Abullah said those detained by the police recently for taking part in illegal gatherings in and around Kuala Lumpur were not held under Operasi Lalang II, and that the government has no plans to carry out another Operasi Lalang.
In the October 1987 Operasi Lalang, more than 100 Opposition leaders including MPs, trade unionists, Chinese educationists and social activists were detained under the ISA in a crackdown against dissent. Former DAP MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng and I were the last two Operasi Lalang detainees to be released, after being incarcerated for 18 months.
Although Abdullah’s statement is meant to give assurance that the government
has no plans to launch another Operasi Lalang at present, it
is not really reassuring, as his assurance is very strictly limited
to the recent street demonstrations, and there is no general statement
and commitment that the government will never again resort to mass
ISA arrests against the opposition.
As Abdullah is also the Home Minister, can he give a solemn undertaking that there would be no Operation Lalang II whether before or after the general election and that the Internal Security Act would never again be used against the opposition, NGOs and dissent?
During Operasi Lalang in 1987, the Ministry of Home Affairs banned three newspapers. Last week, the Home Ministry banned the Mister Weekly Chinese magazine for carrying an article on the arsenic poisoning of the former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. I call on Abdullah to fully explain the reason for the banning of the Mister Weekly magazine and to take immediate action to restore the KDN publishing permit to the magazine.