One Morning in Bukit Aman


The story is simple. The story is not new. The only thing new is that some of the protagonists are new. Selvach Santhiran Krishnan is a witness in a death in custody case of R.Gunasegaran.

Gunasegaran died on the same day Teoh Beng Hock died last year, but because of the public outcry over Beng Hock’s suspicious death, Guna’s death was overlooked by everybody, except his sister.

Here she tells her story.

Earlier this week, the inquest into his death concluded in an open verdict, despite Selvach Santhiran’s testimony that he saw a policeman kick Gunasegaran in the lock up. Gunasegaran was later found dead.

His body was kept in horrid conditions and by the time a second autopsy was ordered, his remains were so decomposed that nothing conclusive could be derived.

But that story is not over. Selvach Santhiran, the witness, was allegedly beaten viciously in front of his family by a bunch of policemen before being taken away.

The public, outraged by this gross abuse of power by the police, turned up today at the police headquarters in Bukit Aman to demand his whereabouts and release. Here’s the story.

Below are the pictures of the morning gathering.

Today, after waiting awhile and being given the runaround, we were told that Selvach Santhiran was held under the Sec 39 B Dangerous Drugs Act (Special Preventive Measures).

human rights lawyer N. Surendran.

Selvach Santhiran’s wife, crying for her husband, while the police told us to disperse.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya demanded to know the cop in charge’s name and was told it is one ACP Kang or Khang.

Several MPs also turned up, including PAS’s Khalid Samad (Shah Alam), Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor) , PKR’s Sivarasa Rasiah (Subang) and Charles Santiago (Klang).

Film maker Fahmi Reza with his own placard.

A hundred odd people turned up in support of the memorandum to the police today. Thanks guys, for turning up. It was a multi coloured turnout, and that alone gives me hope that someday, we will be Malaysians first and turn up whenever a brother Malaysian is facing injustice.

Murder, Massacre, Mayhem…Misery


For a couple of weeks now, I have been unable to blog.

Yeah yeah. Bitch…bitch, rant, whine. 75 million blogs in the world. Who bloody cares if you don’t write?

Sorry, alter ego escaped.

Anyway, the reason I’ve been unable to blog is that I’m speechless. Marinate that in dumbfoundedess, add a fistful of shame, and lastly, stir in a dollop of futility. Coat it with a sprinkle of sadness and deepfry.

Voila! Abject misery, ready to serve.

Why?

Too much misery in this world. Contagious. Late last month, some Pakistani blokes decide to teach Mumbai a lesson. Jihad is fashionable these days and these GPRS-toting gunslingers wanted to check out of life while making a big statement. Death to the infidels of the west, the filthy Jews and idol-worshipping Indians!

I have loved ones in Mumbai. Even if I didn’t, I still would have been aghast at the impunity with which some people kill and maim their fellows.

Nothing new. Murder and mayhem has formed the piquant sauce that greased the mill of human civilisation through the ages.

That battle-weary, desert kingdom that was Iraq was trampled to the ground under the guise of “Freeing the people from the despot that was Saddam Hussein”. Yet the Nisour Square massacre of last year proved that an average Iraqi’s life matters even less to the occupiers.

It is interesting to note that it is the five trigger-happy Blackwater employees that were indicted couple of days ago, but not Blackwater Worldwide. Not the company.

This outfit must have serious clout remain unscathed despite mounting criticism and calls for oversight, even from the ranks of the US military that it claims to support.

This is a company that won USD1billion contract from the Pentagon to render security and logistics services related to postwar reconstruction in Iraq.  Erik Prince is one of the many pigs feeding at the huge war trough made possible by the Bush administration featuring cowboys like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Bremer and their likes.

While I join the Iraqis and a lot of people around the world in welcoming the news, I wonder if in the end, all the legalese and the manoevring by the defense lawyers will get these murderers off, scot free.

After all, there is that interesting CPA Order 17 that reads

Contractors shall not be subject to Iraqi laws or regulations in matters relating to the terms and conditions of their Contracts, including licensing and registering employees, businesses and corporations; provided, however, that Contractors shall comply with such applicable licensing and registration laws and regulations if engaging in business or transactions in Iraq other than Contracts. Notwithstanding any provisions in this Order, Private Security Companies and their employees operating in Iraq must comply with all CPA Orders, Regulations, Memoranda, and any implementing instructions or regulations governing the existence and activities of Private Security Companies in Iraq, including registration and licensing of weapons and firearms.

