ISA detentions: I accept the blame, says Mahathir

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he accepted the blame for the detention of political prisoners under the now-repealed Internal Security Act (ISA), even though it was not his decision.

In a blog post today, he said the first thing he had done upon becoming prime minister was to order the release of 21 prisoners under the ISA because he had never liked the idea of detention without trial.

“I had hoped that during my tenure as prime minister, I would not have to detain anyone,” he added.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman said he had even asked the police if the country could do without the ISA. Read more

Former Ops Lalang child activist says nothing has changed

Source: FMT News

Pic from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Thirty years ago, while other children were learning nursery rhymes in kindergartens, Tania Fernandez was becoming familiar with phrases like “detention without trial”.

The daughter of late human rights activist Irene Fernandez, recalled how she was only six years old when she became part of a group that supported families of those detained in Operasi Lalang, launched on Oct 27, 1987.

She said she remembered a warm atmosphere among the people who considered each other as family when she went along with her mother to the gatherings.

“One song that stuck with me and still means a lot to me today is ‘We Shall Overcome’,” she said at an event organised by Suaram to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Operasi Lalang at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall here today.

Tania said she found it unfortunate that the state of human rights and civil liberties in Malaysia is as dire today as it was back then. Read more

77 NGOs demand apology from Dr M over Ops Lalang

Source: The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: A group of 77 NGOs are demanding an apology from former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad over the arrests of 106 people and the closure of three newspapers during Operasi Lalang 30 years ago.

“We demand a public apology and a sincere expression of remorse from Dr Mahathir for depriving so many innocent Malaysians of their freedom and the torture they went through during Operasi Lalang,” it said in a statement on Saturday.

The group added that Dr Mahathir must apologise for the “assault” on the Malaysian judiciary in 1988, which saw the removal of former lord president Tun Salleh Abas and other Supreme Court judges.

“Dr Mahathir owes an apology not only to all the victims of Operasi Lalang, but also to the former Lord President and the Supreme Court judges that he sacked in 1988,” it said.
Read more

Ops Lalang: Absolving Dr M is like absolving Hitler, says Kua

Source: FMT News

Pic from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong has condemned the actions of some Pakatan Harapan politicians in absolving former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad from any blame for Operasi Lalang, which took place in 1987.

He said their willingness to forget who was behind the arrests of more than 100 Malaysians under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) in October 27 that year, was akin to absolving Adolph Hitler for being the reason why World War 2 started.

“It’s like saying Hitler had nothing to do with it and that it was because of fascism and therefore, Hitler does not need to apologise,” he said in a speech at the start of an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of Ops Lalang, held at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall here today.

Mahathir, who is now Pakatan Harapan chairman, has been insistent Ops Lalang was a police decision and that although he was home minister at the time, he had no say in the matter. Read more

Spirit of ISA still alive in Malaysia, says DAP MP

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Thirty years after Operasi Lalang, the spirit of the Internal Security Act (ISA) is still alive in the country through the passing and enforcement of preventive laws, Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto said today.

She said despite Prime Minister Najib Razak’s move to abolish the ISA, many laws had been amended and introduced under his administration which restricted freedoms enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

She also slammed Najib’s recent comments that certain quarters were creating false impressions that Malaysia was in danger of sliding into a dictatorship.

“The prime minister lacks enlightenment as legislations that are dictatorial in nature are a reflection of a dictatorial government led by dictatorial leadership. Nothing more and nothing less,” she said in a statement commemorating the 30th anniversary of Operasi Lalang. Read more

The day the Malaysian press was muzzled

Source: The Malaysian Insight

The Star’s front page on October 28, 1987, the second day of Ops Lalang. – The Malaysian Insight pic

ON October 28, 1987, on the second day of Operasi Lalang, three media organisations – The Star, Sin Chew Chit Poh and Watan – were muzzled.

Tunku Abdul Rahman, then chairman of The Star, said the country was “on the road to dictatorship”.

The mass arrest of politicians and activists the previous day was not unexpected, but when the newspapers, one of them Watan, minuscule in its circulation, were shut down, everyone was shocked.

