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Sakmongkol ak 47

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Pak Lah's Saigon Moment

The beginning of the Fall of Saigon

Last week was a black-day period in Malaysian politics. The government arrested a number of personages. They used the dreaded internal security act. This act has its origins during the Emergency (1948-1960). This was a period, when communists wanted to take over this country by force of arms. Their motto was, political power through the barrel of the gun.

The ISA provided the government ability to arrest people and have them incarcerated without trial. The type of people falling under this act include suspects of terrorism and perpetrators of threats to the security of the realm. Those suspected of inciting racial hatred and public disturbance.

Suspects are remanded for a period of 60 days without recourse to a habeas corpus action. After the 60 day permissible period under detention without trial, the arrested persons are brought before the court. There they will listen as to whether they will be imprisoned further for an indefinite period without trial.

Emergency situation requires emergency actions and laws. Every country appears to have some version of arrest without trial. When this country was facing threats of communist insurgency, the use of a legal framework where communist suspects can be arrested expeditiously was accepted. Communists were committed to the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government. The use of violence is clearly abhorred and rightly so.

When the emergency was officially declared over in 1960, the ISA was continued. Since then, it was used quite liberally on those who opposed the government. The ISA was more honoured in its breaches than its observance.

That is why, it has been accused as a tool by which the government represses the opposition. Accordingly, those incarcerated under ISA became known as prisoners of conscience- i.e. those imprisoned because of their beliefs rather than because of crimes and legal wrongs committed.

The few who were ISA-ed last week, were important figures in their respective fields. Among them, the notorious RPK( hmm reminds Sakmongkol of Notorious B.I.G), MP Theresa Kok who is an ECXO, and a journalist best known for her reporting on the Ahmad Ismail racial slur thing.

But somehow the ISA thing has not endeared the government to the people who are increasingly disenchanted with them. The ISA-ing of the 3 individuals, the blogger, the MP and the journalist, triggered all round condemnation. It forced the Home Minister to deny being the author of the arrests. The hot potato was passed to the PM. As usual the PM was in sixes and sevens.

It resulted in members of the coalition government decrying the use of the ISA. It led also to the not yet known outcome of a Dear John Letter from the de facto law minister or more aptly, the poacher turned gamekeeper. The whole ISA episode became a case of being hoisted with your own petard. The trap(ISA) meant to muzzle dissenting voices impossible to contain, has turned instead into something that ensnares Pak lah’s own political ankles (both)

All these put Pak lah in a Saigon Moment.


Anonymous,  16 September 2008 at 11:12  


Like in Saigon, are the helicopters ready on top of Seri Perdana to take the 1st family and all out-laws to safety?


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