Sure. They are charged in the United States now. But hell, I don’t have much faith anymore in authorities doing the right thing.

Meanwhile, it is business as usual for Blackwater and the rest of the hyenas for whom the heightened security concerns in post 9/11 world has presented a capital opportunity.

I mean, the dogs of war has gone private in a big way.

On the other side of the coin, people who will bomb everybody else to kingdom come, so they check into the heaven of 72 virgins a little early.

Both parties have guns and bombs.

God help this world.

DNA Bill: Why Malaysians Should Be Alarmed


The DNA Identification Bill 2008 has been a contentious one since it was introduced in Parliament on August 17. Lots of Malaysians would not have remarked much on it since everyone’s attention was focused on the Permatang Pauh by-election.

It was passed in principle barely 11 days later, after the second reading, on Aug 28, 2008. The Opposition MPs in Parliament even staged a walkout to protest the move.

Why?

A DNA Databank is good, don’t you think? I think so too. However, this is an area covering liberty and freedom. And in Malaysia, more often than not these days, your freedom depends on whether the Police and the Home Minister think you are a threat or not.

Not whether you have been convicted of a crime.

At a time when the public confidence in the Police and the Home Ministry is at an all time low, provisions in the DNA Bill is worded to give them carte blanche.

This is the gist of the arguments against the passing of this Bill by the Opposition. Also, the manner in which it was rushed in Parliament (cutting queue) over the Universities and Colleges Bill also raises concern, especially since Anwar Ibrahim’s trial was due to start on September 12.

You may think the manoeuvres are just political, for a political end. But consider this, whatever law passed by Parliament will have repercussions in the future well beyond what you and I can fathom at this moment. Hence the worry.

Let’s examine some of the clauses, provisions and other stuff.

Function of DNA Databank

5. The function of the DNA Databank is to store DNA profiles and any information in relation thereto from any forensic DNA analysis carried out by the Chemistry Department of Malaysia or Forensic Laboratory of the Royal Malaysia Police, or any agency or body as may be designated by the Minister from time to time by order published in the Gazette.

Power of Minister to designate agency or body to carry out forensic DNA analysis

6. (1) The power of the Minister to designate any agency or body to carry out forensic DNA analysis under section 5 shall only be exercised in the event the Chemistry Department of Malaysia or Forensic Laboratory of the Royal
Malaysia Police is unable to carry out any forensic DNA analysis.

(2) The Minister may, in the order referred to in section 5, specify that the forensic DNA analysis to be carried out by the agency or body so designated shall only be for the purposes mentioned in subsection 4(2) subject to such terms and conditions as he may impose.

Wow! Home Minister is really directing things here.

Appointment of Head of DNA Databank, Deputy Head and other officers

7. (1) The Minister shall appoint a police officer not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police as Head of the Forensic DNA Databank Malaysia for such period and on such terms and conditions as may be specified in the instrument of appointment.

The Head has to be a POLICE OFFICER! And wait, it gets better and better.

Sec 13 (7) A police officer may use all means necessary for the purpose of taking or assisting the taking of a non-intimate sample from a person.

ALL means necessary. You figure out the permutations of that implication. To make it more vivid, imagine yourself accused of a crime.

Sec 15 talks about the administration of samples given voluntarily. But it is somewhat schizophrenic when you consider that in Sec 14 there is this clause.

Refusal to give sample

14. If a person from whom a non-intimate sample is to be taken under this Act

(a) refuses to give such sample;

(b) refuses to allow such sample to be taken from him; or

(c) obstructs the taking of such sample from him,

commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.

I’m sure most of you English-literate readers have heard of of the term Catch 22. This section encapsulates that Joseph Heller-coined phrase. You’re screwed, whatever you do.

Information from the DNA Databank to be conclusive

24. Notwithstanding any written law to the contrary, any information from the DNA Databank shall be admissible as a conclusive proof of the DNA identification in any proceedings in any court.

