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.Kua however, has demanded once again that Mahathir apologise for being the mastermind behind Operasi Lalang, especially now that he was with the opposition.
“If Mahathir was an active leader in Umno, we would not expect him to apologise.
“But if the next general election is a battle between the opposition coalition and Barisan Nasional (BN), and Mahathir is going to lead Pakatan then he has to prove he’s a born-again democrat. Otherwise, why should we vote for Pakatan?”
Kua also questioned why it was so difficult for Mahathir to sincerely apologise.
“We’re not even asking to be compensated although I’m sure Mahathir has a lot of money,” he said. “Just apologise. Is that so hard?”
Ops Lalang was carried out supposedly to prevent the occurrence of racial riots in the country.
The operation saw the arrest of over 100 people including NGO activists, opposition politicians, intellectuals, students, artists, scientists and others detained without trial under the now repealed ISA. It was the second largest ISA swoop in Malaysian history since the May 13 riots.
The crackdown took place at a time when Umno was split into two opposing groups, one led by Mahathir, and the other by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Musa Hitam.
Among the more prominent ISA detainees were then DAP secretary-general Lim Kit Siang, DAP deputy chairman Karpal Singh, MCA vice-president and Perak chief Chan Kit Chee, PAS Youth chief Halim Arshat, Umno Pasir Mas MP Ibrahim Ali, and Umno Youth Education chairman Mohamed Fahmi Ibrahim.
Aside from Kua, who was at the time the publicity chief for the Civil Rights Committee, other prominent non-political detainees included Dong Jiao Zong chairman Lim Fong Seng and Women’s Aid Organisation member Irene Xavier.