New list for ISA arrests – Ops Lalang 2 in the works?

Is Operation Lalang 2 in the works with the warning yesterday by the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum of more Internal Security Act (ISA) arrests and that the police had submitted another list of names for ISA arrests?

In giving the warning in Jitra yesterday, which was given front-page headlines by the New Sunday Times “WARNING OF MORE ARRESTS – ‘Necessary action’ to be taken under iSA”, Johari revealed that “a list of names had been submitted by the police and it was only a matter of time before several others were detained under the ISA”.

Is the country again in a scenario of “It was never a question of whether Internal Security Act would be used but only a question of when”, quoting Wong Chun Wai’s “On the Beat” in today’s Sunday Star “A Very Difficult Task To Handle”?

Malaysians must find this state of affairs most shocking and outrageous.

When Johari disclosed that “a list of names had been submitted by the police” for persons to be arrested by the detention-without-trial law, how long is the list? Is it for a score, several scores or even up to over a 100 names as was the case with the infamous Operation Lalang in 1987?

What is the basis for the Police to prepare and submit such a list to the Prime Minister-cum-Internal Security Minister for a new round of ISA arrests?

It would appear that it is politics rather than security which is now the driving force demanding a new round of ISA arrests – as evident from the closed-door meeting of some 1,000 Umno division leaders and members in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Yesterday’s Umno meeting was an occasion for the crystallization of Umno demands and pressures for indiscriminate use of the ISA. The New Sunday Times report “Disappointed over ‘slow response’” on the Umno meeting yesterday confirmed the gung-ho attitude of certain Umno rank-and-file quarters on the indiscriminate use of the ISA against critics and dissent in utter disregard of the fundamental principle of the Rule of Law on the inalienable human right against any arbitrary detention without trial.

I call on the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to make a Ministerial statement in Parliament tomorrow on how many names had been submitted by the Police to him for detention under the ISA and to give an assurance that there would not be another Operation Lalang mass detentions under the ISA, which will be even more damaging to Malaysia’s global reputation and international competitiveness than the first Operation Lalang mass detentions exactly 20 years ago!

Abdullah must also give an assurance in his Ministerial statement that he would keep strictly to the letter and spirit of the law and not abuse any powers in invoking the ISA, as for instance in signing a Ministerial detention order under Section 8 of the ISA before there was any police arrest, investigation and recommendation under Section 73 of ISA.

In his 22 years as Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had never by-passed Section 73 of the ISA before a Ministerial detention order was issued. Why had Abdullah acted in so unprecedented, irregular and unlawful a manner?

Abdullah defended his detention order of the five Hindraf leaders and activists, P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan and T. Vasantha Kumar under Section 8, bypassing Section 73 of the ISA as valid.

He said: “It (the 60-day requirement) is not necessary. Under Section 8(1), if the minister is satisfied that that it is necessary to detain someone from acting in a manner prejudicial to the nation’s security, the minister can issue a detention order directing that the person be detained”.

The Prime Minister has been gravely misinformed and wrongly advised about the powers of the Internal Security Minister under Section 8 of the ISA. Is Abdullah seriously suggesting that he need not depend on police investigations and recommendation under Section 73 of ISA and can even issue a Ministerial detention order under ISA solely depending on political pressures from Umno quarters?

A full inquiry should be held as to why the Attorney-General or the Internal Security Ministry’s legal advisers had not advised Abdullah about the case law that no Ministerial detention order under S. 8 can properly be issued without a necessary investigation by the police under S. 73.

Horror of horrors, the country is now being told that the Minister has another list of names for him to sign detention orders under ISA. Are these all going to be straightaway Section 8 Ministerial detention orders without any prior police detention and investigation of up to 60 days under Section 73 – creating a “revolution” in ISA in its application in its 47-year history?

This is why a Ministerial statement by Abdullah in Parliament tomorrow on the ISA, the threat of another Ops Lalang 2 as indicated by Johari and the new-fangled way of its application, is most imperative in the national interest.

  1. #1 by dawsheng on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 11:20 am

    It is the sign that BN is losing, particularly UMNO. What are the options Abdulah have to regain control? None. He just copy from Mahathir thinking if he work for Mahathir ISA will work for him too, but really? What is most worrying is that Abdullah’s action is based on desperate situation and he doesn’t seems to have any exit strategy after taking such drastic action, unlike Mahathir. So is this Ops Lalang? Of course not, this is worst than that.

