Archive for category ISA

30th Anniversary of Ops Lalang mass arrests – call on Malaysians to unite to save democracy, the rule of law, human rights and to eradicate corruption and kleptocracy

Today marks the 30th anniversary of Operation Lalang which brought about the darkest days for democracy and human rights.

There was not only the arrest of 106 Malaysians, including opposition leaders – 16 of whom were from the DAP, including MPs and State Assemblymen – trade unionists, social activists, environmentalists, Chinese educationists and religious workers, there was also the wholesale attacks on press freedom with the closure of three newspapers, the assault on the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law and the series of undemocratic legislation which caused a tectonic shift in the Malaysian political landscape, subordinating the legislative and judicial branches to the Executive.

Operation Lalang in 1987 brought the fragile plant of Malaysian democracy to the brink of ruin and disaster. Read the rest of this entry »


Former ISA guard: LKS is not anti-malay

By Martin Jalleh



Mahathir should apologise to all the 108 Operation Lalang detainees under the ISA as he could not shirk responsibility for the dragnet especially as he was Home Minister at the time

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was reported in the media as denying that he was responsible for the infamous Operation Lalang in 1987 where 108 persons were detained under the draconian detention-without-trial Internal Security Act for him to consolidate political control and power in government, Umno and Barisan Nasional.

Nanyang Siang Pau today even quoted Mahathir as disclaiming that he was Home Minister at the time of Operation Lalang, claiming that at the time he was in China and the Home Minister was one ‘Musa”.

Mahathir was talking rubbish. He is not only guilty of selective amnesia when it suits him, as when he told the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Videotape scandal that he could not remember anything about the incidents related to the scandal of the fixing of judicial appointments, he has now shown that he is capable of telling downright lies to disclaim responsibility for the human rights violations perpetrated during his time as Prime Minister and Home Minister.

Mahathir can tell lies without batting an eyelid about the history of his premiership but he cannot change history at his whims and fancies. It is indisputable that Mahathir was the Home Minister during the Operation Lalang crackdown in 1987 and there was no ‘Musa” at the time acting as Home Minister. Read the rest of this entry »


Ops Lalang

By Martin Jalleh


The lust for power sustained through the ISA

by P Ramakrishnan
27 October 2012

Twenty five years ago, Malaysia witnessed what one person could do to sustain his lust for power. His unabated lust for power unleashed the worst traits in the Barisan Nasional to imprison 106 innocent Malaysians to keep the BN in power.

The man behind this dark episode in our history was none other than Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

On 27 October 1987 the rule of law was discarded, natural justice was ignored, the role of the judiciary was overridden, parliamentary democracy was sidelined so that he could cling on to power at all costs and by all means.

As Prime Minister, Home Minister and Justice Minister, Mahathir rode roughshod so that his position would remain safe and sound and that there would be no one to challenge him.

Today, more than ever, we must remember this shameful part of our history and wonder whether this will be repeated when the results of the 13th general election are announced. Read the rest of this entry »


The good news… and the bad

Rom Nain
Oct 8, 2012

After a couple of weeks or so of unrelenting inanity, enough to make me wax lyrical (well, almost) in this column, I thought of writing something nice, inoffensive, light-hearted even, this week.

After all, two Malaysian court decisions this past week certainly gave many of us reason to cheer.

The judgment for the five ex-ISA detainees in the illegal detention suit they brought against the regime, for one, must have been the perfect pick-me-up for many of us.

The KL High Court found that the five had been detained unlawfully and in bad faith in 2001 and reportedly awarded them ‘RM15,000 each, for every day of their detention under Section 73 of the Internal Security Act, as well as RM30,000 each as aggravated damages’.

Altogether, in the Oct 2 judgment, five former ISA detainess, then Reformasi activists, including the irrepressible Hishamuddin Rais (left), PAS’ Hulu Selangor assemblyperson Saari Sungib and PKR’s Batu MP Chua Tian Chang, better known as Tian Chua, were awarded a total of RM4 million. Read the rest of this entry »


Smoke and Mirrors: Malaysia’s “New” Internal Security Act

By Mickey Spiegel
Senior Advisor with the Asia Division at Human Rights Watch
East-West Center


“Critics also noted that the bill, coupled with amendments to other laws, tightened restrictions or banned outright activities already under constraint, added limits to previously unrestricted activities, and broadened police apprehension and surveillance powers in new and innovative ways.”

When Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced last September that the country’s infamous Internal Security Act (ISA) would be repealed, he referred to tensions “between national security and personal freedom,” and promised that new “legislation formulated will take into consideration fundamental rights and freedoms.” Fast forward seven months to this April when Parliament’s Lower House, followed in short order by the Upper House, passed ISA’s replacement, the Security Offences (Special Measures) 2012 Act (SOSMA).

Unfortunately, this new bill does not go far enough to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of Malaysians. While this bill is not yet the law of the land, all that remains is for the king, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, to assent and for the text to appear in the Federal Gazette with the date it will take effect.

A far better plan would be for Malaysia’s policymakers to immediately scuttle this first attempt at replacing the ISA and seriously rethink what it means to protect national security concerns while simultaneously protecting the democratic rights and freedoms of all Malaysia’s people. There may yet be hope if influential allies of Malaysia, including the United States, publicly raise their concerns. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib’s sweeping reforms: Winds of change or hot air?

— Justina Chen
The Malaysian Insider
May 29, 2012

MAY 29 — Since Malaysia Day last September, the administration of Prime Minister Najib Razak has undertaken a whirlwind of legislative and policy reforms, making Mr Najib arguably the most reformist Malaysian prime minister ever.

Political pundits remark that the rushed reforms which were undertaken without consultation with key stakeholders are a sign that a general election is imminent, perhaps to be held in less than two months.

Over the course of the last six months there have been a record number of legislative reforms including: repeal of the infamous Internal Security Act; amendments to the University and University Colleges Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act; announcement of a minimum wage policy as well as the passing of the Security Offences Bill and Peaceful Assembly Act.

Despite the current air of optimism, the sincerity of the government to effectively implement lasting reform has repeatedly been called into question. Government critics cite the lack of consultation and the short time frame within which legislative reform has taken place as evidence that the reforms are merely political ploys designed solely to gain traction with voters. Read the rest of this entry »


Lim Teck Ghee responds to Chandra Muzaffar’s refusal to engage on the Net and his threat

by Dr Lim Teck Ghee
09 May 2012

In my note to Chandra on May 6 which he acknowledged, and which was sent well before this latest rebuttal, I had written:

“I hope we can have a sustained discussion on the important subject that you have identified. I don’t think a one-off debate is a good way to have that discussion. I know politicians and their supporters love it but we are not politicians.”

Chandra’s latest reply continues to insist on a one-off debate and argues that a prolonged discourse in lieu of a debate will “generate more heat than light”.

I disagree. So do the great majority of online commentators that have followed our exchange. Despite attempts by cybertroopers to disrupt feedback, many readers have encouraged us to engage over the Net that is an open and unfettered public space in which they can also contribute their say.

If I had thought that the scholar rather than the ex-politician in Chandra would prevail, I was mistaken. Read the rest of this entry »


“428” Bersih 3.0 acid test of Najib’s “political transformation” to make Malaysia “best democracy in the world” – start with immediate revocation of government ban on Bersih

The April 28 Bersih 3.0 peaceful “Duduk Bantah” rally at Dataran Merdeka for clean, free and fair elections is an acid test of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “political transformation” to make Malaysia, in his own words, “the best democracy in the world”.

In the past seven months, the Najib government had been trying to undo the damage caused by the disastrous government mishandling of the 709 Bersih 2.0 peaceful rally for free and fair elections, which saw an arrogant, ham-fisted, high-handed and mindless repression and clampdown such as the government ban on Bersih, unjustified PSM arrests under Emergency Ordinance, arbitrary arrests for wearing Bersih 2.0 T-shirts or just wearing yellow.

In his Malaysia Day message on Sept. 16 last year, Najib promised a “political transformation” with a slew of reform of undemocratic and draconian laws like the repeal of the Internal Security Act and the revocation of the four Emergency Proclamations.

At that time, I had specifically asked: “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?”

This is what have come to pass in the past seven months. Read the rest of this entry »


The death of civil liberties

by Malik Imtiaz Sarwar

Though the Government has said much about the repeal of the infamous Internal Security Act, little has been said to explain how its so-called replacement, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill (SOA), will impact on our lives. Even less has been said about the bill tabled to amend the Penal Code that went hand in hand with the SOA. I think there was a reason for this.

To say that the two bills are draconian would be a gross understatement. They brutally curtail the constitutional freedom of Malaysians to dissent. It seems that we have been made the victims of a sleight of hand. While we were being distracted by the song and dance that attended the termination of the ISA, Parliament was being harnessed to diabolical purpose. The passing of the two bills has sounded the death knell of civil liberties.

I am not given to hyperbole. The facts speak for themselves. Read the rest of this entry »


Ambiga: ‘Whirlwind’ of law reforms pointless without clean polls

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 21, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — The sudden “whirlwind” of legislative reforms to the country’s restrictive laws has left Malaysians both elated and disappointed in the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government ahead of the 13th general election, Bersih co-chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan has said.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his team may have earned plus points for daring to slacken the government’s leash over civil freedom, a historical point in Malaysian politics, but the prime minister’s failed attempt at electoral reform had hurtled him back to square one, she said.

The vocal civil society leader added that although crucial restrictive legal provisions were removed in recent months, they were forced down the throats of Malaysians in a rushed manner, drawing suspicion over the government’s true motive for reform.

“To me, the speed at which new laws and amendments were suddenly being pushed through Parliament, without consideration at all for consultation and opposition viewpoints, I think, reeks of suspicion.

“All it shows is that the elections are close,” Ambiga told The Malaysian Insider recently.

“We are in a bit of a whirlwind, really, with these legislations being passed through in such a rushed manner.

“Some people say it’s a good thing… but to many, you (the government) are only doing this because of the elections.

“This how it would just enforce the insincerity of the government,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »


Is the Security Offences Bill constitutional?

— Tommy Thomas
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 21, 2012
APRIL 21— Congratulations to Prime Minister Najib Razak who has single-handedly taken the necessary action to repeal the dreaded Internal Security Act, 1960 (“ISA”) : Clause 32 (1) of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill 2012 expressly says so. It is fitting that 52 years after his late father, Tun Razak, moved the ISA Bill in Parliament, he goes into the history books as the leader who piloted its abolition. His achievement is all the greater because his zeal to make Malaysia a freer country does not seem to be shared by his Cabinet — which has been conspicuously silent — or by law enforcement agencies like the Attorney-General, Police and other bureaucracies.

The abolition of the ISA must be seen against the background of the revocation in October 2011 of the 4 Emergencies which have scarred the national psyche for nearly the entire duration of Malaysia’s nationhood since Merdeka. The result is much greater space and freedom for our people, and is welcome. Read the rest of this entry »


Suhakam joins call for review of ISA replacement law

By Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 16, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — The newly-proposed security law to replace the Internal Security Act (ISA) must be reviewed to ensure it is in line with human rights principles, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said today.

Suhakam highlighted that the Bill did not provide for judicial oversight in the extension of the detention period for up to 28 days, and expressed concerns over how it gave police the power to deny detainees immediate access to legal representation.

It added that the power to intercept communications under Clause 4(6) should be exercised through a court order rather than by the police, as it could “infringe personal liberty and the right to privacy”.

“The provisions in the Bill as well as the amendments to the other relevant laws must strike a balance between national security and fundamental liberties and human rights,” Suhakam Chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said in a statement today.

“The Commission looks forward to further and continuing engagements with the government agencies… to ensure that obsolete and irrelevant laws are abolished and replaced by laws that are consistent with universally accepted human rights principles,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »


What a load of rubbish

— Lucius Goon
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 16, 2012

APRIL 16 — This is what we learnt today. We learnt that Najib Razak is in his element when making promises. He will sound like a true believer when you give him the floor, as they did in Parliament today.

He promised “more reforms”. I love it that he assumes that his replacement laws are reforms and that Idris Jala’s sleight of hand EPP, ETP and GTP qualify as real change.

He will do away with the Publishing and Printing Presses Act and amend the Sedition Act, he said, but left out a time frame. This is a superb tactic given that it is likely this is the last Parliament session before the polls!

Najib is a prime minister who will say anything and pretend to do something to win our votes. He said today that the era of the “government knows best” is over. Are you sure? Read the rest of this entry »


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. Read the rest of this entry »


Pemansuhan ISA Tidak Bermakna Kerana Kuasa Tahanan Luasnya Digantikan Dengan 3 Rang Undang-undang

(Ucapan Setiausaha Agung DAP Dan Ahli Parlimen Kawasan Bagan Lim Guan Eng Di Parlimen Semasa Membahas Rang Undang-undang Kesalahan Keselamatan (Langkah-langkah Khas) 2012 Di Dewan Rakyat Pada 16 April 2012)

Dengan pemansuhan Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) maka berakhirlah satu era penindasan rakyat oleh Kerajaan BN. Berakhirlah satu sejarah hitam buat negara kita, di mana sepanjang 52 tahun pelaksanaan ISA dijangka lebih 10,000 orang mangsa telah ditahan tanpa bicara di bawah akta tersebut.

