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Operation Lalang flashback?

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The arrests of Adam Adli, Tian Chua, Haris Ibrahim and Tamrin Ghafar Baba brings back memories of Operation Lalang in 1987, says Stephen Tan Ban Cheng.

Released! A magistrate today rejected the application by the police for the three to be remanded

The Sedition Act was supposed to be repealed following the promise of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak in July last year.

Yesterday (23 May 2013), or nearly one year on, it was invoked to effect the arrest of Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-chairman Tian Chua, Anything But Umno (Abu) chairman Haris Ibrahim and former Member of Parliament Tamrin Ghafar.

This was the same day when undergraduate student Adam Adli, who was arrested a few days earlier, was arraigned before the Court for offences under the same Act. He was freed on RM5,000 bail posted by his father.

The arrests, coming as they did after what many had termed as “the dirtiest general election” in Malaysia and after our Prime Minister’s promise of a “national reconciliation,” evoke memories of Operation Lalang in October 1987 when more than a hundred Oppositionists were arrested under the Internal Security Act, which allowed detention without trial.

Thinking aloud, I am in all seriousness dedicating these two nursery rhymes I learned in kindergarten at the age of five in 1955, the first one to the administration led by the United Malays National Organisation and the second to our Prime Minister Najib Razak, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Home Minister Zahid Hamidi.

(1) Dedicated to the administration

Where are you going, my pretty maid?
Where are you going, my pretty maid?
Going a-milking, Sir, she said; Sir, she said.
Going a-milking, Sir, she said.

(2) Dedicated to Najib, Muhyiddin and Zahid Hamidi

Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They run after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife.
Did you ever see such a sight in your life?
As three blind mice!

Stephen Tan is a journalist with international experience. He is today a New Zealand-trained lawyer with his small boutique practice in his hometown of Penang.

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