DATUK Mukhriz Mahathir has defended the Internal Security Act (ISA) and lamented that the public fails to see the benefits of a controversial law that allows for preventive detention without trial.
Once again, the influential Barisan Nasional (BN) deputy minister took the decades-old stance that the law ensures the country remains peaceful and harmonious. He said Malaysians were actually fortunate because the nation’s political situation was better compared with many other countries.
No one disputes the fact that the intent of the law, when it was first enacted, was to maintain peace and harmony at a time when we were facing a communist insurgency. But the threat has long disappeared, and unfortunately the ISA is now used for political suppression by putting away political activists deemed a threat to the BN‘s hold onto power.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak had in his inauguration speech promised that the draconian law would be reviewed, caving in to pressure from civil society. However, the will to reform now appears to be waning, and may have been written off the agenda altogether. [This would] mark [a] breach of promise by the new prime minister.
At the end of April 2009, Najib announced the formation of the Law Reform Committee under the chair of Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong. Not only has task been designated to a mere deputy minister, but in a committee that is supposed to look at everything, it appears that the ISA is not part of the agenda at all. This does not bode well.
With the influential Mukhriz, a deputy minister, defending the ISA outright, it has served to confirm that the BN government has chosen to ignore the rakyat’s call for the ISA to be abolished.
The DAP will continue its call and pressure to abolish the ISA, and will directly support the submission of a memorandum by Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA to the royal palace on 1 Aug 2009, to ensure that the new prime minister will not renege on his promise to the people on ISA reforms.
Member of Parliament,
Petaling Jaya Utara
DAP National Publicity Secretary
31 July 2009