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In the Name of "Internal Security"
By Martin Jalleh

9/5/2001 7:58 pm Wed

[Rencana ini mendedahkan Dollah Badawi bagai menipu tidak tahu menahu penangkapan ISA sedangkan mereka itu dikatakan merancang gerakan militan untuk menumbangkan kerajaan. Sebaliknya Chor pula yang terlebih tahu. Bukankah sikap Dollah ini boleh menggugat keselamatan negara kerana timbalan lebih tahu dari ketua (dan dari kaum Cina pula yang tentunya puak-puak Umno tidak menyukainya kerana pemuda Umno memanjat pagar dulunya)?

Dollah mengatakan polis memerlukan izin menteri untuk menangkap di bawah akta ISA tetapi mengapa beliau berkata tidak tahu sedangkan semua yang ditangkap itu ala ISA belaka (kerana tiada bukti dan disembunyi)

Polis juga berbohong dengan mengatakan mempunyai bukti kukuh tetapi sehingga hari ini (sudah 3 minggu) gagal menampilkannya walaupun mengatakan telah melakukan pengintipan sekian lama. Malah Mahathir sendiri memperakui polis tidak mempunyai bukti.

Aktivis yang ditangkap tidak perlu menggunakan kekerasan untuk menumbangkan kerajaan kerana suara sudah cukup berkesan. BN sudah tumbang di Lunas tanpa sebarang senjata berkeliaran dan kalah teruk di Kelantan dan Terengganu tanpa sebarang kekerasan. Tetapi Umno terbukti menggunakan senjata untuk memusnahkan bukan sahaja lawan di luar tetapi lawan di dalam Umno sendiri. Tragedi Memali dan pembunuhan ngeri pemimpin Umno sendiri adalah bukti dan kesan sejarah yang masih tidak padam sehingga hari ini.

Malah wakil Umno mengganas lagi dengan menumbuk wakil DAP di sidang DUN Selangor tanpa merasa malu diri. Pemilihan perwakilan baru-baru ini menyaksikan adegan bertumbuk dan membaling kerusi. Jika sesama sendiri pun bergaduh apakah Umno boleh diharapkan untuk menjaga negara yang lebih ramai penghuni? - Editor]

In the Name of "Internal Security"

Dr Mahathir Mohamad -- Prime Minister and the supposed Third World champion against globalisation and the West -- leads the country into the new millennium by brandishing his "survival kit" -- a British-made 1960 piece of legislation, redesigned locally to repress and cripple dissent.,

Behind the PM is of course his deputy, the Cabinet, and a host of other politicians who have grown severely "insecure" in recent years, especially in terms of political power and position.

With each passing day, the powers that be, trip over their very own statements and that of each other. Its tough to be consistent when you are not telling the truth. You forget your thread, or your line of twisted thoughts or that which you have to toe.

The events that have transpired, and the Government's response, following the recent ISA arrests, give credence to the public opinion that official explanations given thus far, are mere fiction in daily installments, or "fairy tales" or "fanciful scripts" that would eventually become fabricated evidence in a form of a confession or personal declaration of guilt.

The examples are many.

No knowledge

When news of the arrests of several Keadilan leaders reached reporters in Parliament, Deputy PM Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told them that he was not aware of the arrests. (Imagine, the Home Minister not knowing of the arrest of a group who had allegedly planned a "militant" plot to overthow the government.)

He, however insisted that no way could the seven be arrested under the ISA -- the police needed his stamp of approval first.

The following day, and very obviously, after having discovered that he had not been quite "at home" with the law, the Home Minister declared rather confidently that the ISA laws allow the police to arrest first and inform him later (Star, 11.4.01).

However, the story changed, when, on the very same day, his deputy Zainal Mat Zain, told the press -- "...the police will discuss the matter with the minister first...(and) will make recommendations to detain those people under the ISA, if he agrees to it" (Malaysiakini, 11.4. 01). In other words his boss knew!

Then on 20 April (The Sun), the Home Minister's other deputy Chor Chee Heung declared that his boss "did not know of the detention, and that the police acted within their powers."

It appears that at the Home Ministry, everybody feels at home with each other -- the right hand (man) does know what the left hand (man) is doing (saying) -- and of course, the head leads in the ignorance.

It would be wise if the Home Minister were to put his own "Home" in order before he yarns about internal security of the country.

He should also seek the Prime Minister's advice on the strange and sudden confidence shown by the top gun in the Police in ordering the ISA arrests without even consulting him (the Home Minister)?

Chor's late vehement insistence that the Home Minister "did not know of the detention...", was very obviously an attempt to further convince the public that the ISA arrests were, as described by Norain Mai, "purely a police action" (NST, 21.4.01).

