Twenty-two years ago, the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, committed a heinous crime by ordering the detention of 106 concerned Malaysians for his self-preservation. He was under extreme political pressure and his response to this challenge was to be high-handed and undemocratic. He resorted to the use of the infamous ISA to smack down the dissidents, social activists and opposition figures.
- Operation Lalang revisited
- Experience of detention without trial
- The BN national security state and the ISA
He was then conveniently rolled into three-in-one: Prime Minister, Home Minister and Justice Minister. As Prime Minister, he was all powerful to do whatever he wanted to; as Home Minister, he resorted to the use of the ISA and signed the detention papers to put away 106 Malaysians without charging them in an open court of law, where they could have exercised their legitimate right to defend themselves; as Justice Minister, he shamefully denied them their natural justice.
This is why 27 October will be a day of shame for this nation and Dr Mahathir will be forever part of that shame. He was the one who perpetrated this unjust act that took away the freedom of Malaysians without a just cause.
Though we justly despised colonial rule, we had no qualms in retaining a colonial law that had imposed and inflicted untold misery on numerous citizens of this country. We gained independence but we retained the undemocratic colonial instruments of oppression that imprisoned the citizens and denied them their inalienable right to freedom
As long as this nefarious law remains in our statute books, the struggle to abolish this law will continue unabated. We know that only with struggle, change will come. Until we achieve that change we crave for, the struggle will continue.
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27 October 2009