Tetapi adakah kita rakyat harus rasa gembira?

Saya rasa ini bukannya masa untuk diraikan kegembiraan dengan membaca Al-Fatihah kepada ISA kerana ia masih belum benar-benar meninggalkan tanah air Malaysia. Di samping itu keengganan kerajaan BN mengambil tanggungjawab ke atas kezaliman yang diperlakukan ke atas mangsa-mangsa ISA dengan meminta maaf secara terbuka atas tahanan tanpa bicara yang melanggari segala asas perikemanusiaan serta lunas undang-undang hak asasi manusia dan due proses.

Setengah mangsa yang tidak bersalah mahupun berdosa terdiri daripada Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Menteri-menteri, ketua pembangkang aktivis sosial dan rakyat biasa. Apakah kesalahan sehingga boleh memudaratkan keselamatan negara selain daripada menentang pemimpin BN yang rasuah dan menggugat monopoli kuasa rakus BN daripada terus menindas rakyat.

Apakah kesalahan Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, Mat Sabu yang selalu ini menegakkan kedaulatan undang-undang dan sistem perlembagaan beraja sehingga perlu merengkok dalam tahanan di bawah ISA tanpa bicara dan dituduh melakukan kesalahan dengan sewenang-wenangnya tanpa bukti langsung. Malah mereka yang buat tuduhan palsu bukan sahaja tidak dikenakan tindakan sebaliknya dinaik pangkat dan diangkat ke jawatan yang tinggi. Read the rest of this entry »

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Repeal of ISA a hollow victory

T Vicknaraj | Apr 12, 2012

The ambiance in Malaysia in April 2012 is both celebratory and festive due to the recent policy changes pertaining to Malaysian’s civil and political rights; and yet there is a strong sense of scepticism and mistrust at the ground level among the civil society movements, opposition politicians and the general population.

The general population’s feeling denotes a strong awareness that that this year possesses a crucial landmark in our nation’s history, as the concepts of participatory and parliamentary democracy are being negotiated and boundaries of civil and political rights are being rebranded, redesigned and rehashed in light of the impending general elections rumoured to be held in June 2012.

The stakeholders who are active in this negotiation for democracy are the political parties from both side of the divide, the ever growing civil society movements like Bersih, NGOs and the young adult population (gen X and Y), all of whom have a crucial say on how this political drama unfolds.

This mixed feelings and confused euphoria is justified. Read the rest of this entry »


ISA removed but sword of Damocles remains

— Kim Quek
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 12, 2012

APRIL 12 — Many Malaysians may be pleased with the removal of the much-condemned Internal Security Act (ISA), but the sword of Damocles that hangs over the heads of opponents of ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) stays intact.

This is due to the embedment of two key elements in the newly-introduced Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill that will in reality allow arbitrary detention for many years.

These elements are the broad and vague definition of offences that fall under this Bill, and the loophole that will allow prolong and lengthy detention through exploitation of the judicial process. Read the rest of this entry »


Repeal of pernicious and draconian ISA long overdue but new replacement of security laws raise grave concerns about human rights abuses

The tabling of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill 2012 to repeal the 52-year Internal Security Act which vests pernicious, draconian and undemocratic detention-without-trial powers on the Executive which could be extended every two years is welcome as it is long overdue.

This is the victory of the decades-long struggle for democracy and human rights which have been waged by patriotic Malaysians cutting across race and religion, many paying a heavy price in terms of personal liberties – culminating in the pledge by the Pakatan Rakyat for the repeal of the ISA.

However, the replacement of the slew of new security laws in the four bills presented to Parliament, namely the Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill 2012, the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2012, the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012 and the Evidence (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012 raise grave concerns about new human rights abuses which must be met and addressed by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak if Malaysia hopes to approximate to be “the best democracy in the world” – practising “a functional and inclusive democracy where public peace and prosperity is preserved in accordance with the supremacy of the Constitution, rule of law and respect for basic human rights and individual rights”.

The Internal Security Act has stunted the growth of democracy in Malaysia. What is there to guarantee that although the ISA powers of indefinite detention-without-trial is repealed, the new provision limiting detention without charge to 28 days “for purposes of investigation” without judicial review will not be the new bane for democracy and human rights in Malaysia? Read the rest of this entry »