December 13, 2007
ISA in Malaysia
As I walked across the luxurious corridors in KL Convention Centre overlooking the KLCC Park, it was difficult to even imagine that this was the exact same city in which numerous arrests have been taking place over the last couple of days, culminating in today’s five arrests under the ISA (Internal Security Act).
Five lawyers have been arrested in association with HINDRAF (Hindu Rights Action Force) that conducted a massive rally calling on the Government to recognise the increasing marginalisation of the Indians in Malaysia. ISA detainees will be held under preventive detention for a minimum of 2 years without trial. Under the ISA, detainees are denied their right to trial, right to legal counsel, the right to defend oneself in open court and the right to be innocent until proven guilty.
It is impossible to now reconcile the image of an advanced nation well on its way to developed status with the one that is unfolding before my very eyes. Many of us Malaysians are in an utter state of disbelief at the manner in which the authorities are reacting. Is this the Government that we elected into position just three years ago? Is this the best way to handle already fragile inter-ethnic emotions?
Prime Minister Pak Lah has given an ultimatum, that whoever takes to the streets this way are not loyal nor do they love the country. He keeps on harping on the fact that “this is not our culture”, without properly addressing the root issue and cause. Without really investigating into the contents of the various memoranda being handed in to respective institutions (British High Commission, Parliament, the Agong, Prime Minister’s Department), he’s decided to merely refer to the manner in which the demonstrations have been conducted. What frustrates me most is the fact that every person out there on the streets recently, are there precisely because they love their country and cannot stand to see their homeland go down in flames this way.
Could they not have received the memoranda with grace and dignity, stating that they would be happy to work with the respective organisations presenting them? Could they not have granted the walks with appropriate parameters about which areas were allowed and which were not? Could they not have answered politely instead of dishing out violence against the people?
Watch the videoclips. Look at this one. Were they acting violently?
If we haven’t already woken up, this is the time.
The news on TV1 was crazily biased. Words like “keganasan” and “anak juga ditipu” were blazed across the screen whilst showing clips from the various rallies. Did they show pictures of Tian Chua’s car being burnt to bits?
What a day of darkness for us. We must have communities to converse with, lest we individually reduce ourselves to naught amidst these exciting yet gloomy times.
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