Is Operation Lalang 2 in the
works with Johari’s warning of more ISA arrests and that the police had
submitted another list of names for ISA arrests?
by Lim Kit Siang
Is Operation Lalang 2 in the
works with the warning yesterday by the Deputy Internal Security Minister,
Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum of more Internal Security Act (ISA) arrests and
that the police had submitted another list of names for ISA arrests?
In giving the warning in Jitra yesterday, which was given front-page
headlines by the New Sunday Times “WARNING OF MORE ARRESTS – ‘Necessary
action’ to be taken under iSA”, Johari revealed that “a list of names
had been submitted by the police and it was only a matter of time before
several others were detained under the ISA”.
Is the country again in a scenario of “It was never a question of whether
Internal Security Act would be used but only a question of when”, quoting
Wong Chun Wai’s “On the Beat” in today’s Sunday Star – “A Very
Difficult Task To Handle”?
Malaysians must find this state of affairs most shocking and outrageous.
When Johari disclosed that “a list of names had been submitted by the
police” for persons to be arrested by the detention-without-trial law, how
long is the list? Is it for a score, several scores or even up to over a
100 names as was the case with the infamous Operation Lalang in 1987?
What is the basis for the Police to prepare and submit such a list to the
Prime Minister-cum-Internal Security Minister for a new round of ISA
It would appear that it is politics rather than security which is now the
driving force demanding a new round of ISA arrests – as evident from the
closed-door meeting of some 1,000 UMNO division leaders and members in
Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Yesterday’s UMNO meeting was an occasion for the crystallization of UMNO
demands and pressures for indiscriminate use of the ISA. The New Sunday
Times report “Disappointed over ‘slow response’” on the UMNO
meeting yesterday confirmed the gung-ho attitude of certain UMNO
rank-and-file quarters on the indiscriminate use of the ISA against
critics and dissent in utter disregard of the fundamental principle of the
Rule of Law on the inalienable human right against any arbitrary detention
I call on the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to make a
Ministerial statement in Parliament tomorrow on how many names had been
submitted by the Police to him for detention under the ISA and to give an
assurance that there would not be another Operation Lalang mass detentions
under the ISA, which will be even more damaging to Malaysia’s global
reputation and international competitiveness than the first Operation
Lalang mass detentions exactly 20 years ago!
Abdullah must also give an assurance in his Ministerial statement that he
would keep strictly to the letter and spirit of the law and not abuse any
powers in invoking the ISA, as for instance in signing a Ministerial
detention order under Section 8 of the ISA before there was any police
arrest, investigation and recommendation under Section 73 of ISA.
In his 22 years as Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had never
by-passed Section 73 of the ISA before a Ministerial detention order was
issued. Why had Abdullah acted in so unprecedented, irregular and unlawful
Abdullah defended his detention order of the five Hindraf leaders and
activists, P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan
and T. Vasantha Kumar under Section 8, bypassing Section 73 of the ISA as
He said: “It (the 60-day requirement) is not necessary. Under Section
8(1), if the minister is satisfied that that it is necessary to detain
someone from acting in a manner prejudicial to the nation’s security, the
minister can issue a detention order directing that the person be
The Prime Minister has been gravely misinformed and wrongly advised about
the powers of the Internal Security Minister under Section 8 of the ISA.
Is Abdullah seriously suggesting that he need not depend on police
investigations and recommendation under Section 73 of ISA and can even
issue a Ministerial detention order under ISA solely depending on
political pressures from UMNO quarters?
A full inquiry should be held as to why the Attorney-General or the
Internal Security Ministry’s legal advisers had not advised Abdullah about
case law that no Ministerial detention order under S. 8 can properly be
issued without a necessary investigation by the police under S. 73.
Horror of horrors, the country is now being told that the Minister has
another list of names for him to sign detention orders under ISA. Are
these all going to be straightaway Section 8 Ministerial detention orders
without any prior police detention and investigation of up to 60 days
under Section 73 – creating a “revolution” in ISA in its application in
its 37-year history?
This is why a Ministerial statement by Abdullah in Parliament tomorrow on
the ISA, the threat of another Ops Lalang 2 as indicated by Johari and the
new-fangled way of its application, is most imperative in the national
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman