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Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Methodology Of Fear

This evening, Haris Ibrahim was taken away from Dataran Merdeka by the police. He was there to participate in the candle-light vigil for Raja Petra.

He has since been released, apparently without any intention on the part of the police to take the matter any further. I spoke to him a short while ago and he was his usual jocular self, musing whether he could say that he had faced an arrest when it appeared instead that he had been harassed.

In the period between when I was first told by Tony Yew of Haris being taken away to the point where I managed to speak to him and find out firsthand what is that had occurred and what would, or would not, be happening, a range of thoughts crossed my mind. Being Malaysian and having lived in this country for the better part of my life, these thoughts, not unusually, largely centered on the possibility of his being prosecuted for, perhaps, sedition or, worse still, a detention under the ISA.

Later, after I was informed that he had been released, I went back to my reactions during that period. And I got angry.

At the fact that thoughts like that are the norm in this society. At the fact that the administration had nurtured an environment that keeps us in a constant state of tension and anxiety, so much so that many of us do not even register these feelings any more. At the fact that the administration felt that it had the right to do so.

Why is it that those of us who believe in a better Malaysia should live our lives in the expectation of reprisal. I am not alone in this. After I was told about Haris’ arrest (a flu had kept me home), I called around and, unsurprisingly, everyone I spoke to had the same reaction. The same questions came to mind. Sedition? ISA? Was he going to be ok? And they came to mind because Haris speaks out, regularly and loudly.

Paranoia? Perhaps a little, but then, that’s part of the wider strategy, an element in the methodology of fear by which those in authority keep the rest of us in check. Remember that the next time the Home Minister asserts the continued need for the ISA, remember that he is defending a means of fear-mongering as lethal as it is a means of suppression.

And remember that the only interests that require protection through suppression and fear are vested interests.



Anonymous said...


I am distressed that one man with love for mankind in his heart is denied even the right to sit down peaceably on the stairs of dataran merdeka to hold one lighted candle! It's not a C4, for crying out loud!!! For that, he gets taken away?

It is a frightened power that acts this way,to muzzle, to intimidate, to deprive Can we no longer gather anywhere? Must we count our numbers and stay 5 per group apart from one another or face arrest?

The group at the entrance to the dataran, their entry blocked, were told to disperse or action would be taken against them. Every part facing the Dataran was cordoned off - at first even the road behind the courts. Only when Haris was taken away did they allow people to use that road.

Had to walk a whole huge square, onto the main road behind St Mary's Church and then past the back of Selangor Club to finally get onto Dataran Merdeka,way past the time when Haris was taken away.

How is it that boisterous demonstrations by UMNO in Penang and elsewhere can have the police just standing by but a gathering to light candles is a no-no?

When will the double standards end? When will justice finally reign? And when will those who have abdicated their duty to the rakyat for their own selfish ends get what they truly deserve?

The day I get to light a candle at Dataran Merdeka devoid of the presence of FRU, patrol cars, police officers and special branch is the day I can say with a glad heart, "Yes, we truly have Merdeka."


sp lim said...

Until and unless we have freedom from fear we are not truly free. I was there at Dataran (it will remain just a Dataran to me without Merdeka).

This was what I wrote in my blog when I came back

'Tonight, freedom remains an illusion to me at Freedom Square.'

Your post about fear only confirmed this

Anonymous said...

Because Right or Wrong
Rights or Bully have not been clearly born in the Mind of those involved!
Did what have happened complied with what was said in the Red Book?

Can any further details be provided and explained so more People know if Police have the Rights or what happened is simply Bully!
Or, they had gone around the loopholes!

If we know how to go around, we have fear no more!
But, need a Human Rights Centre to educate, promote and enforce!
So the methodology of Fear can no where go beyond the Laws!

And, it had not came to you before!

I know I am Right so I fear no more!
But, I am ANGRY because I have been Bully and Repeatedly Bully even by Legal Professionals!!

Anonymous said...

We denied BN their 2/3 majority in parliament in 12th GE; now we have one more reason to boot them out comes 13th GE.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think the intimidation from the "crooked government" might stir something which BN should be fear of. As of now, more and more Malaysians are fed up with the BN. If BN continue its ignorant policies, we the people will give them another tsunami. This is a time that everybody can be a blogger. How are they going to stop us from condemning their injustice actions?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your good news re Haris.. and I agree. Too many from my generation, while unsatisfied, are too apathetic to stand up for what is justly ours, due to the simple fact that we are citizens of a "democratic" country. We take what is dished out to us because "that's the way it has always been for us and that's the way it was for our parents."
If we continue to stay silent and capitulate, how can we expect to see change?


mei1 said...

Malik, thanks for your piece of news, now that I realised what was going on last evening.

I was standing at the far end side that near to Bar Conncil building yesterday, puzzling if the vigil had been called off as there was no crowd at all, just a few concerned citizens & was later ordered to disperse or else action would be taken.

