An opposition politician held for a week under controversial security laws spoke of her relief as she was freed on Friday.
Teresa Kok, of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), was detained along with Malaysia’s top blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
“I am happy I was freed. I am fine,” she told reporters as she left a local police station.
“I do not know why I was freed today and I do not know why I was detained in the first place.”
Her arrest drew public outrage and the Malaysian minister responsible for legal affairs resigned Monday over a series of arrests under the security law.
The ISA, which human rights groups have pushed to have abolished, allows for renewable two-year periods of detention without trial and is normally used against terror suspects.
Police said they arrested Kok last Friday because she was involved in a petition to silence the call to prayer in mosques in non-Muslim areas.
Kok has denied making such complaints.
Yap Swee Seng, director of the rights group Voice of the Malaysian People (Suaram) welcomed her release but called for those responsible for her arrest to be held accountable for abusing their power.
“We call for the immediate release of Raja Petra and all other ISA detainees. We demand the draconian security law to be abolished,” he told AFP.
A journalist for a Chinese-language newspaper was arrested after reporting on racist comments made by a ruling party member but was quickly released after an uproar including from within the government.
Raja Petra, founder of the controversial Malaysia Today website, was previously charged with sedition and defamation after linking Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife to a sensational murder.
Kok’s release came after Washington Thursday expressed “grave concern” over Malaysia’s use of the ISA as a possible way to stifle dissent.
“The United States firmly believes that national security laws, such as the ISA, must not be used to curtail or inhibit the exercise of universal democratic liberties or the peaceful expression of political views,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
“The detention of opposition leaders under the ISA would be viewed by the United States and the international community as a fundamental infringement of democratic rights and values,” he added.
Teresa Kok released