Tuesday, September 16, 2008

All Present And Accounted For


All Present And Accounted For

Like many others, I stopped breathing last Friday evening as I saw my worst fears begin to materialize.

For some time now, talk of a crackdown similar to the 1987 Operasi Lalang had been intensifying, in part due to the Government’s unapologetic stance as to its readiness to use the Internal Security Act when it thought it necessary. This had not given much comfort to those who remember the dragnets of 1987 and 2001. If history had taught us anything, it was that in a world where politics determines so much, “when necessary” is a heavily nuanced and very subjective notion. We cannot be faulted for assuming that UMNO will employ the ISA to its convenience if it is in its political interests to do so.

As the events of the weekend have shown us, our assumption has some basis.

By early Friday afternoon, I had learnt that Raja Petra had been detained. I had also begun to hear the rumours that this was the start of a wider sweep that was to take place over the weekend and was profoundly troubled by them. I found myself struggling between not wanting to believe that the Government would be prepared to take that course, it being so counterintuitive, and being forced by circumstance to accept that the terror had started. The situation was not clear. there had after all been prior indication of the Government’s intention to detain Raja Petra specifically. Furthermore, no one had been detained since Petra’s detention at about 1.50 pm. Like all victims of impending disaster, clutching at straws I began to try to rationalize my way out of what seemed like a certain outcome.

I had begun to make some headway when I got news that Tan Hoon Cheng had been detained.

Up to that point dinner had been congenial. It carried on in complete silence, each one of us there thinking of who it was that we knew who could possibly be picked up. We recalled how there had been no apparent pattern to the detentions of 1987 and appreciated that the authorities would want to be able to point to random causes to argue against accusations of a political plan if in fact there was one. Academics and missionaries had been swept up in Operasi Lalang, even as the opposition was neutered by the removal of its leaders and prime movers.

The detention of Hoon Cheng meant that virtually anyone who had in some way or other been a little more public than average was a potential target. As concerned friends and acquaintances began to call in, for my sake and a number of people I knew and cared for, the yawning abyss of uncertainty before me brought home the painful realization of the potential costs of standing up for beliefs and a better country. Liberty and the integrity of mind, body and spirit were really no more than a question of not being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The news that Theresa Kok had been detained rammed that conclusion home. She had done nothing out of the ordinary, more so when compared to other personalities in politics. Any doubts I had began to dissipate; there was something bigger afoot.

It was a long night. Tracking news about people I knew, speaking to them, making sure that we all felt connected to each other, to share what little encouragement we could. Speaking to others, trying to help spread the message that whatever was to happen we were to meet it calmly and with the belief that things would be for the best.

But even as the pieces fell into place and we began to face up to the probability of a wide sweeping operasi, the differences began to emerge and I could see that this was not 1987. Malaysians were reaching out to each other, messaging and calling, organizing vigils, lending their support, standing up to the intimidation as best as they could with a calmness that shone out into the gloom that threatened to engulf us, dissipating it. Looking out, I saw lights on in houses on the street where I was late into the night, early into the morning. They were beacons of hope that promised the dawn of a new day.

And come it did, something happened.

Hoong Cheng was released, accompanied by a farcical explanation that only strengthened public resolve. Raja Petra and Theresa are still under detention but their families have got to see them and their lawyers are hard at work on what in my view seem to be promising cases for habeas corpus. No other persons were detained, perhaps in part due to Barisan Ministers and component parties having taken positions against the detentions, echoing the sentiment of outrage expressed by civil society. In an unprecedented move, an UMNO Minister tendered his resignation on principle for the unjust use of the ISA. And the Government has had its hands full attempting to explain the inexplicable as it never has had to before.

Whither Malaysia? We are right here, all present and accounted for.

(Malay Mail; 16th September 2008)

MIS

18 comments:

Leena said...

We stand together. And we will not fall.

ChengHo said...

democracy require high discipline
action must be taken within the law for public order . if you want to be popular become a singer to get your name in MTV popular song contest

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said…

After 51 years MALAYSIA IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE but backwards because of the Oppression from the UMNO goons’ divide and rule fear tactics the Rakyats have matured & you must see all this coming because All The Rakyats of Malaysia are all fed-up & can no longer with-stand the hypocrisies, bullshits, lies and deceits of these UMNO Clowns now in Power ok???

