Malaysian Bar Council slammed the arrest and on Wednesday called for the immediate release of Wong. Malaysian Bar president Mr. Ragunath Kesavan said the Police have resorted to using the Sedition Act to stifle public opinion and dissenting voices that are unfavorable to the ruling government.
Ragunath also said the arrest of Wong Chin Huat, seemingly for the “crime” of advocating that those who disagree with the events unfolding in Perak wear black on Thursday, does not augur well for the Malaysian Prime Minister’s promise of openness and respect for the people.
Wong’s remand order was extended until Friday after the Magistrate’s Court granted a one-day extension on Wednesday. The prosecution requested the extension in order to have more time for investigation.
Meanwhile, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, a prominent leader of the Opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), alleged the police abused their power. He questioned why the police arrested Wong before an investigation was carried out.