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HR: ISA, Sandiwara and Faded Dream
By Harun Rashid

26/6/2001 11:45 am Tue

[Kerajaan dan polisnya sudah terlalu banyak berbohong sehingga mereka terpaksa menggunakan ISA agar tidak terdedah kelentong mereka menuduh bukan-bukan kepada sesiapa. ISA menjadi jalan mudah untuk merencana dan mementaskan keganasan agar satu pihak dapat diaibkan.

Mengapa begitu banyak kejadian pelik berlaku mutakhir ini yang faktanya kerap berubah bila rahsianya dapat dihidu dan diamati? Isu al Maunah dan Nanyang juga menyaksikan perkara seperti ini. Yang peliknya nyawa kaum India seperti tidak dihargai kerana kerap menjadi mangsa sandiwara politik kerajaan. Kaum Melayu pula kerap diaibkan bersama dengan ugama yang mereka anuti agar pihak tertentu dapat diaibkan nanti. Kaum Cina yang sedikit pintar itu mahu diputar minda mereka juga tetapi sanggahan yang jitu oleh mereka telah menempelak Mahathir secara tidak langsung.

Dalam semua sandiwara itu, polis bertopeng memainkan peranan yang dahsyat sehingga sanggup membunuh orang, memalsukan fakta dan mendera saksi agar tidak terbongkar semua temberang. Apabila semua sudah bercelaru, akan datanglah ISA untuk membantu. Walaupun begitu internet sudah merakam semua kecelaruan itu sehingga kerajaan sudah menjadi termalu. Lain kali jangan cuba bersandiwara untuk menipu kerana rakyat tidak sebodoh itu lagi. Lagipun, internet kini hidup dan 'bercakap' sepanjang waktu. - Editor]

ISA, Sandiwara and Faded Dream

by Harun Rashid

Jun 20, 2001

Politics is inspiration for much drama, and the posturing of politicians present many a pastiche to paint a scene to propel and perpetuate a public persona. Though most is only mouth music, in Malaysia the multi-faceted theatrics is made manifest, using muscled actors to re-create in reality colorful political scripts. It is a difficult thing to accomplish well, especially when the curtain is purposefully drawn open, as insider Anwar Ibrahim did.

Success in Malaysian politics depends on the skillful balancing of various interests, which in practice means catering to the Islamic principles of the majority Muslims while constantly reassuring the business oriented Chinese that the government would always be friendly to their economic interests. The positive world economic climate of the nineties made this relatively easy. Now the appearance of serious strains suggest that the ruling party has gone one sandiwara too far.

The sandiwara is made possible by an act which denies the defendant any defense. This variance from basic democratic principles has been ignored at some cost, only now beginning to be fully realised in Malaysian political circles. It is not the deviation from basic legal principles, such as the citizen's right to a presumption of innocence. Nor is it the insult delivered to public consciousness when it is clear the ministers think the rubes are to dumb to separate the truth from a lie.

Shear cruelty is the crux of the matter. In Islam, as in all other religions, it is honorable to aid the widow and the orphan. On the other hand, only the worst of men make orphans and widows of fellow Muslims. This is the problem with the ISA. It was intended for use only in times of national emergency to preserve democracy. Those imprisoned were supposed to be communist revolutionaries motivated by an abhorrent political philosophy. It was easy to generate public antipathy. But now it is being used to arrest fellow Muslims. It is seen as an attack on Islam, and at the same time destroys democracy. Strategically, for the prime minister, it is a big mistake, and it cannot now be repaired. For him it is a fatal miss-step.

Before the arrest of Anwar Ibrahim the ISA was seldom used, and when it was, there was some credible political justification. Previously, national security, along with domestic tranquility, seemed sufficient to mollify the public. This is no longer true.

Now every unsolved murder is blamed on some "gang" accused of extreme Islamic views, and violently attempting to wrest political control by "toppling" the Mahathir-led party-in-power. None of the defendants are allowed to offer a defense, seek the assistance of an attorney, nor enjoy family visitation. The police are allowed to have their way with the prisoners, and the stories later told are not easy to hear. In court, the defendants sound as if their natural reason has been confounded, and their lawyers give the impression of having acquiesced to a secret fee bargain with the prosecution.

The cries of the widows and orphans were at one time contained by a controlled press, but now the internet broadcasts their pain for all to hear. The use of the ISA as a means of controlling public perceptions is no longer potent. It is now a detriment to the politician who applauds it. There was once a belief the public had a short memory, and that today's bribes would go out with the newspaper in the trash. The new reality is the information put on the internet is permanent ink, readily stored and collated. Today's lie is tomorrow's embarrassment, as many a minister has found to his horror. The new game is to disown every prior statement that conflicts, even so far as to disown one's thesis that earned a university degree. This is but part of the price to ride the tiger. There is no limit, and loyalty can only be demonstrated by the selling of one's soul.

The ISA has become a red flag waving that the politicians are engaged in another cruel sandiwara, creating more grief for innocent Malaysian citizens. The police have assumed the costume of a goon squad, obeying the operators of a criminal political machine forced onto the defensive. The police respond to public protestation by persecuting the protestors, ignoring (and thus protecting) the poltroons plucking the public purse. When the arrest is covered by the ISA, the public immediately begins an analysis to uncover what new game is afoot. It is always another in the continuing series of police and prosecutor perpetrated sandiwaras of the Umno-BN party, in an ongoing attempt to create a credible paper tiger of foreign intrigue and domestic violence.

