Time to get rid of draconian ISAPosted: September 18, 2008
I read the StarOnline everyday, and I mostly find myself enjoying only the columns. Of the many that they have, I enjoy pieces by A. Asohan, Karim Raslan, Azmi Sharom and Veera Pandiyan.
Today, this piece is by Azmi Sharom, his column ‘Brave New World’. Som excerpts:
ON June 21, 1960, in the Dewan Rakyat, then Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak said: “The Government has no desire whatsoever to hinder healthy democratic opposition in any way. This is a democratic country and the Government intends to maintain it as such. It is the enemies of democracy who will be detained.”
He said this during the debate on the Internal Security Bill and it is reported in the Hansard.
The Bill of course went on to become our infamous Internal Security Act (ISA).
The late former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Ismail Hussein, when confronted with the draconian nature of the Act, admitted that it was so.
However, he also pointed out that the normal workings of a democracy, such as a free press, would keep the Government in check and be a disincentive for them to abuse their powers.
As stated by the father of the current Deputy Prime Minister, it was not meant to stifle democracy. And furthermore, it is the very mechanisms of democracy, such as a free press, that will keep the use of the ISA in check.
In this light, we can see that the powers provided by the ISA have been severely abused over the decades.
In the case of Tan [Hoon Cheng], the justification for her 16-hour detention was so ludicrous and so obtuse, that it beggared belief.
The ISA was not meant to be used as a personal protection device. And pray tell how a 16-hour detention after which the individual was released back into the public sphere can be considered “protection”?
Why on earth is [RPK] being detained? Is he planning some sort of armed rebellion? There is no evidence at all to indicate even the slightest hint of that.
And Kok is being detained because some political opponents have decided to accuse her of offending Islam.
If these accusations are false, and there are indications that they are, then there is a term for this kind of behaviour – fitnah.
I am disgusted by the latest use of the ISA. It is undoubtedly going against the spirit and the intention of the ISA.
The arrest of Raja Petra, Kok and Tan also shows that the law is so open to abuse that we have no other choice but to get rid of it. There can be no room for amendments.
The ISA must go.
Entire article HERE.
For a brave new world, we need brave people like this.