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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
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.
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
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
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
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
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