Will repeal of ISA and slew of other legislative changes be completed before next general elections or will they be “work-in-progress” trotted out as BN election “goodies” ?

I had said at the Sabah Pakatan Rakyat convention in Kota Kinabalu last evening that the Pakatan Rakyat has begun to chalk up victories even before the 13th general elections, citing as example the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s announcement to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) which is one of the specific promises made by Pakatan Rakyat in the Buku Jingga manifesto.

This has been quickly rebutted by Najib today who said that no one else but Barisan Nasional should take credit for the repeal of the ISA and the slew of other law reforms which he announced in his Malaysia Day message on Wednesday night.

Najib claimed that “these are not the fruits of their struggle” but was a decision made by the Barisan Nasional government “because we listened to Malaysians who want this change”.

Najib even said the decision to scrap the ISA was part of his promise to amend the controversial law when he took office in 2009.

Not to mention Malaysians at large – but even leaders and members of Barisan Nasional parties would require enormous capacity of self-deception to believe such tall tales.

If Najib’s is to be believed, that the repeal of the ISA and the removal of other draconian laws had been in the works since April 2009 when he became Prime Minister, then Najib’s announcements on Malaysia Day eve should mark the final step in government review and reform of oppressive laws and its readiness to fully implement them when Parliament meets on October 3, tabling all necessary legislative changes for parliamentary sanction.

But is this the case?

Clearly not or the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz would not have said that there was not enough time to repeal the ISA in the October sitting of parliament and that the draft replacement laws would be tabled during the next meeting in March.

This is because the “change of heart” to repeal the ISA and remove other draconian measures is not the result “comprehensive review” of draconian laws in the past 28 months after he became Prime Minister in April 2009, but the result of electoral pressures after the catastrophic loss of public confidence in his leadership, both nationally and internationally, from the disastrous government mishandling of the 709 Bersih 2.0 peaceful rally for free and fair elections in Malaysia.

In fact, if the repeal of the ISA and the removal of other draconian laws in the country had been actively and seriously reviewed and pursued in the highest government and political circles since Najib became Prime Minister in April 2009, the arrogant, ham-fisted, high-handed and mindless repression and clampdown on the Bersih 2.0 campaign such as the unjustified PSM arrests under Emergency Ordinance, ridiculous arrests for wearing Berish 2.0 T-shirts or just wearing yellow, would not have taken place.

Najib has only himself to blame for the skepticism and cynicism about his sincerity, commitment and steadfastness to democratic, electoral and legal reforms because of his own record as PM since April 2009.

All patriotic and right-thinking Malaysians want the ISA and all draconian and repressive laws to be removed from the statute books – but can Najib be trusted to “walk the talk” of his public promises?

Najib must not deride but sincerely address the sea of doubts and questioning about his commitment and resolve to introduce a more open and democratic environment in Malaysia, upholding human rights, a free and responsible press, as well as the principles of accountability, transparency and integrity?

Five questions which demand answer from Najib are:

1. Will the repeal of ISA and slew of other legislative changes be completed before next general elections or will they be “work-in-progress” trotted out as BN election “goodies”?

2. Will the replacements for the repeal or removal of repressive laws and measures result in the reincarnation of these very same draconian features in a new format, e.g. repeal of ISA but enactment of new law which could be described as ISA2?

3. What Najib announced on Wednesday does not satisfy the definition of Political Transformation Programme for Malaysia. Will he support the repeal of all other restrictive and draconian laws including the Universities and University Collegs Act, Sedition Act and the Official Secrets Act.

4. Is Najib prepared to repeal all provisions in the statute books which undermine the doctrine of the separation of powers such as excluding judicial review of executive decisions.

5. Will Najib support a motion in Parliament to ratify international human rights conventions, in particular the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights?

  1. #1 by monsterball on Saturday, 17 September 2011 - 4:58 pm

    Let Najib say whatever he likes.
    He will never admit he is facing defeat and it is People Power he is afraid of…and People Power are solidly behind PR…and PR politicians spoke on behalf of the vast majority Malaysians ..the People Power…and Najib knows that too well.
    Why must he always brag…after behaving humble?
    This shows Najib is never a sincere man at at all.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Saturday, 17 September 2011 - 5:36 pm

    Najib’s popularity rating dropped as a result of mishandling of Bersih 2.0. To prop up his popularity rating he was compelled, against his will, to repeal the ISA. There is no way a non-reformer like Najib will SPONTANEOUSLY repeal all other restrictive and draconian laws including the Universities and University Collegs Act, Sedition Act and the Official Secrets Act, and ratify international human rights conventions.

  3. #3 by monsterball on Saturday, 17 September 2011 - 5:50 pm

    And he said he is acting on behalf of the Rakyat’s desires…and whom may I ask…are BERSIH 2 walkers..Rakyats or traitors?
    When you listen to Najib’s logics…you simply cannot trust him at all….keep twisting.
    He will forever treat PR politicians and their members as traitors…because he keep on defending..what were exposed and who is having the label as their biggest liar…and so many more …PR politicians or him?

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Saturday, 17 September 2011 - 6:48 pm

    Guys don’t confuse “reform” with “remedy”. The repeal of the ISA by Najib is not reform but a desperate remedy to save his sunken popularity. Had Najib repealed the ISA before his popularity sank, then that would have been genuine reform.

  5. #5 by asia on Saturday, 17 September 2011 - 8:04 pm

    How many lie we need to be cheated?

    Promised first, then delay, delay, till after election some people voice reject, reject

    Then say, the ISA still necessary to protect the country…….

    they laugh at how stupid Malaysians are so easy to cheat

  6. #6 by HJ Angus on Saturday, 17 September 2011 - 8:55 pm

    Anything less than a repeal of the ISA and a clean-up of the electoral rolls and the EC BEFORE theGE is NOT acceptable.
    The BN regime has no more grace period for reforms. Promises are not good tender.

  7. #7 by waterfrontcoolie on Saturday, 17 September 2011 - 9:48 pm

    Well, if nothing happens before GE, then we should vote as if the repeal WILL NOT be done! For that matter, our votes should not be affected!

  8. #8 by vsp on Sunday, 18 September 2011 - 12:11 pm

    It’s a gimmick. Just like when the Anti-corruption agency was replaced by the MACC, it was promised that the MACC would be like the Hong Kong Anti-corruption agency where corruption would have zero-tolerance. But what we got was the reality of UMNO’s deceit. The MACC was used to topple the Perak state government, and nearly the Selangor state government. Witnesses that entered the front door of the MACC went flying out of the window. The MACC was never meant to fight corruption but was used to protect the corruptors of the first magnitude in the UMNO government. Even the Opposition was fooled by this obnoxious Greeks gift of the UMNO government.

    The ISA was made into law by the UMNO government in 1960, even though it was introduced by the British to specifically fight the Communist menace. The British never introduced the ISA into the Constitution. This duplicity was done by the UMNO government, not to fight the Communists, but to incarcerate its political opponents. The fact that Najib announced the abolition of the ISA during Malaysia Day is no comfort. No persons still under detention were released to date and that the ISA would be replaced by two MACC’s “bait-and-switch” type of laws, i.e. to strike its opponents by underhanded methods in order to remain in power. The ISA had been the bedrock of UMNO’s political hegemony and only political novices would fail to understand this. Just as UMNO would never abandon the NEP, it would never give up its ISA’s lifeline to political longevity. To fool the unconvinced Najib is now resorting to the “bait-and-switch” stratagem.

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