Wednesday, January 02, 2008

ISA and its perspective

I watched some hot coverage on the topic 'ISA dan perspektifnya' during last night's prime time news in TV3. The reporter asked a few professionals and political big shots about this matter, in short they were to give their opinions on the relevancy of ISA practice in our country. This issue was debated heatedly, especially when there were big issues happened. The most recent one is the Hindraf case. Or else, it fades away together with the unattended sorrow and pain of the detainees and their families in Kamunting, Perak.

Just a few months ago when Mr Malik Hussin won RM 2.5 million over the government for his wrongful detention and torture under the Internal Security Act (ISA), the nation had opened their eyes wide. That ISA is NOT NECESSARILY RIGHT. The ISA is no small issue to be neglected or just to be discussed only at a place and at a time, it's actually the lives of people who were never get into trial, and never are really proven guilty that we talk about. The ironic (but expected) fact that majority of the detainees are `coincidentally' the opposition political parties members which made the situation inconveniently understandable. As far as we know the authority never had the slightest intention to terminate, or at least review the ISA act as demanded by the thoughtful rakyat who care.

And now the ISA issue is a hit of the town again due to the Hindraf chaos. I think I not need to highlight again how bizarre the case is, where 31 Hindraf supporters were said to be charged of attempting murder, and days later, they were free to go. Next, it was the leaders turn, perhaps their fate is much worse. Five of them were detained in ISA. And in this case, ISA seems to be the best solution `for the sake of the country'.

Last night, when our beloved TPM was asked to comment on the latest Washington's critics on the Hindraf case, he eventually snapped back and said something like this "So can Washington actually explain their act on the detainees of Guantanamo? If they can, then we would response to their critics". OK, a safe yet heroic answer by our TPM but for me, it does not explain anything. Infact, I've been wondering, was it that hard in Kamunting that it is vaguely compared to the Guantanamo?

Whatever it is, I would like to highlight Raja Nazrin's response in this matter :

Q: The Internal Security Act (ISA), where a person could be detained if he is seen as a threat to public order and national security, has been seen as one of the measures the government could resort to. Your comment?

A: I hope it is used very sparingly, if at all, and only when there is a genuine threat to national security. It should never be used to stifle dissent.

I couldn't disagree more with his opinion. However to violate the human's rights and loose definition of a possible ISA victims such as "he has acted or is about to act or is likely to act in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof." as we can see in the paragraph below is just too much, don't you think?

Malaysia's Internal Security Act (ISA) is a preventive detention law originally enacted in the early 1960s during a national state of emergency as a temporary measure to fight a communist rebellion. Under Section 73 (1) of the ISA, police may detain any person for up to 60 days, without warrant or trial and without access to legal counsel, on suspicion that "he has acted or is about to act or is likely to act in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof." After 60 days, the Minister of Home Affairs can then extend the period of detention without trial for up to two years, without submitting any evidence for review by the courts, by issuing a detention order, which is renewable indefinitely.

(the paragraph is referred here)

If there are concrete reasons for the ISA to occur by any means, can someone prove it to me and make me understand, please? I'm just a little too confused here, like most of everybody else.

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