Parliament must reassert its inviolability in the face of the arrest of MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli within its precincts.
“It matters little whether Rafizi was arrested within the grounds of Parliament or just outside it; the very gesture represents a gratuitous insult to democracy and must not be allowed to stand,” said M Kulasegaran, MP for Ipoh Barat.
The DAP national vice-chair said he was heartened that speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia wants to investigate the arrest but he observed that the point about where exactly the arrest took place - within Parliament's grounds or just beyond it - was not germane to the issue.
“A Member of Parliament exiting Parliament after a day's work should not be apprehended,” argued Kulasegaran, a four-term parliamentarian and practising lawyer.
“If he is apprehended for reasons other than national security concerns, it conveys the notion that Parliament’s sanctity as an institution is precarious,” he continued.
“I urge speaker Pandikar to reassert Parliament's inviolability in the face of this insult to its traditions,” he said.
PKR secretary-general Rafizi was arrested by police last Tuesday just outside the main gate to Parliament's grounds as he was leaving after the day’s sitting.
Police later announced that he was being investigated under Section 8 of the Official Secrets Act. Yesterday, Rafizi was remanded for three days on a magistrate’s order.
Rafizi’s arrest is related to his expose last month of a document that purports to show a link between controversy-ridden state wealth fund 1MDB and Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera.
In protest of the arrest, a delegation of MPs, led by opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, is expected to march to Bukit Aman to demand for Rafizi’s release.
“A ruling by speaker Pandikar on the matter is urgently needed to reassert Parliament’s inviolability,” said Kulasegaran.