DAP deplores the use of ISA to detain Oppositionists, calls for the immediate release of all arrested today and urges  Mahathir not to launch a new Operation Lalang crackdown against the political Opposition and civil society dissent

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): DAP deplores the use of the Internal Security Act to detain Oppositionists, including Parti Keadilan Nasional Vice Chairman Tian Chua and opposition activists Hishamuddin Rais and Saari Sungib this evening.

DAP  calls for the immediate release of all persons detained under the infamous ISA with provides for indefinite detention without trial and if the authorities have evidence that they have committed any offences, they should be charged in court where there could be an open trial.

DAP also calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir not to launch a new Operation Lalang crackdown against the political opposition and civil society dissent to protect  his own vested power interests.

Last Tuesday on April 3, 2001, when introducing the Third Outline Perspective Plan (OPP3) (2001-2010), Mahathir had made a most menacing speech, threatening to  "break from so-called international norms" to bring "the full force of Malaysian laws" against opposition parties he accused of  inciting racial hatred and colluding with foreigners to topple his Government.

I had immediately criticised and deplored his speech, asking whether the OPP3 and  the National Vision Policy was a prelude to a new Dark Age of gross  human rights violations in Malaysia. Now this has come to pass.

The use of the ISA to detain Oppositionists marked the sidelining of Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi as Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, as he had staked his reputation so far on not using the notorious ISA to silence the opposition.

It is no coincidence that the greater assertion of power by Mahathir comes close on the heel of his statement in Gua Musang responding  to Tengku Razaleigh’s call that he remain as Prime Minister and UMNO President until after the next general election that he is prepared to do a KSM - Kerja Sampai Mati - and would remain as Prime Minister, scuttling earlier announcements of retirement from the office during mid-term to hand over the reins of power to Abdullah.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman