EO Detainee: SB Officers Failed To Brainwash Me

Hours of daily grilling by Special Branch officers have failed to indoctrinate newly released EO detainee Choo Chon Kai to forsake his beliefs.

Instead, the many sessions over a period of one month made the 33-year-old PSM central committee member, who was released on Friday, more committed to the struggle for a fair and democratic Malaysia.

"There was no physical (abuse)... only brainwashing methods meant to cripple my spirit. They even went into the minute details of my life," Choo said, when interviewed by Malaysiakini following his release.

He said the police officers tried to convince him to abandon his struggles, but the more the officers spoke, the stronger he became in believing in himself.

According to Choo, the officers asked for details of his stint with human rights group Suaram a few years back, as well as after he joined Parti Socialis Malaysia in 2005.

Choo together with five PSM colleagues were arrested during the party's 'Udahlah BN, Bersaralah' campaign swing in Penang on June 25.

A week later, the six were held under the Emergency Ordinance, which allows detention without trial.

All were released on Friday after languishing in solitary confinement for 28 days.

Police quiz me on Bangkok trip

Choo revealed that he had a slight problem in explaining his trip to Bangkok during his bouts of interrogation.

"They checked the records of my overseas trips to see if I had visited communist countries, and they asked me about southern Thailand," he said.

Southern Thailand is now home to former leaders of the Communist Party of Malaya who gave up their struggle after inking a peace pact with the Malaysian government in 1989.

The police had seized T-shirts depicting ex-communist leaders and had accused PSM of seeking to revive communism, in addition to waging war against the Agong.

"I was initially worried as the police used section 122 under the Penal Code (waging war against the Agong)... this might mean life imprisonment," he said

Later he realised that the provision was used to spook the detainees.

Held in secretive detention centre

Choo also said he was worried for his mother as he did not have the opportunity to inform her of his detention following his arrest.

"Luckily, a friend told my mother about me. I did manage to speak to her on the phone once, on last Wednesday," he said.

"My mother wished me good health. She has given me freedom and support to pursue my dream."

Choo revealed that the PSM 6 were kept at a secret lock-up, normally used to hold ISA detainees.

He suspected they were kept at the Police Detention Centre in Jalan Ipoh, even though police records show that they were held at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman.

There was no way he could tell as all six were blindfolded whenever they were brought out from their individual cells.

When the police eventually allowed the PSM 6 to meet their families and lawyers, they were sent to different locations.

Choo met his family at the Selayang police station, while party deputy president M Saraswathy and central committee member Dr D Jeyakumar were taken to Jinjang police station and Bukit Aman respectively.

'We are no hero'

Hours after walking out from his cell, Choo stressed that he was not a hero as the PSM 6 did not do anything heroic.

"We did nothing (in the lock-up), you guys who fought for our release are the real heros," he said.

Choo, who is a full-time politician, works as an aide to Jeyakumar, who is Sungai Siput parliamentarian.

When asked if he will contest in the coming general election, Choo politely declined to answer.

The Universiti Sains Malaysia's chemistry graduate conceded he would be financially better off had he not join politics.

"The SB (Special Branch) officers asked me the same question... particularly why would a Chinese want to join PSM," he said, adding that many Malaysians would consider his decision “foolish”.

"You can say the same for (PSM chairperson and Kota Damansara state assemblyperson) Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim and Dr Jeyakumar - their achievements could have been far greater in other fields," he said.

"However Malaysia needs a lot of 'foolish' people to make it a better country for all of us.”

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