PUTRAJAYA: Seputeh MP Teresa Kok won her appeal on Tuesday against the government over her detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) nine years ago. She was awarded RM350,000 in total damages.
The Court of Appeal ruled that the High Court had erred in law when applying a test case, in reference to Kok’s situation, in its ruling last year.
“It was clearly in error of law when the High Court applied the wrong ‘stare decisis’ principle to follow a case that’s now no longer good law,” said Justice Varghese George who read the judgment.
Other judges in the panel included Justices Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Zaleha Yusof.
The court also found that the allegations, namely her involvement in an “azan” (religious prayers’ call) volume protest, petition on removing Jawi signage, the SMS directing her involvement, as well as a petition on not to have the “azan” played were “stale”.
“She was arrested on September 19, 2008. But the allegations directed at her were during February that year.”
“There was no immediate action. The police did not act on her behaviour that claimed to be giving rise to a threat to the public. They only arrested her seven months later,” he said.
Justice Varghese added, “The police had failed to show they have supported the claims in conducting her arrest”.
The appeals court ordered the government to pay the DAP vice-chairman RM350,000 in general, exemplary and aggravated damages.
“Cost of RM70,000 is also to be paid to her (Kok),” said Justice Varghese.
Last year, Kok failed to challenge the government on her 2008 ISA arrest and detention. The High Court ruled that the detention was lawful.
She was also ordered to pay RM50,000 as cost.
On March 13, 2009, Kok filed the suit against the Home Minister, several police officers and the Malaysian Government. She claimed that she was wrongfully arrested and detained under the ISA.
She claimed her arrest and detention were baseless and that she had gone through severe mental stress, pain and suffering due to food poisoning and denial of her constitutional rights.
Speaking to reporters outside the court, Kok said “justice has been given to me” and it was not too late to get justice.
“This proved that I had been wrongly arrested and the allegations of the ‘azan’, petition and SMS were without basis,” she said.
The “enemies” tried to paint an anti-Islam image of the Selangor Government, she lamented.