The police should not have acted so brutally against a peaceful demonstration for a good cause to abolish the ISA which has stifled the growth of this nation for almost 50 years. The police brutality must be condemned strongly by all peace loving Malaysians.
Today the RAKYAT have spoken — and spoken out loud and clear — against the Internal Security Act (ISA). It makes no difference whether it was a gathering of 10,000, 20,000 or 100,000. The rakyat today want the draconian ISA ABOLISHED — NOT REVIEWED. Under the ISA, the police/government has the power to detain anyone indefinitely without trial. In a democratic society, no one can conscientiously support the ISA in whatever form, as it violates all the basic principles of human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Right (UDHR).
As a former ISA detainee myself, I know of the cruel, degrading and inhuman treatments that detainees had to go through.
Even the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) had made the following finding in relation to detainees detained under section 73 of the ISA:
“… there appears to be sufficient evidence to justify a finding of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of some of the detainees who testified before the Inquiry Panel. Slapping of detainees, forcible stripping of detainees for non-medical purposes, intimidation, night interrogations, and deprivation of awareness of place and the passage of time, would certainly fall within the ambit of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, by virtue of the need to interpret this term so as to extend the widest possible protection to persons in detention.”
Moreover, Article 5 of the UDHR provides for the right of a person not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Now let’s briefly look into the inception of the ISA.
Why was the ISA enacted in the first place?
We have to look back at the nation’s history to know why the ISA was enacted. In 1948 the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) made a declaration to wrest power through armed struggle. It was only 12 years later that the BN Government declared a state of Emergency on 31 July 1960.
On 21 June 1960 when the then Deputy PM, the late Tun Razak, was tabling the Bill of ISA he explained to Parliament as follows:
“The Hon’ble Prime Minister and other members of Government, including myself, have made it quite clear on a number of occasions that, because the Emergency is to be declared at an end, the Government does not intend to relax its vigilance against the evil enemy who still remains as a threat on our border and who is now attempting by subversion to succeed where he has failed by force of arms. It is for this reason that this Bill is before the House. It has two main aims: firstly to counter subversion throughout the country and, secondly, to enable the necessary measures to be taken on the border area to counter terrorism.” (The emphasis is mine.)
From the said speech, it was crystal clear that the ISA was meant to counter subversion and terrorism. In 1989, the CPM had denounced their armed struggle in Malaysia and had signed a peace treaty with the Malaysian government. Despite the signing of the said peace treaty, the ISA remains in full force until this very day.
Sufficient laws to counter subversion and acts of terrorism
It is clear that the ISA had and has been abused by the government/police to arrest and detain opposition politicians for political activities and other reasons which include alleged falsifying of official documents like passports, criminal offences, religious activities and etc. There is really no need to invoke the ISA. These criminal activities could have been easily dealt with under the existing laws like the Anti-Money Laundering Act, Seditious Act, Penal Code and others.
The specific provisions under Sections 121, 121A, 121B, 121C, 125 and 125C of the Penal Code are more than adequate to counter any terrorism-related offences.
Let’s look at two definitions here which will clearly demonstrate why the draconian ISA is absolutely unnecessary when our current laws and statues are already sufficient to deal with any such ISA-able related offences.
A “TERRORIST ” is any person who:
- Commits, or attempt to commit any terrorist act; or
- Participates in or facilitates the commission of any terrorist act;
A “TERRORIST ACT” is an act or threat of action within or beyond Malaysia that:
- Involves in serious bodily injury to a person;
- Involves in serious damage to property;
- Endangers a person’s life;
- Creates a serious risk to the health or the safety of the public or section of the public;
- Involves use of firearms, explosives or other lethal devices;
- Is designed and intended to disrupt, or seriously interfere, any computer system or the provision of any services directly related to communications inftastructures, banking or financial services, utilities, transportation or other essential infrastructures;
- Is designed and intended to disrupt or seriously interfere with any computer system or the provision of any services directly related to communications infrastructure, banking or financial services, utilities, transportation or other essential infrastructure;
- Involves prejudice to national security or public safety.
It’s plain ain’t it that these provisions above are amply sufficient to counter all the subversion/terrorism threats that may be carried out in the country?
Therefore, it is incumbent on the government to immediately abolish the ISA in order to give meaning to the slogan “People First,” otherwise it will be just mere ‘cakap tak serupa bikin!’