I felt nothing but great disappointment & anger when returning home. I really wonder when can we achieve the so-called democracy?

Pratamad said...

Many years later today, I realise how aptly Dataran Merdeka is named. Not because it truly commemorates our independence, but because it reminds us our freedom is still being taken away by the government for 50 years. Police cordoning off Dataran Merdeka carries the meaning of the authority keeping rakyat away from their rightful freedom in this country.

The aim therefore is to keep Dataran Merdeka as free as possible for rakyat to go to. And that requires change of the authority - the current BN government.

The recent incidents of high-handedness by the police and authority (RPK, Cheras Mahkota, communication tower in Melaka, Dataran Merdeka) seem to indicate that the BN has yet to figure out how to respond to the new political reality, and it is gradually making all the nails necessary for its coffin. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

This shows the desperaton of BN. This shows how dangerous living in Malaysia can be, if we allow this to go on. This shows we need change, bigger changes in this country, so that justice will prevail. And Justice will prevail. No more intimidation! No more oppresion! No more harrasment!

Anonymous said...

What is this?
Are we living in a police state?
Must we have a permit to just hang out in public places?
WHAT ARE THEY AFRAID OF? The voice of the people?
If yes, then start listening!

Samuel Goh Kim Eng said...

Only those who live in darkness
Have great fear of the true light
While those who dwell in brightness
Get to see everything within sight

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng - 090508
Fri. 9th May 2008.

Samuel Goh Kim Eng said...

Only those who live in darkness
Have great fear of the true light
While those who dwell in brightness
Get to see everything within sight

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng - 090508
Fri. 9th May 2008.

Donplaypuks® said...

Dear Imtiaz

Soory to post my Q in this blog. But you can delete it after reading.

But, I need some support here.

It’s regarding the India Ink.

The MP’s are not asking the obvious question in Parliament, i.e.

(1) did the EC & its famous Chief actually place an order with the Indian Govt for 48,000 bottles at RM2.4 million or for any other qty of Ink from any other country?

(2) Was the Ink delivered before 8th March to M’sia or was there a delay/screw up?

(3) If the EC Chief answers that the Ink was delivered on time, can we get the Auditor General to issue a certificate of verification & confirmation.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the red-herring about ink smugglers was hatched to cover up either an administrative screw-up or right from day 1, they have been lying to the Public.

I sometimes think even our new MP’s have the IQ of a mosquito in that they seem incapable of making a concerted effort to get to the bottom of matter.

Could you please run a new blog on this issue and pressurise all the MP’s you know. There is a ‘Watergate’ lurking here. Please, Please?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Fear, and the psychology behind it, has always been one of the most effective means of social control. Applied in extreme or frequent doses, it erodes social solidarity.

Ruling by fear ensures subordination of the meekest kind. Its manipulation creates terror and perpetuates an anti-democratic ethos in which the stakes for risk-taking are high, and the promise of any return, little

No, did that sound like terrorism?

As citizens, should we be afraid?

The response is a resounding ‘yes’.

We shouldn’t let normalisation of this methodology of fear set in to accentuate our powerlessness and fetter us.

We should instead, let it bring about the instinctive need to protect and to confront.


PRAY,IT WORKS. joe's blog said...

Let us NOT waver. Let us ALL, one way or another, push forward together. The March 8 election was a ray of light for all malaysians. This ray of light must be broadened until ALL malaysians is free of the greed of those in power. Greedy politicians must be kick out of the malaysian power structure.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that is how a society evolved. It must go through a period of upheaval and then finds its place for all.

Perseverance here is the key.

Anonymous said...

“With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.... The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged.”
the drumhead, star trek tng

It has gone on for too long. Our leaders seem incapable of nothing else. When can the powers above understand that their perceived enemies are nothing more than their own creation? They are the consequences of their years of misdeeds. Suppressing these voices only makes them louder and these irritating noises will continue until the causes are lifted. The tighter the leash, the faster it snaps. There is always a threshold where one will evolve beyond fear and paranoia.

The thing is, they can use draconian laws to make all the arrests in the world, but they can never detain the ideas and convictions that have already been seeded. The flame has been lit and it is spreading. Their actions only fuel the rage that will soon be beyond their control.

Unknown said...

Truth is, my friends, that the police in Malaysia is not police, but just a tool used by the power-that-be to intimidate the people.

Truth is, my friends, that we are not that different from the North Koreans.

Truth is, my friends, even the citizens of China, a communist totalitarian country, get to enjoy _MORE_ rights than us, the citizen of Malaysia, a supposingly democratic country.

Truth is, my friends, that our country sucks!

And the final truth is, my friends, that we, the people, sucks as well.

Le Buffoon said...

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." - V for Vendetta (2005)

Henry Lim