Surely Norain Mai must have received much inspiration, if not direction, from the PM himself who had in early April, quite openly threatened to "break from so-called international norms" to bring "the full force of Malaysian laws" against the Opposition, whom he had wildly accused of inciting racial hatred and colluding with foreigners to topple the Government.

No evidence

On 10 April, the Deputy PM declared that the "police had based their action on concrete evidence (my emphasis) that the detainees had undermined security in the country" (Star, 11.4.01).

A little more than a week later, Chor proclaimed that "police found extensive evidence (my emphasis) implicating the seven people who were held under the Internal Security Act, 1960, in undermining the country's public order."

But to date -- as the first arrests enters into the third week -- not a shred of evidence is produced by the police -- but only unsubstantiated allegations -- reports of "tell-tale signs" that sound like nothing but tall tales.

The situation becomes even more laughable when one considers the fact that, (in the words of Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Norain Mai) "...those involved in the plot had been under surveillance for some time" (NST,12.4.01).

A senior police officer had even revealed that "the Special Branch had been monitoring since 1998 the activities of the group" (Star, 13.4.01). That's two-and-a-half years ago!

When one adds this long duration of police intelligence to the efficiency of the Special Branch -- reputed to be one of the best in the world -- one would expect the police to be spewing out proof -- or at least reports more convincing and "intelligent".

But all Norian Mai has produced thus far are "strategic police information", "police intelligence" reports and even "other secret reasons" -- which necessitate more investigations -- which are "still underway" (NST, 12.4.01)!

How insecure the position of the police!

Further, by linking the ISA detainees with other groups (to prop up their fantastic "facts" and fancies) the police has only created greater internal security problems.

One can understand the concern of Ex-Services Association president Datuk Muhammad Abdul Ghani, who wanted the authorities 'to show solid proof that serving personnel and former soldiers were helping political activists to create chaos" (The Sun, 14.4.01).

He said that "assumptions or allegations of involvement by these people will only tarnish the good image of more than 400,000 former soldiers and tens of thousands more still serving the country."

Evidence that the police has little or no evidence to date is further buttressed by the PM's statement on 13 April (Star) which inferred that they are still looking for proof and they have to go beyond the legal norm to find proof!

It is a layman's understanding that the police would normally collect all necesary evidence to justify an arrest. But we do things quite differently here. The police makes an arrest and then starts looking for evidence.

The PM, who has always made it known that he belives that one is innocent until proven guilty, insists that the ISA is still relvant today, for it gives the police a chance to produce evidence, whereas "normal laws require certain evidence and procdures and proceses.." (Star, 13.4.01) !

In other words, under the ISA, "You are guilty, and will be proven guilty"! An ISA detainee will be provided "evidence" of his/her guilt after 60 days! That's when the nation gets to hear "confessions" that would make any spy or political novelist laugh.

No sense

Many questions still remain and ironies abound, some of which include the following:

  1. The police had portrayed the reformasi movement as being "militant" yet the movement has proven to have a clean slate. To date. no one has been charged in court or arrested for the use of arms (with the exception of a boy found with a toy gun), explosives and definitely not "molotov c##ktails".

  2. As an example of "militant tactics", Norian Mai referred to the threats, and harassment of voters by reformasi activists during the Lunas by- election. If such be the definition then the Barisan Nasional has been just as "militant" in past elections. One sure example is the election in Sungai Siput where gangsters were employed, and till today, no police action taken.

  3. Norian Mai has indicated that the police knew , as early as two-and-a-half years ago, of the alleged conspiracy to overthrow the government by force of arms. Why wasn't action taken much earlier, if such a threat was real and serious?

  4. The Star had a 40-paragraph interview with Hugh Hickling, the drafter of the ISA, in its 22 April issue. There was only one paragraph that indicated that Hickling thinks there is still a need for the ISA. Most of it consisted of his reservations on the ISA being used today. Yet the article was entitled: "ISA still relevant to Malaysia"! Apparently, for the Star, an arguement in a paragraph out of 40, makes a headline.

The Government's credibility continue to crumble. People are suspicious and skeptical of, and automatically-sedated by, the Government's strenuous (and at times silly) explanations and announcements. They no longer take the Government seriously.

By using the ISA, the Government has in fact "launched" the reformasi movement in a big way. They definitely do not need rocket launchers.

The prisoner in Sungai Buloh sits and bids his time. The prisoner in Putrajaya grows agiitated and becomes more and more "imprisoned" by his own "insecurities".

Martin Jalleh, 2 May 2001