Now this gets really scary. What this section is telling you is that if your DNA is found at a scene, it places u there. Suppose you cry on some guy’s shoulder and he later on goes somewhere and gets killed, you are a suspect, based on the DNA from your tearstains.

And how can this be conclusive? DNA evidence around the world are meant to be corroborative and has to work with other evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, in determining guilt or innocence of the accused. DNA fingerprinting itself is not foolproof, as numerous instances how.

Check out this news.

Remember that the earlier sections authorised a police officer to employ “all means of getting your DNA”. Now tell me, shouldn’t you worry?

Protection against actions and legal proceedings

25. No action, suit, prosecution or other proceedings shall lie or be brought,

instituted or maintained in any court against―

(a) the Minister;

(b) the Head of DNA Databank;

(c) the Deputy Head of DNA Databank;

(d) DNA Databank officers;

(e) a government medical officer; or

(f) a chemist,

in respect of any act, neglect, default or omission done by him in good faith in carrying out his powers, functions and responsibilities under this Act in such capacity.

So, say you are innocent and yet was made to suffer as a suspect, you can’t even seek redress in a court of law. So tell me, under the full might of the government, you are worth nothing. So you’re innocent of the crime? Oops, too bad.

Savings and transitional

27. Any existing DNA profile and any information in relation thereto kept and maintained by the Chemistry Department of Malaysia or Royal Malaysia Police, immediately before the coming into operation of this Act shall, on the coming into operation of this Act, be deemed to have been kept and maintained in and to form part of the DNA Databank established under this Act in accordance with
indices applying.

That just means this law is retroactive. That means all those who had been examined and had their samples taken before by the police, will come under this rule.

Even when you watch CSI you would see a lot of instances of evidence deemed inadmissible in court because improper procedure and not following the safeguards that the law put in place so that the innocent is not persecuted and procsecuted.

This Bill, in its current form, has not taken into account all the safeguards necessary. We do need a DNA Bill. It has to be looked at and debated and thoroughly examined so that it does not compromise that one important thing. JUSTICE.

To that end, I implore you readers to reject this bill in its current form. Let’s get the AG’s chambers to work harder for a comprehensively researched work that will stand the test to time. After the way they botched the Batu Putih case, I am sorry my confidence in them is nonexistent.

To record your disagreement with the bill, go here.

I am no lawyer, but this bill already looks dodgy to me. Do you wonder why the Penguins are up in arms?

This Bill gives too much powers to the police at a time when they stand accused of brutality and heavy handedness with the public. They are behaving like thugs and you wanna put this time bomb in their hands?

Pete…


Pix curi from The Star

Good to see the guy, albeit with more hair. Went hunting for my No-ISA T.shirt over the weekend. Supplier was out. I guess i’ll go again tonite.

They took him to the court for his Sedition trial today. I wonder though, even if he wins this case, he’s still be behind bars thanks to Albabu and Dol Keropok who just kena keropok by his fellow Umno brethren.

What goes around comes around.

Till then, take care, man!

Theresa Kok’s Statement on Her Detention


This is police intimidation coupled with knee-jerk reactions.

I guess the dogs in PDRM was just following orders from their political masters.

Teresa Kok’s press statement

I have been released after being detained in solitary confinement in a 6-by-8 holding cell for seven days under the Internal Security Act (ISA). I was informed by the police that they detained me under section 73(1) of Internal Security Act 1960, which means I have incited racial and religious tension and conflict.

After being detained for seven days under the guise of so-called investigations, the police failed to produce any evidence or proof of me being involved in the activities of causing racial and religious tension. They were only able to ask me few questions based entirely on the false and malicious article written by Zaini Hassan under the topic ‘Azan, Jawi, JAIS, UiTM dan ba-alif-ba-ya’ that was published in Utusan Malaysia on Sept 10, 2008.

The three main questions that the investigation officers asked me were:

1. whether I have mobilised a group of residents at Bandar Kinrara to present a petition to oppose to the azan at the Bandar Kinrara mosque;

2. whether I have made a statement that 30 percent of the Selangor Islamic Department (JAIS) allocation is to be given to other non-Islam religious bodies; and

3. whether I have opposed to the Jawi-wording road signages in Kuala Lumpur.

Read the rest of her statement here.

Now ask yourself, don’t you think Utusan Malaysia should be made liable for their rabble -rousing, erroneous reporting? I think Theresa Kok has a case here. She already sued them by the way.

