Guan Eng: BN apology needed for ISA closure

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 16, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — Lim Guan Eng today pushed the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) to issue a public apology to all “victims of the ISA (Internal Security Act)”, insisting that this was the only way to prove the government’s sincerity in repealing the controversial preventive law.

Lim, who was himself an ISA detainee during Operasi Lalang in 1987, told the Dewan Rakyat today that so long as BN refuses to apologise, its proposed repeal of the Act would be merely be a “evil ploy” to continue wielding the law’s powers under a different guise and form.

The DAP secretary-general noted that many provisions in the Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill still infringe basic human rights although the element of “detention without trial” is scrapped.

“Is BN ready to openly apologise to all victims of the ISA?

“As long as it refuses to do so to seek closure, it raises doubt that abolishing the ISA today is merely a game and an evil ploy to continue using the Act but in a different guise and form,” he told the House when debating the Bill.

“This black mark of the ISA in our history must be buried forever and this cannot be done if the government does not apologise and guarantee that such iron-fisted laws like the ISA will not be repeated,” he added.

Lim related to the House his personal experience under the 1960 law that was enacted to fight the communist insurgency, noting that he had only been 26-years old and just elected as the Kota Melaka MP during his 1987 detention.

“Even at this raw age, I was accused of threatening national security… at my age of 52 today, am I not a greater threat then?” he asked.

During his detention, Lim continued, he was interrogated repeatedly and pushed to admit that he was involved in “subversive” activities.

“The 60-day solitary confinement process is difficult to endure because our lives are placed in the hands of just a few police officers who could do whatever they want with me,” he said.

“I was placed in a small blue room without mirrors and a fan that did not move.

“I was not allowed to sleep for more than 24 hours and made to sit on a bench. A police officer would shout in my ear every time I [was] about to fall asleep, forcing me to repent,” he related.

“But I was among the lucky ones because I was not beaten violently like what was done to our Opposition Leader (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) and many others,” he said.

The Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill, proposed to replace the ISA, removes the government’s power to detain a person indefinitely without trial and reduces the maximum detention period from two years to 28 days.

The newly-proposed Bill is among the slew of legislative reforms mooted by the Najib administration as a part of its promise to increase civil freedom.

Joining his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partners in opposing certain provisions in the Bill, Lim pointed out today that the police are still accorded arbitrary powers to arrest a person for up to 28 days based on mere suspicion that he or she had committed a security offence.

This, he said, infringes upon a person’s rights under the Federal Constitution.

“If any person can be detained for 28 days without being brought before a magistrate, where is the guarantee that this person would not be tortured by the police during this period?

“And who can endure torture for 28 days? Why is the government and police so afraid to bring this person before a magistrate?” he said.

Lim also pointed to another provision in the Bill that allows for a public prosecutor, through an oral application to court, to keep an accused under remand for the full term of his or her trial, until all avenues of appeal are exhausted.

“Elements of the ISA still exist in this Bill,” he said.

“By continuing to instil fear amongst the people, there is false liberty or no liberty at all, but BN continues to exercise tyranny over Malaysians.”

Debate on the Bill continues tomorrow.

  1. #1 by Kampong Orang on Monday, 16 April 2012 - 8:06 pm

    The more important issues and problems hid by them are corruption and judiciary independence.

    Look at the High Court handle the Mongolian mother murder case and the 2 submarine bought by Najib who was the defence minster at that time.

    Look at Beng Hock and the state of Anti Corruption Commission presently?

    Look at those corruption done by them like Taib, etc.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Monday, 16 April 2012 - 8:45 pm

    Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh went a step further than Guan Eng. He demanded that the government free those currently detained under the ISA or haul them to court to give them a fair hearing. He said the ISA detention camp must be shut down and all ISA victims must be paid fair compensation for the suffering they and their families were put through.

    I think Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh’s demands are fair and rational.

  3. #3 by tak tahan on Monday, 16 April 2012 - 9:36 pm

    One step at a time mah.If those rascals are not willing or will not apologise publicly even without any action or fine imposed on them,how on earth could we expect them to compensate others?Ok la..whatever it is,just vote BN out and solve all of our headache once and for all.ABU!

  4. #4 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 16 April 2012 - 10:46 pm

    LGE, u know what Najib will say: don’t talk too much. If BN wins, u can still be detained under new Security Act if Najib has his way with the courts. U know that u-help-me-i-help-u Najib can do anything he wants with any branch of govement if BN wins.

    So LGE, for yr own good, for d good of yr dad and for the good of yr sons and daughters and for all malaysians, make sure BN is buried in the 2012/13, 13th GE landslide.

  5. #5 by GodIsWatching on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 - 1:14 am

    Unless one has experienced his or her liberty being brutally robbed and stripped away in the pursuit of defending just causes, It will be almost impossible to comprehend the depth of sacrifice that had to take place in the victim’s life and the lives of loved ones. What irony we see today when those who are clearly guilty of wrongdoing are conveniently kept away from going behind bars yet at the same time, all eyes are upon any slightest hint of dissent and voice call to oppose corruption and abuses of powers

    It is time to get it right. People who do wrong deserve to go to jail and those who have been political detainees should offer to draft greater laws to ensure the bad, the corrupted and the ugly make their beeline to having their own liberty taken away..

  6. #6 by k1980 on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 - 2:15 am

    Why wasn’t the 330 acres of Kelab Golf Negara Subang (KGNS) land also sold at RM240 per sq feet, as was the case with Penang’s Bayan Mutiara?

  7. #7 by undertaker888 on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 - 6:19 am

    Only monkeys introduce laws of the jungle.. The regime says the rakyat is finally mature and do not need ISA anymore. We immature? For crying out loud, these thieves surely care for our welfare.

  8. #8 by Albert Choong on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 - 12:45 pm

    UMNO baru could threaten us , free and true Malaysians with the many old and new enacted security laws, but our minds could never be shackled in this i-knowledge world.

  9. #9 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 - 4:55 pm

    I think a lot of people don’t get it the real purpose of changing ISA to Security Offences Act. The truth is its about changing the label without making real fundamental change. It was always the intention because that is how Najib think – if you can’t make real substance, make it look good at least. If even just a small percentage of people get taken in, blunt their hatred for the foul smell the word ‘isa’ has created over the years, its still worth the effort. This is how civil servants work – even if no substance, make the paperwork look good so that they can get paid…

    What PR should call the new law is ‘Rebadged ISA’.. Its not the same but it the chasis is basically the same..

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