Immigration officials detained former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim at the country's main airport upon returning from Istanbul via Singapore before being cleared for entry, his lawyer William Leong said.
"It's just a clear harassment," Anwar told Reuters. "It's a desperate attempt to harass and intimidate the public and deflect the attention from major issues of corruption among UMNO leaders and the judiciary."
UMNO is the United Malays National Organisation, Malaysia's main ruling party.
In the incident that lasted about half an hour, Anwar said he was stopped because his name was on immigration's "suspects list" although he was not informed why.
Anwar said he was allowed to leave after a senior immigration officer came out to speak to him, but his name remains on the list, which could bar him from leaving Malaysia.
"No grounds were given," Anwar's lawyer Leong said of the detention. "There appears to have been some note which put the official on alert to stop him from coming in and to detain him until he obtained approval from the superior."
Police on Tuesday arrested human rights lawyer P. Uthayakumar, who helped organise 10,000 ethnic Indians to protest last month against racial discrimination.
The 46-year-old Uthayakumar would be charged later on Tuesday for sedition for statements he made in a book, his aide said without elaborating.
In the Malaysian capital on Tuesday, dozens of policemen blocked the main entrance to the parliament building to foil an opposition-led rally demanding free and fair elections.
Riot police, armed with batons and shields and backed by a water cannon, took positions close to the parliament while vehicles passing through were checked.
Police arrested about a dozen opposition leaders, including the leader of Anwar's Keadilan (Justice) party, Tian Chua, after the car he was travelling in broke through a police cordon and headed toward parliament to hand over a memo demanding reforms in the electoral process.
Tian was arrested after he defied police orders to leave the car. Police then handcuffed and carried him out of the car before bundling him into a waiting police patrol car.
DPM: Ignore Hindraf
The Star, 11/12/07
PUTRAJAYA: The public, especially political parties, should not dance to the Hindu Rights Action Force’s (Hindraf) tune, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
The Deputy Prime Minister said they should not turn hysterical every time the group voiced its comments or criticisms, saying that Hindraf did not speak for the Indian community.
“Who is Hindraf representing? We should not dance to its tune.
“Action can be taken against it if it broke any law, and we have taken action against some of its members recently.
Malaysian products: Najib checking out some bags produced by a Felda-linked company during the awards ceremony in Putrajaya yesterday. With him are his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (second from right), Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said and Felda officials.
“The situation in the country is still under control, and the people are confident about the measures taken by the Government to maintain peace,” Najib told reporters after giving prizes to the winners of the Felda youth awards here yesterday.
Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional deputy president, said he would ask People’s Progressive Party president Datuk M. Kayveas to explain his statement on Sunday that the protests by the Indian groups recently were aimed at the MIC.
“His statement is his own opinion on the matter. I will ask him about it,” Najib added.
It is learnt that several MIC leaders, including vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan, met Najib here yesterday to express their unhappiness over Kayveas’ statement.
Earlier, Najib received a list of 2,800 signatures from Felda staff in support of peace in the country.
The signatories also regretted the action of some groups to hold streets demonstrations recently, and urged the Government to take action.
IGP: Hindraf probe completed and enough evidence to proceed
JOHOR BARU: More Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders are expected to be arrested and charged in court soon.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said police had wrapped up their investigations that would be sufficient for court action against the leaders.
“We will not go soft on parties who want to threaten the nation’s peace and stability,” he said, adding that police would take more drastic measures should the security situation worsen.
Commenting on recent illegal rallies, Musa told newsmen there were signs that the situation could worsen but police would only use the Internal Security Act as a last resort.
“We expect to make more arrests,” he said, adding that only two rally leaders had been detained so far.
Musa, who was in the city to get vew the flood situation, said the recent illegal rallies could be due to the upcoming general elections.
“These people have proper channels to convey their intentions.
“For example, Bersih met the Election Commission which agreed to their demands. So I don’t understand why they should conduct illegal rallies,” he said.
Musa said the situation could be the worst in history if precautionary measures were not taken.
“We don’t want another black mark in our country’s history. Certain precautionary measures should be taken before the worst happens,” he said.
He said he would recommend to the Bar Council that certain lawyers who were charged and found guilty of participating in illegal rallies be barred from practising law.