GERAKAN MANSUHKAN ISA (GMI)
Press Statement: 29th October 2012
OPERASI LALANG PAVED NEW WAYS FOR AN OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT
Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (“GMI”) remembers the dark episodes of Operasi Lalang in 1987 which ultimately led to the formation of family support group known as SUARAM and later, GMI, a mass movement to abolish ISA.
The ISA, until it was abolished in 2012, was used as a political tool to silence dissent from the opposition and civil activists to secure the advancement of the ruling government. In a despotic swoop of 106 opposition political leaders and civil activists during Operasi Lalang, all imaginable freedoms and democratic space have been revoked by the government.
The oppressive period of Operasi Lalang has created a trickling effect up to this day, where government organs and agencies are the best machineries used to suppress opposition and criticisms against the ruling government. The machineries’ recent attack on SUARAM is an example.
Whilst the branding exercise of Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 is convincing, it fails to distinguish itself from the ISA. There are familiar provisions in SOSMA that legitimizes detention without trial and provides room for arbitrary exercise of powers by the Home Minister. It is almost obscene to note that the arbitrary powers are still contained in SOSMA. However, SOSMA expressly excludes political prosecution. This is a sign from the 55 year-old government acknowledging its mistake of arresting political opponents at Operasi Lalang.
At present, 29 individuals are still being detained in Kamunting for allegations that were never proven. In fact, the relevance of ISA in present time was doubted by PM Najib himself. The question is why are there still detainees at Kamunting? The answer lies not in S32 of SOSMA 2012 but in the best political climate to release the political hostages.
GMI hereby demands that all detainees be released and for the government to move away from oppressive form of governance which was proven through the passage of time to be detrimental to meaningful progress of a dynamic government. A government that is committed in serving its people, rather than oppressing them.
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)