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