He said: “How does one balance national security with democracy and human rights? There are situations that need some sort of thinking.”
Musa has asked the wrong question. Why should national security on the one hand and democracy and human rights on the other be placed in an adversarial context, as if it is a zero sum game where one can only be advanced at the expense of the other?
Shouldn’t the question be: How could national security be strengthened by democracy and human rights?
As former Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Musa knows that terrorists are not born, they are made. There is no terrorist gene. This is why the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has asked the United States to deal with the root causes of international terrorism, in particular political repression and economic injustice as best illustrated by the 50-year Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
We should not countenance a situation where the Malaysian government speaks the language of democracy and human rights at the international plane but while uses a different language of political repression and economic injustices at home.
In fact, Suhakam, established by Parliament to “protect and promote” human rights, has the statutory responsibility to convince the Malaysian government that the lessons to be drawn in the aftermath of September 11 is that there should be more regard for democracy and human rights to remove the conditions which spawn all forms of extremism and terrorism - instead of the outrageous suggestion of democracy and human rights taking a backseat.
I am seeking a meeting with Musa to propose more democracy and human rights rather than the reverse as the lessons to draw in the aftermath of September 11.