We urge all BN Components MPs with a conscience to do the necessary to make possible a New Malaysia for all Rakyats of Malaysia so that all our children and their children & their children’s children’s future will be safe and secured in the Country we all love and not be intimidated by those UMNO Clowns now in power with their oppressive & fear tactics and in the verge of making Malaysia a Police State if left unchecked otherwise. Save RPK as he is the midst of a conspiracy of the real murderers of Altantuya to silence him for good, instead of being C4ed he could be poisoned and worse off if he is on hunger strike by himself. The Acting IGP is defending the Police position after being made the tools of UMNO’s fear tactics & so he is now making lame excuses for being the Stringed Puppet to be easily manipulated by the Puppeteer, power that be.

Moronic PeeM and Botak Home Minister last minutes’ attempts to cling on power by using the fear tactics of using the ISA at their whims and fancies selectively against dissent & tried to deny their own actions as they now have no balls to face the wrath of the all the Rakyats of Malaysia. ONE DAY THE MORONIC BOTAK AND FLIP FLOP AND C4 MUST BE MADE TO TASTE THEIR OWN MEDICINE OK?

All Rakyats of Malaysia will see to that these Clowns will be thrown out soon come the New Dawn of Malaysia & that all Rakyats of Malaysia will welcome the New Malaysia on Malaysia Day 916, 2008 for a Malaysia for All Malaysians.

Justice MUST BE DONE for Altantuya and for all those detained under ISA without the trial nor the rights of appeal. Light-up a Candle in the Lantern of the Mid-Autumn Festival for them all to usher in the NEW DAWN OF MALAYSIA COME 916, 2008
#
Zymian // Sep 14, 2008 at 4:07 pm

We are indeed witnessing an attempt by certain hardcore Umno operatives to create unrest amongst the various races. Remember, it is to create the perfect pretence for the UMNO led government to impose emergency law and thus roll back their losses in the last elections!
The ISA arrests are only part of the plan. There will be further provocations! They are desperately hoping that enough unrest and conflict will arise so that they may use even more hardliner’s tactics with the security forces.
I sincerely hope our fellow citizens will remain calm. Fight, I say…but fight smart. Use the net, use it to spread the word that violence and conflict is to be avoided.
The UMNO hardliners (Dr M, Toyo) have run out of ideas. In their desperation, they have become more ruthless. We just need to stay the course….and these jokers will self destruct.

Ahmed Pervaz said...

It is plain to see. The ISA is no longer the potent suppressant it used to be. Factors such as increased public awareness and the availability of a range of opinions expressed in various media forms have contributed to this event. Politicians cannot rely on previously flogged excuses for equipping themselves with the ISA mechanism. Now some may see this as positive, however, the fact that the ISA still exists is just poor form on the governments behalf.

Section 8(1) of the ISA provides that ‘(i)f the minister is satisfied that the detention of any person is necessary …’ then s/he may issue an order for his/her detention. The three grounds given in Section 8(1) upon which the order may be based is where a person has acted in any manner prejudicial to the:

a) security of Malaysia or part thereof; or
b) maintenance of essential services; or
c) economic life.

This is, in any jurisdiction, is an example of poor drafting of legislation. Not only is it too wide a provision, it basically says, 'Forget the constitution and the separation of powers, we are free to impose draconian consequences on whom we please'

Even the yanks have commented on its perils and effects on democracy. 5 days ago an official of the State Department in Washington stated, "Peaceful expression of political opinions is a fundamental right and critical to a democracy," ... "The United States believes that the Malaysian government should provide due process and treatment consistent with Malaysian law and international standards,"

Although coming from the United States we may be tempted not to take these comments seriously but come on politicians, face up to democracy like real leaders, not behind a veil of legislation.

Guantanamo said...

It is interesting to note that Zaid Ibrahim says, in Malaysia, the Police arrests or detains you to find investigate "what wrong you have committed".

