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Anti ISA movement gets big boost of support - malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

A nationwide movement launched last night to gather public support towards abolishing the Internal Security Act will see additional pressures being piled on the government to repeal the draconian law.


Part of the movement’s programme would involve road shows and talks to highlight to the public this discriminatory law which allows the government to detain a person without trial. The main organisers behind the initiative are PAS and the Abolish the ISA Movement (GMI).

anti isa campaign 05The pinnacle event for this new anti-ISA awareness campaign would be a peaceful gathering of about 100,000 people in March next year in Kuala Lumpur to pressure incoming prime minister Najib Abdul Razak to repeal the law.

Last night's gathering saw opposition leaders led by PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang taking turns to address the crowd of more than 2,000 people who had gathered at the Bandar Baru Bangi indoor sports complex.

The leaders included PSM President Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim, PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin and DAP's Serdang member of Parliament Teo Nie Ching. Also among the speakers was Norlaila Othman, wife of an ISA detainee.

PKR de-facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was earlier slated to attend the event, was the noted absentee as he is overseas.

Pro-ISA T-shirts

Unlike an earlier planned event last month, the event at Bandar Baru Bangi went without any hitch as the organisers managed to obtain a police permit. About 30 police personnel from the Kajang police district headquarters were seen keeping a close eye on the function.

At a similar event on Nov 23 at the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council field, the authorities arrested nine PAS leaders including its vice-president Mohamad Sabu and the party youth chief Salahuddin Ayub along with PAS Unit Amal (volunteer wing) members.

Both Mohamad and Salahuddin were present last night to address the crowd.

They also accepted a memorandum from two NGOs - the Majlis Permufakatan Ummah (Pewaris) and the Gabungan Gerakan Melayu Muda (GGMM) - seeking PAS assistance to resolve the pig-farming issue at Paya Mengkuang in Masjid Tanah, Malacca.

memorandum anti babi group 02Despite some of the Pewaris leaders wearing T-shirts in support of the ISA, Mohamad Sabu and Salahuddin accepted the memorandum at about 10pm after a brief stand-off with the organisers.

Hadi, when addressing the crowd, said he would take a closer look at the memorandum submitted by the two NGOs and decide on whether to render assistance.

He said PAS recognises unity in diversity and for this reason, the party was willing to accept and study the memorandum handed by Pewaris although the latter supported the ISA.

Hadi stressed that the abolishment of ISA would not mean that Malaysia would become a lawless society as there would be ample laws to safeguard the security of the nation.

"What is important is that the accused person be given an opportunity to be brought before a court of law and there would not be any detention without trial," he said.

‘Abuse of the law’

Teo, representing the DAP, said the ISA had been abused by the government to detain Sin Chew journalist Tan Hoon Cheng, Selangor executive councillor Teresa Kok and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

"What were the reasons for their arrest under the ISA? For Tan, the home minister claimed it was to safeguard her security.

"How can you detain someone on the presumption of safeguarding her security? This is a clear abuse of the law," said Teo who is a lawyer by profession.

Norlaila Othman, the wife of ISA detainee Mat Sah Mohamad Satray, said her husband had been detained for close to eight years now.

anti isa campaign 03"Imagine, when my husband was detained, my son was only eight and now he is 15. However, I am sad to see that my son only knows his father superficially.

"This is what the ISA does to you and your family. In my case, we, the family members, are also victims of the ISA," she said.

PKR’s Shamsul Iskandar meanwhile, challenged BN backbenchers to support the abolishment of the ISA.

The PKR Youth chief urged BN backbenchers to support a motion on the abolishment of the ISA when Parliament resumes sitting in February.

"The world is undergoing rapid changes but, however, Malaysia is still bogged down with this outdated legislation which has continuously been used by the BN and Umno prime ministers to stifle dissent," he said.

"It is time we remove this legislation and let proper justice be restored," he said -