“Nobody had the slightest idea,” said K. Nada, managing editor of The Star at the time, when recalling the day he received a letter stating that the paper was shut down. Read more

How passion against injustice led a Catholic brother to Kamunting

Source: The Malaysian Insight


Anthony Rogers is now brother director at St Xavier’s Institution in George Town, Penang. He read the Bible cover to cover during his eight months in Kamunting in the late 1980s. – The Malaysian Insight pic

October 27 marks the 30th anniversary of  Operasi Lalang, where 106 people were detained without trial and the publishing licences of three newspapers were revoked. The episode remains a grim reminder of what can happen in the absence of check and balances, a deep scar in the Malaysian psyche. To mark this day, The Malaysian Insight speaks to those involved in the dragnet – the victims and their families, detention centre wardens and police.

WHAT does not break you, only makes you stronger.

He was not a prominent politician. He was not a champion of vernacular education. He did not make a living driving the wedge between Malaysians with fire-and-brimstone speeches yet this La Salle Brother was among the 106 individuals detained under Operasi Lalang.

What were Brother Anthony Rogers’ offences? Developing social programmes, providing aid to the poor and raising awareness on social and economic injustices.

The passage of time does not make his detention for being a threat to national security any less ridiculous but Rogers ‎is not a bitter nor defeated man.

He said that his detention gave him the opportunity to strike friendships with people of different faith. He also found solace in the Bible, which he read from cover to cover many times.  Read more

Operation Lalang and the ISA– Azmi Sharom

Source: The Star Online


TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave an interview to an online news portal a few days ago

Dr. Azmi Sharom is a law teacher in Universiti Malaya.

about Operation Lalang in 1987.

I found the interview to be infuriating and here is why.

Firstly, he tried to absolve himself from any blame by saying the detention was done by the police and on police advice. Gosh, I had no idea he was such a malleable prime minister.

Let me explain how the Internal Security Act (ISA), which was repealed in 2012, worked. When they detained a person initially, it was done at the discretion of the police.

This was when you got a bunch of cops, normally heavily armed, arresting you, usually in the middle of the night.

This detention could last up to 60 days. After those 60 days the detention could be extended to another two years, and another and another ad infinitum. Read more

Post Ops Lalang, Internal Security Act 2.0 being slowly resurrected — Kasthuri Patto

Source: Malaysiakini

images-1Today, Oct 27 marks the 29th year of the massive Operasi Lalang swoop by the Barisan Nasional government in 1987 in detaining over 100 Malaysian voices of conscience – politicians, educationists, environmentalists, religious leaders and activists, jailed for periods unknown to them, without judge or jury, denied the right to counsel, and detention without trial all in the name of protecting the national security of the nation.

Democratic nations were built on strong foundations of honesty, accountability, respect and justice for all, that over time, becomes the core identity, the pulse and heartbeat of a people. For the past 60 years, such cultural ideas have been deemed archaic, misogynistic, racist or even apartheid in nature by the Umno/BN government in their support for race-based cronyism and religious bigotry.

Today, I urge the Malaysian government that it is time it finds its moral compass, realises its wrongdoings, apologise to the people and sincerely make amends to safeguard the spirit and sanctity of upholding human rights and civil liberties as enshrined in the Federal Constitution that no person can be denied of, before it continues to destroy this nation of ours. Read more

Ops Lalang: Malaysia 29 years later — Jahabar Sadiq

Source: Asian Correspondent


The mass rally of over 10,000 people organized by Umno Youth shortly before Ops Lalang was launched on Oct 27, 1987. Pic via Twitter.

The mass rally of over 10,000 people organized by Umno Youth shortly before Ops Lalang was launched on Oct 27, 1987. Pic via Twitter.

TWENTY-nine years ago today, Malaysia began a security sweep starting with 19 politicians, activists and intellectuals detained without trial as racial and political tensions rose over an Umno leadership crisis, issues over languages and the use of the word “pendatang” (immigrant) as a slur.

The total number held under the Internal Security Act (ISA) was 106 and three newspapers – English daily The Star, Chinese daily Sin Chew Jit Poh and Malay daily Watan – had their publishing permits suspended.

One of the dailies, Watan, never came back. The other two were never the same again.

The Star’s front page on Oct 28, 1987. Source: @kuasiswa.

The Star’s front page on Oct 28, 1987. Source: @kuasiswa.

But the issues that festered and exploded into the mass detentions continue until today. Read more