When come to think of it, they are playing the role of God on the Day of Judgement !

Anonymous said...

I know ordinary Malaysians who couldn't sleep well the night of the 3 detentions. I, for one, was filled with such outrage that it kept me awake. You are right, we are no longer in 1987.

My worry is no longer about the morality of party-hopping. Instead, given the present circumstances, I have concluded that this is obligatory for any honorable and responsible MP to do.

CPK, an ordinary Malaysian

Silhouette said...

It is indeed very sad to see our country regress instead of progress. The 'progress' that we see are all superficial and mega structures that have no meaning whatsoever. Well, maybe they do have meaning... lining the pockets of the umnoputeras. Dr. M and his cronies have raped our country and continue to use racial politics to scare the Malays. From what we see, the Rakyat are now wiser to their scare tactics. I have often told fellow Malaysian friends... whenever I'm overseas, when I'm asked, I always answer, 'I'm a Malaysian'. And I say it proudly too. Only in my own country, we're labeled by race. It's time that ALL of us call ourselves Malaysians. It's time to be really Merdeka !!!

chong said...

problem is most of our MP is neither responsible nor honorable.

Anonymous said...

UMNO racialist party govt must be toppled and NEVER to be allowed to exist. Action to be taken by the new govt. against the misuse of ISA against all in authority, and compensation to be paid by those person/s accountable to all who have been detained under ISA.

Anonymous said...

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim may be arrested under the Internal Security Act anytime from now, says Abdullah.
Act now go to the Agong to show that you have the majority of members before you are detained or else all your efforts will be lost

mei1 said...

Malik, the title of this news article chills my heart further, I have the same feeling as one of the comment writers in the following weblink that they're going to use ISA on DSAI.

http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/legal/general_news/anwar_now_a_threat_to_economy_and_national_security_says_abdullah.html

Anonymous said...

Kickdefella detained, according to Malaysiakini. God save Abdullah because nothing else is going to save his political skin.


(Tak Caya Pak Lah)

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said...

Kickdefella arrested for sedition according to media. Not detained under ISA.

MIS

flyer168 said...

Dear Malik Imtiaz,

Alot of Anak Bangsa Malaysia share your sentiments & are impatiently awaiting that elusive "Skychange".

DSAI has to outsmart the Powers-that-be & not be caught in the "Trap" with the threat thrown at him.

Let us all stay cool & focus on the "Objective Target"...."to reduce BN’s majority".

With the present Political deadlock turning dangerous & ugly, let us again focus on the need "to reduce BN’s majority".

Already the BN’s self-destruct mechanism is in action.

More defections will be coming & they should all consider forming the 3rd Front with SAPP taking the lead.

PR only need to focus & hang on to its present numbers.

Let the neutral 3rd Front be the “King maker” with the reduced BN majority.

Devine Intervention will ensure the “Headache” will be on the Powers-that-be with the neutral 3rd Front.

With this, the “Morality” issue can be resolved and any coalition thereafter with PR can be considered to overcome the “Deadlock”.

The ideal thought of calling for another election will not materialise with the “Powers-that-be in its present desperate predicament.

Anonymous said...

Dear Imtiaz,

Well said. I do believe we're witnessing the rise of people power, with each of us standing up to be counted. I'm really proud of my fellow Malaysians who have in their own ways, in these trying times, demonstrated how much guts and backbone we have.

I have great faith that in time, "MALAYSIA BOLEH" will have the new meaning of describing the spirit of our peoples.

amethyst213 said...

Bloggers must now take the position of the journalist to present reliable and balanced news. I humbly call upon my fellow bloggers to be, qouting MIS title, "All Present and Accounted For".

Reliable and balanced.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for Contrast.

Contrast is a good thing. Contrast is the dissimilarity or difference between things. Just like the difference betweeen day and night, light and darkness.

It is when we are faced with a situation we truly don’t want any longer that we seek to want so dearly, what is truly good for all of us, the rakyat.

Cheers, to our New Malaysia, cherished by all.

Anonymous said...

Very well written, I am personally looking forward to that day's dawn...

Seemed like Frodo's last effort on Mt. Doom...