  2. #2 by Libra2 on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 11:21 am

    He said: “It (the 60-day requirement) is not necessary…..

    The angels must have appeared in his dream and informed him who and who should be held under the ISA.
    The PM supersedes Section 8.

  3. #3 by izrafeil on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 11:30 am

    Islam Had(a)Hari = Civilisation
    Detention without Trial = KEJAM
    Kejam=ISLAM Had(a)Hari

  4. #4 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 12:07 pm

    We need the help of Jeffrey QC the blog’s legal analyst with the cutting and pasting of the relevant Sections of the ISA i.e. Sec. 8 and Sec. 73.

    Is the 60-day investigation by the police mandatory as to the timing or could it be subsequent to powers exercised under Sec. 8. It may appear illogical but Parliament’s intent sometimes appear ‘convoluted’ for a reason. Does that make sense? I am trying to make sense of it i.e. the arrest without prior investigation. But then the objective of an act like the ISA is in its power to deter and not to regulate.

    Many thanks.

  5. #5 by Godfather on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 12:15 pm

    The thieves are upping the ante. They have no choice. As in poker, once you bluff, you must go all the way.

    They cannot be seen to be marginalising Indians by keeping the Hindraf leadership under ISA, so now they are widening the net to detain people like Khalid, Tian Chua, Musa, etc. This way, it is not seen as a racial thing.

    Does anyone know how many detainees they can accommodate at Kamunting ?

  6. #6 by Godfather on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 12:16 pm

    Clearly, it is another sign of desperation on their part. All the government bashing in the alternative media is working !

  7. #7 by Demon on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 12:26 pm

    Will I be eligible for a 2 years all expense paid holiday at Kamunting by saying:OKT=OR KUI TAU?

  8. #8 by k1980 on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 12:38 pm

    Does anyone know how many detainees they can accommodate at Kamunting ?

    Well, Hitler’s concentration camps could keep millions upon millions

  9. #9 by simple simon on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 1:06 pm

    The Hindraf rally and other rallies (which claimed to be peaceful) “Actually” affected businesses throughout KL, especially with all the road blocks & fear of being caught right in the middle of it. Small business holders are at a loss & who is willing to compensate them? Hindraf, Bar Council, Suaram, Opposition Parties, etc?

    The time is just right to educate the Rakyat about the “wrong doings” of the goverement (if any – including corruption), thru other means like publications, talks, etc, so that we can make an informed decision during election. Causing chaos in the city will only worsen matters and giving an excuse for the Police & Government to invoke ISA. Will all the Brough-ha-ha happening in the city make any difference in other states besides Kuala Lumpur? Does others not living in KL understand the reasoning of it and will they support the call? But for KL folks, I for sure, felt the inconvenience caused by all these rallies recently.

    There isn’t much ones can do for time being, as the power is with the ruling Government. Who to be blame – the voters lah!! Therefore, for the coming election, the Oppositions must show some credibilities & abilities and not opposing for the sake of opposing.

  10. #10 by HJ Angus on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 1:09 pm

    You can read some sections of the ISA here

    Our basic problem is that our male BN MPs are worse than eunuchs with not a bleat coming from the benches.

  11. #11 by hasilox on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 1:43 pm

    What the hell is going on? Regressing damn fast.
    From bolehland to bodohland. Now to pariahland?

  12. #12 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 2:14 pm

    But HJ Angus, the posting on your blog is an opinion on S. 73(1).

    Do you have Section 73(1) which you can cut and paste here? Thanks.

  13. #13 by sean on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 2:40 pm

    Is the action of our Internal security Minister cum PM did was unlawful?If it is……..then shouldn’t a court order be taken against him and the government?Since we all assume that we have a neutral chief justice then isn’t this the right time to go to court to sue the govt before it is finally too late?

  14. #14 by chuchueey on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 2:59 pm

    Just a thought. Would it be possible and effective for all of us to plead with foreign governments asking them to weigh on our government to take the humanitarian and compassionate course and free the 5 detained persons and also to stop issuing ISA warrants?
    I believe their email addresses can be obtained from the respective countries’ website.

  15. #15 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 3:19 pm

    A first look at the relevant Sections of the ISA indicate that they seem to merge. S. 73(1) deals with who may arrest, with or without warrant of arrest, and arrest is made pending investigations. Person arrested must be a person in respect of whom “police officer has reason to believe.”

