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Teresa blasts Utusan and Home Minister - Malaysiakini report

Report from Malaysiakini

Newly-released Internal Security Act detainee Teresa Kok wasted no time taking to task several quarters - including the home minister and a prominent Malay daily - for trying to turn the public debate on the draconian law into a squabble over ‘dog food’.

Speaking at a packed ‘Abolish the ISA’ forum organised by her DAP party last night, Kok accused both Utusan Malaysia and Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar of "zeroing in" on her choice of words, instead of addressing the issues related to the injustices of the ISA.

dap abolish isa forum 230908 teresa kok 02"They are trying to divert the focus on the issue of the draconian ISA to the issue of food," she told a crowd of 600 at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur.

"The more they talk about food, the more it comes into people's minds. When you go into ISA detention, you will get dog food."

Kok, who is a Selangor exco member as well as MP for Seputeh, was arrested on Sept 12 for 'causing racial and religious tension and conflict' under the ISA, which allows for detention without trial.

Two others were arrested the same day, shocking the nation and causing yet another outcry for repeal of the tough security law.

The two were blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin and Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng. While Tan has since been released, Raja Petra was sent to Kamunting Prison in Perak yesterday to begin a two-year detention.

Kok, who had described the food given to her during her seven-day detention as "worse than.. er ... similar to dog food", sparking criticism from both Syed Hamid and Utusan, who blasted her for the comments.

Admits mistake

Kok, who initially denied making the remarks, also said that during her detention in a badly ventilated six-by-eight-feet cell she was given only water and bread or two boiled eggs and some curry for her meals.

dap abolish isa forum 230908 audience"Okay, fine. You found my mistake with the help of videotapes and all that, and I can accept such criticism," she said, referring to video recordings that captured her by-now infamous ‘dog food’ comments.

Blaming the memory lapse on the tight and hectic schedule since her release, Kok accused her detractors for harping on the issue so as to trigger Malay sensitivities regarding the animal.

Kok had earlier told Malaysiakini she did not purposely use the term ’dog food’ in order to offend Malays.

"Perhaps, as my friends have suggested, I should have said the food given to me in detention was worse than cat food," she added cheekily.

khir toyo 181207Kok reiterated her intention to proceed with legal action against Utusan and former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo for having made statements that allegedly led to her detention.

"I'm not going to let my detention go. I'm going to file a suit against those who framed me and led me to my ISA detention... Khir Toyo and Utusan Malaysia," she told the audience.

On a lighter note, Kok said perhaps one positive outcome from the ordeal may be that ISA detainees may be served better food in future.

"At least now... whoever goes in will get better food!" she quipped, to laughter from the audience.