Archive for February 11th, 2011

A blackly comic whodunit

By Kee Thuan Chye | FMT

OPERATION Lalang was a black day in Malaysian history. On Oct 27, 1987, 106 people were detained under the ISA in one fell swoop. Most of them were from opposition parties and NGOs. A few newspapers were suspended. It traumatised Malaysians and made them submit to the culture of fear. Some have yet to recover from it.

Whoever initiated Operation Lalang did a strong disservice to the nation. It was a shameful exercise of power. Whatever the reason or reasons may be for invoking the ISA on that occasion on so many individuals, there is no fair justification for doing so.

Perhaps that is why Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was the prime minister then, has recently come out to say he was not responsible for it. In typical Mahathir fashion – for he is accustomed to blaming others for things he might have done – he blamed it on the police.

In his interview with Tom Plate for the recently published book Doctor M: Operation Malaysia – Conversations with Mahathir Mohamad, he said:
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Mubarak speech pulls plug on Tahrir Square party

(I stayed up to watch Mubarak’s live telecast at about 5 am Malaysian time, expecting to see a peaceful Egyptian Revolution on-the-make but Mubarak’s speech and demeanour filled me with great sadness with the premonition that a tragedy is to befall the great Egyptian people. Kit)

The Malaysian Insider
Feb 11, 2011

CAIRO, Feb 11 — Joy turned to despair and then anger in Cairo’s Tahrir Square yesterday when President Hosni Mubarak’s dashed the hopes of hundreds of thousands of Egyptian protesters demanding his resignation.

The huge crowed squeezed into the square danced, sang, chanted and waved a sea of red, white and black Egyptian flags as a sense of expectation mounted through the afternoon that Mubarak would meet their demands to give up power.

“Tonight he leaves, tonight he leaves,” sang some, their confidence growing steadily through the afternoon as news reports suggested Mubarak would step down.

Rumours were rife. Some said he would leave to Germany, others were confident he would go to the United Arab Emirates.

Protest organisers painted Egyptian flags on the faces of those arriving. Tahrir Square seemed to be hosting a carnival more than a protest. Read the rest of this entry »