    Powers are extremely wide and reason for the arrest is completely subjective.

    So long as the arresting officer has reason to believe that you “have acted or about to act or is likely to act in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia…”

    Detention under Sec. 73 is for 60 days pending investigation. No order of detention is signed by the Minister.

    Section 8 is about the Minister being satisfied of the same i.e. detention is “necessary with a view to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security…”

    Satisfied Minister may then make a detention order. Detention order is for a period not to exceed two years.

    So Kit is right about the quick rush to do away with the process required under Sec. 73(1) i.e. a 60-day detention pending investigation, and short circuit the process – with the Minister signing the detention order under Sec. 8.

    Clearly this is abuse of process. Nothing that a writ of habeas corpus cannot cure?

  16. #16 by lakshy on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 3:21 pm

    Imam Hadhari has spoken…… it shall be!

  17. #17 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 3:22 pm

    Do they have to detain them for the full period of 60 days??

  18. #18 by chuchueey on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 3:23 pm

    The Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) is a preventive detention law in force in Malaysia. Preventive detention was inherited by Malaysia as part of the colonial baggage that the British left behind. Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world whose Constitution allows for preventive detention during peacetime without safeguards that elsewhere are understood to be basic requirements for protecting fundamental human rights. Article 149 of the Malaysian Constitution under which a person may be detained is characterised by subjective language. Such terms as ‘substantial body’, ‘substantial number’, ’cause to fear’, ‘excite disaffection’, ‘promote feelings of ill-will and hostility’, all embody wide areas of discretionary interpretation. Preventive detention first became a feature of the then Malaya in 1948 primarily to combat the armed insurgency of the Malaysian Communist Party. The Emergency Regulations Ordinance 1948 was made, following the proclamation of an emergency, by the British High Commissioner Sir Edward Gent. It allowed the detention of persons for any period not exceeding one year. The Emergency Regulations Ordinance 1948 was primarily made to counter acts of violence and, conceivably, preventive detention was meant to be temporary in application. The emergency ended in 1960 and with it ended the powers contained in the Emergency Regulations Ordinance 1948 as it was repealed. The power of preventive detention was however not relinquished and in fact became an embedded feature of Malaysian law. In 1960 itself, the government passed the Internal Security Act under Article 149 of the Malaysian Constitution. It permitted the detention, at the discretion of the Home Minister, without charge or trial of any person in respect of whom the Home Minister was satisfied that such detention was necessary to prevent him or her from acting in any manner prejudicial to national security or to the maintenance of essential services or to the economic life in Malaysia. The ISA is one of the most controversial Acts enacted under Article 149 of the Malaysian Constitution. Section 8(1) of the ISA provides that ‘(i)f the minister is satisfied that the detention of any person is necessary … ‘ then s/he may issue an order for his/her detention. The three grounds given in Section 8(1) upon which the order may be based is where a person has acted in any manner prejudicial to the:

    a) Security of Malaysia or part thereof; b) Maintenance of essential services; and, c) Economic life.

    The power to detain seems to be restricted by section 8(1) to a period not exceeding two years but the restriction is really illusionary because, by virtue of section 8(7), the duration of the detention order may be extended for a further period not exceeding two years and thereafter for further periods not exceeding two years at a time. The extension to the detention order may be made on the same ground as those on which the original order was based or on different grounds. In delivering the judgment of the Court, Steve L.K. Shim CJ (Sabah & Sarawak) in Kerajaan Malaysia & 2 Ors. v Nasharuddin bin Nasir (2003) 6 AMR 497 at page 506, has accepted that under section 8 of the ISA the Minister has been conferred powers of preventive detention that ‘can be said to be draconian in nature’ but nevertheless valid under the Malaysian Constitution. In addition preventive detention is also now allowed by the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 and the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969. The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) has recently recommended that the ISA be repealed and replaced by new comprehensive legislation that, while taking a tough stand on threats to national security (including terrorism), does not violate basic human rights.

    Article 151 of the Malaysian Constitution gives to any person detained without trial (under the special powers against subversion) certain administrative rights. By the terms of Article 151 the authority, on whose order a person is detained, shall, as soon as may be, inform the detainee of the grounds of detention and the allegations of fact on which the order is based. The detainee shall also be given an opportunity within three months, of making representations against the order to an Advisory Board . The Advisory Board as the name implies is not a court. Its determinations are also mere recommendations that the government is under no obligation to accept. It may also be handicapped in its deliberations by the discretionary power of the government to withhold facts, the disclosure of which would, in the executive’s opinion be against national interest.

