Archive for April 5th, 2008

March 8 “politic al tsunami” is for change to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance and not for Islamic state or hudud laws

At the joint media conference on April 1 to announce PKR, DAP and PAS decision to take the next logical step to the March 8, 2008 political tsunami with the three parties tentatively agreeing to establish a Pakatan Rakyat (a proposal and term subject to confirmation by the three respective parties), I said that March 8 general election results were a clear and unmistakable message from the people that they want the three parties to work together to bring about changes in the country to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance – and not for an Islamic state or hudud laws.

I was asked by a reporter today whether my statement that the March 8 political tsunami was a demand for change to restore justrice, freedom, democracy and good governance and not for an Islamic state and hudud laws applied only to non-Muslims and non-Malays.

I replied in the negative, as I believe that it is not only the non-Malays and non-Muslims but also the Malays and Muslims who voted solidly on March 8 for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance and not for Islamic state and hudud laws – producing for the first time in 50 years of Malaysian electoral history the national phenomenon of cross-race and cross-religion voting – DAP voters voted for PAS candidates and PAS voters voting for DAP candidates.

Just as it was a great mistake after the 1999 general election to regard its results as a vote for Islamic state and hudud laws (resulting in the DAP leaving the Barisan Alternative in 2001), it will be an equally cardinal error to interpret the March 8, 2008 general election result as a mandate for Islamic state and hudud laws.

It is pertinent to revisit the reasons why DAP had to pull out of Barisan Alternative in 2001. The following is an extract from a statement I made on 30th June 2001, entitled: “BA at crossroads and no more tenable”: Read the rest of this entry »


Shabery Cheek’s admission of ISA abuses – immediate release of Hindraf 5 and Inquiry Commission into 1987 Ops Lalang?

The present Umno Cabinet and leadership have admitted that in the past there had been gross abuses of the Internal Security Act (ISA) against dissent.

In a new series of attacks against former Umno President and Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad by Umno Ministers the new Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said that during Mahathir’s leadership “many were detained under the ISA supposedly because they were a threat to national security when in actual fact they were a threat to his leadership…” in response to Mahathir’s charges that Umno leaders have become “yes-men”.

Shabery Cheek was clearly referring to the Operation Lalang mass ISA detentions in 1987, where 106 people were arrested, representing parliamentarians, politicians, civil/human rights leaders and social/religious activists.

Although a few low-level Umno, MCA and Gerakan political leaders were among the 106 persons detained in the initial crackdown of Operation Lalang in October 1987 – which included the closure of four newspapers – none of them were among the 40 who were formally served with two-year detention orders after the 60-day interrogative custody and dispatched to Kamunting Detention Centre – which included seven serving DAP MPs at the time, viz: Karpal Singh, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, Lim Guan Eng, Lau Dak Kee, the late P. Patto, the late V. David and myself.

Is Shabery Cheek prepared to represent the present Barisan Nasional Cabinet and leadership to admit that the entire 1987 Ops Lalang ISA crackdown, both against the 106 persons initially detained as well as the 40 persons who were formally detained after the 60-day custody, had been a gross abuse of power by Mahathir, his Cabinet and government; extend a formal government apology to the victims of Operation Lalang – not only the ISA detainees and their families and the closure of the four newspapers but also to the country for promoting a “yes-men culture” for some three decades – and establish a commission of inquiry into the 1987 Operation Lalang to ensure that such gross abuses of power could not recur in Malaysia in future. Read the rest of this entry »