The purpose of the ISA is to allow the sandiwaras. The purpose of the sandiwaras is to shore the collapsing bulwarks of the Umno-BN coalition. The Malays, Muslim to a man by Malaysian Constitution, will not be led by those devoid of compassion, for whatever cause. The attempts to recover Malay/Muslim support by a pretense of Muslim piety have all failed, and the essential Chinese support has been jarred loose by the perceived weakness which results. In addition, the Chinese population has now revolted against perceived perfidy both in the Chinese party leadership, and direct insults from the prime minister, who is seen a the racist leader of the Umno Malay party.

The Indian component of the Malaysian population, along with the native populations, is ignored as insignificant. When the sandiwara calls for sacrifices, they provide the bodies. The police policy is ruthlessly successful. All witnesses are killed by a shot between the eyes, delivered by a loyal member of the Special Squad, known in Malaysia as the UTK. The murderers are then honored with medals and titles by the penny operas put on by the local hereditary satrapy in mimicry of the last colonial masters.

The little post-colonial countries of the world struggle with the concept of democracy. Malaysia is no exception. Blessed with oil, the opportunity existed to improve conditions generally and build a sound infrastructure for the future. While a commendable effort has been made in the matter of highways, these are still a burdensome debt to a toll-paying public. Even the tolls are thought to go into the pockets of family members and close associates. Little else of value may be seen, though the wealth accumulated by the ministers is impressive. Most disturbing is the massive debt, both public and private, which will sink the national economy unless a complete overhaul in policy begins immediately.

This will require energetic new leadership. The aged ministers of the Umno-BN have lost all initiative. There is no public confidence in the willingness or ability of the present prime minister to bring about any meaningful change. He has chosen men of low character as his close associates, and they are nothing if not co-conspirators in the ongoing sandiwara policies. They defend the police when arrests are made under the ISA. They have various stories detailing the reasons. It is obvious that the reasons are specious, and that the arrests are purely motivated by political considerations. There is little the present party-in-power can offer to restore confidence in either the deflating economy or the democracy-in-distress.

The ISA allows the police to make an arrest, giving some story designed to allay the public's curiosity. In one case there is an arms theft, in another a robbery, and in yet another a conspiracy to go to war against the king. What is common to all cases in which the ISA is used is the inability of the person arrested to present a defense.

The Malaysian police have been shown to repeatedly lie in their press reports, sworn courtroom testimony, police reports, and in the results of their investigations. They share this unfortunate habit with most other government institutions, and it is clear that the origin of this insidious policy resides in the prime minister. He is a consummate liar, and has made liars of all his appointees, leading to a total loss of credibility in the management of national affairs.

This loss of confidence and credibility is most evident in the operation of the police department. The police are allowed to act as the strong-arm henchmen of a criminal conspiracy. They are encouraged and allowed to break the law at will, so long as they carry out the orders of the prime minister. He wishes to generate an atmosphere of fear and intimidation to cover the misdeeds of himself, his appointees, his associates, and family members. The ISA is used to protect a criminal conspiracy, and anyone who attempts to set matters right jeopardises his freedom, his livelihood and his life.

The absence of this principle condemns the pretense of democratic principles in Malaysia. It was not always so. It is pertinent then to consider the cause, and what avenues there may be for redress. The activities of the police are regulated by the parliament, and the parliament is controlled by the BN. The parliament members become candidates for office by the grace of the prime minister, who personally appoints them.

The members of parliament are allowed to receive perquisites and emoluments of office without educational requisite of legislative ability, leading to a collective mentality concerted toward acquisition of personal benefits with more concern for party profit than public welfare. The general public thus suffers while the BN members of parliament visit the resorts of the world. They are not required to reside in the districts they represent. When in Kuala Lumpur for parliament meetings they live in luxurious comfort and ride around in their expensive chauffer-driven cars. As representatives of the public they are not just devoid of competence. They are a menace. Yet they have the audacity to rubber stamp the laws coming from the prime minister's department.

The prime minister gets the laws he wants from the parliament. Not the laws that the people want and need. The laws made by the prime minister are then carried out by the police, who are well paid for their subservience. The penalty for not being willing member of the mob is expulsion, often under unpleasant circumstances. The police speak about keeping peace and order. They give statements about national security. All are seen as just camouflage to cloud the eyes of the public so that the true nature of the beast is concealed.

The police are allowed by the prime minister to break the laws with impunity, in violation of his primary duty to see that they are carried out. He protects them because they protect his interests and those of the BN. They are allowed to bilk the public in a thousand ways, from the protection racket of small shop owners, small bribes for any and all necessary official licences and documents, and ownership of illegal businesses. The higher the rank, the greater the take. Retiring senior police officers in Malaysia, especially the IGP, are all extremely wealthy. They are not required to account for the source of their wealth, which cannot be the result of official government pay.

It is the judiciary which exercises the power to restrain the activities of parliament through careful assessment of the cases brought before them. Laws in violation of basic constitutional rights must be stricken from the books. Police activities which violate the law should be quickly rebuked. The office of Attorney-General must be carefully cleansed by the Judiciary. If the prime minister or any of his coterie break the law, the parliament must immediately act. The judiciary must act firmly to bring the necessary charges.


Link Reference : Harun Rashid Worldview: ISA, Sandiwara and Faded Dream