    Any person may be detained by the police for up to 60 days without trial for an act which allegedly threatens the security of the country or any part thereof. After 60 days, one may be further detained for a period of two years each, to be approved by the Minister of Home Affairs, thus permitting indefinite detention without trial. In 1989, the powers of the Minister under the legislation was made immune to judicial review by virtue of amendments to the Act, only allowing the courts to examine and review technical matters pertaining to the ISA arrest.

  19. #19 by boh-liao on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 3:24 pm

    sean wrote: “Is the action of our Internal security Minister cum PM did was unlawful?”

    In Malaysia truly “pao ka liao”, there is no distinction between the judiciary and executive. The latter is supreme and decides what’s legal and what’s not legal.

    Every Malaysian should visit and view the following site to have a real picture of who has a say in how our country is run (at least in a certain area):
    Lingam Video Clip – Full & Transcript…..

    We have been screwed since Dr M’s time. It’s pathetic to see that the so-called wise people at the top have no conscience and principle, are just concerned over titles like Dato Sri, Tan Sri, and Tun, and claimed to do things for the good of the nation!

  20. #20 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 3:26 pm

    Sec. 73(3) reads:

    Any person arrested under this section “may be detained” for a period “not exceeding” sixty days without any order of detention having been made in respect of him under Sec. 8.

    So it looks they may detain him for one day and be satisfied! So no abuse of process after all.

  21. #21 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 3:30 pm

    “After 60 days, one may be further detained for a period of two years …” chuchueey

    It does not have to be “after” 60 days! Sec 73(3) only says “may be detained” for a “period not exceeding 60 days” without any order of detention.

  22. #22 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 3:39 pm

    Chuchueey, what can foreign governments do directly? The answer is in the question – because they are foreign governments and they would be interfering in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state if they do. They may only appeal to the good conscience of foreign leaders to do what is fair. Beyond that what can they do? Impose economic sanctions? The idea is as preposterous as it sounds.

    Other countries have their equivalent of the Internal Security Act. So would they not be applying double standards?

  23. #23 by whitecoffee on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 6:44 pm

    simple simon,
    it is very sad that a lot of businessmen are BLINDED by money. Please don’t expect compensation from anyone. What if the city is flooded after a heavy downpour, and customers cannot patronise your premises? Would you ask GOD to pay ??? Today, you can still conduct your businesses. If you do not look further, that one day will come and you and your children won’t even be standing around.

  24. #24 by on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 8:23 pm

    With respect to the various rallies, to me, it is obvious that any traffic jams and any loss of businesses are due solely to the government NOT doing their job intelligently.


    In the smarter first world countries, the authorities would work together with the applicants before the Rally Day. They would plan out the routes to minimize traffic jams and ensure greatest possible public safety.

    Authorities, police, etc. would be stationed at the pre-agreed routes. The applicants would also need to have their own people to coorperate with the authorities to ensure peaceful march. This way, you don’t need 4,000 Police stationed across the entire KL, but fewer. It will be more efficient use of public resources, saving a lot of tax-payers monies. The savings means that more Police resources can be used to fight the real crimes elsewhere.

    Also, it will have MINIMUM traffic jam disruptions. Usually, secondary routes will be chosen, whilst primary routes taken … unlike recent BERSIH rally.

    By working together, it reduces the probability of having to use Tear Gas, Chemically laced water, and other violence on the innocent public who only wants a peaceful march to voice their views. This not only makes it safe, but is also another benefit from more efficient use of resources.

    And once the views are voiced, everyone disperses and that’s the end of it. Nobody needs to get hurt. Newspapers need not lie. And most businesses should not be affected at all.

    So, I submit to you – who is the silly one to decide not to grant the permit, and to have caused all this trouble to everybody? To me, it’s obvious. It’s the government who first decided not to grant the permit. If Rakyat’s voice is not heeded, they have the right to rally – this is a fundamental right of democracy. Not only has the government unnecessarily escalated the problem, but with subsequent use of ISA, media coverups, brainwashing, etc, has clearly chosen to be totally irresponsible with Rakyat’s monies.

    Do you want to continue to have an irresponsible government to govern us for the next 5 years and forever?

    I know I don’t want the current government for sure.

    Old Observer.

  25. #25 by naked taliban on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 9:42 pm

    Fully support your comments, old observer.

  26. #26 by DarkHorse on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 10:38 pm

    “So, I submit to you – who is the silly one to decide not to grant the permit, and to have caused all this trouble to everybody? To me, it’s obvious. It’s the government….” OLD OBSERVER

    It is not about a government that does not know, or about a government run by nincompoops or the police being lazy and not wanting to do the job they are paid to do, when they refuse that police permit. What is intended to be an issue over public order (after all the relevant law is passed as part of the Police Act of 1967) is being used instead as a weapon to deny public dissent to government policies. That cannot be the intent of Parliament.

    It is never in doubt that this government has for years been refusing to play by the rules. So they use the law already on the books to suppress public dissent and political opposition and if necessary pass new laws to add to their tool box.

    THe ISA is a most convenient tool for them. What better law can they have if not a law which allows them to detain anybody they “feel is a threat to national security”. The ISA has been around for four decades and yet no ‘cavalier’ or ‘renegade’ judge or ‘loose cannons’ among them, has been able to effectively limit the width of executive power that those words allow, not since ‘judicial review’ was withdrawn.

    Let’s not be naive.

  27. #27 by UzMiNoOnist on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 11:42 pm

    If the NGOs are complaining of losing business during the peaceful demo, then they should also complain the next time roads are blocked off to make way for Merdeka rehersal.

  28. #28 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 16 December 2007 - 11:52 pm

    “”We will never accept this. Have the countries with frequent street demonstrations managed to achieve the prosperity and stability that we enjoy? Most of these countries are mired in conflicts or chaos,” Minister of Information stressed.

    Excuse me, Mr Minister of Mis-information? Have you not heard of the United States of America??

  29. #29 by Edchin on Monday, 17 December 2007 - 12:11 am

    undergrad2, we know you want to point out the perverse logic used by Mr. MinoMis, but it is really wasting your time. The likes of him can’t see it let alone get it in their ‘inside the left there is nothing right and inside the right there is nothing left’ kind of brain.

    It’s best you use your time and effort on more intellectually stimulating matters on this blog.

  30. #30 by undergrad2 on Monday, 17 December 2007 - 12:34 am


    My intention has never been to point out to any of our BN leaders what they know but is wrong or what they do not know and is right. We are dealing with an adversary who knows what they are doing but does it all the same and uses rhetoric to attract the naive among us into believing that they may well have a point.

    Of course our Minister of Mis-information knows of the garbage that he is churning out with every public statement he makes. But that does not stop him as it is part of his job description so to do.

    It is the duty of every Malaysian never to stop ridiculing the guy every chance we get. What do they say about lies when repeated often enough, if not they go on to become the truth?

  31. #32 by ktteokt on Monday, 17 December 2007 - 9:32 am

    If every righteous citizen is arrested under the ISA, there will be no one to vote during the coming GE!

  32. #33 by Plaintruth on Monday, 17 December 2007 - 10:11 am

    Malaysia in the past 30 years has been drifted (Hijacked by UMNOPUTRA) into the path of a Totalitarianism State.

    According to Wikipedia…. Common to all definitions of a Totalitarianism Steate is the attempt to mobilize entire populations in support of the official state ideology, and the intolerance of activities which are not directed towards the goals of the state, entailing repression or state control of business, labour unions, churches or political parties. Totalitarian regimes or movements maintain themselves in political power by means of secret police, propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, personality cults, regulation and restriction of free discussion and criticism, single-party states, the use of mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror tactics.

    While the citizens do not have guns to overthrow this government, we still have the vote. Let’s all of us vote this corrupted UMNOPUTRA out before it is too late.

    HEY… UMNOPUTRA if you have the means to hack into the system. and find my true identity and name and address…. use ISA and come to arrest me. I am willing to sacrify my freedom to bring down the corrupted UMNOPUTRA.

  33. #34 by ktteokt on Monday, 17 December 2007 - 11:55 pm

    Lalang grows everywhere in Malaysia and to carry out Ops Lalang would mean having to run around the whole nation. What a busy time for PDRM!!!!

  34. #35 by ktteokt on Friday, 28 December 2007 - 9:29 am

    I suggest they load the FRU water cannons with PARAQUAT instead!

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