Knee Jerk Reactions That Will Destroy Us Malaysians…


…are a dime a dozen these days.

I refer specifically to the storm generated by the forum organised by the Malaysian Bar Council, on religious conversion.

Let’s be rational about this whole conversion business. Can you? After all, religious conversions are something you undertake in a sane frame of mind, aren’t they?

So the issues that came up with it will have to be discussed in the same way.

This discussion is about rights and aimed at the possibility of reaching an understanding that will hopefully someday result in equitable legal resolution.

Faith is, for all God-fearing people, an issue that it sacrosanct. But we are human beings and our interpretation of what the holy books say may be flawed even.

Let me ask you something however. What if the enforcement of religious rule result in patent injustice and denial of basic human rights? What if it breaks up families? What if it results in whole families suffering because a man’s adoption of another religion grants him a loophole that enables him to escape from his responsibilities?

As it is, many women and their children are suffering because some husbands left them in the lurch. Even Muslim wives seeking redress in the Syariah Court often fail to get it. A man can often get away without paying alimony to the wife he left.

That was the Syariah Court. The topic of the moment involves the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court and the Civil Court and how the glitch in our legal system that our lame-ass legislators have no political will to fix, is causing a lot of suffering.

So the Bar Council forum was timely. But insecure people will do what they will, tacitly approved and aided by both the police and our government.

But what about these issues of justice and equity? I ask because there are a lot of cases emerging in recent times that points to this flaw in our legal systems that results in a breakdown in families.

It is nicely documented by this blogger. Go check it out.

Bar Council VP Ragunath Kesavan, made a statement on Monday about the protest generated by the forum and I would like to draw your attention to this part…

“At the end of the day, if we cannot speak about this, then who else is going to bring up these issues, ” he told a press conference yesterday.

Ragunath said the council’s forum on conversion to Islam on Saturday was not intended to question Islam as the official religion of the country nor its position as provided for in the Constitution.

“The issue here is matrimonial matters involving a Muslim and a non-Muslim. There is a lot of unhappiness among non-Muslims on how such matters are handled at present.

“There is no proper legal representation for issues involving property and child custody. That is why the forum was organised. “

Ragunath said such forums were a healthy way of promoting better understanding and providing the right solution through proper discussions.

“I don’t think the way forward is to have a closed-door meeting to come up with a solution and impose it on the people. It does not work. You need to understand the problem faced by the people and try to help them with it. – NST Online.

Blogger Rockybru in his posting asked this series of questions.

Should the Bar have gone ahead with the forum in the first place? Should it have held it when we are more ready, like after they’ve held equally controversial forums on other religions? Or, perhaps, after the Pakatan Rakyat has formed the Government? Would PR be more tolerant of such a discussion on Islam? – Rocky’s Bru

I don’t think banking on the Pakatan Rakyat government, if it ever gets in to power, is a wise move. Why can’t this government do something about an issue that needs to be looked at? What would be the right time to bring this up? What is the guarantee that Pakatan Rakyat will be more amenable to this kinda discussion? We don’t know, do we?

There are other rumblings out there about why Islam was singled out? Again I tell you morons out there,  this is not about singling out Islam. This is just some issues of legal jurisdiction when it comes to  conversion as well as inter-religious marriage.

Ours is a multi-ethnic, multi-faith country. These issues are relevant and should be addressed before they become another Natrah/Maria Hertogh incident that rocked Singapore decades ago.

And if you say your religion, whatever faith choose to profess, can turn a blind eye to injustice and unfairness, then I pity you.

Troubled Times Ahead


Some years ago, my sister did time in that hospital for the mentally ill down south. Yeah, Tampoi. She told me the story of a patient who suffered from a delusional disorder that made him think everyone is “out to get him”.

This man was apparently given a hard time by his boss, and decided to run away from his workplace. Running away though, he kept hearing voices telling him that people around him will grab him and return him to his boss.

These voices amplified further when he was on a bus journey away from the area. Confined space in the bus made it worse. So this guy, in his “best defence is a good offence” mode, went berserk in the bus, and started slashing people.

This story made news, and I remember an interesting aside of a girl who was also in the bus, who was going to Kuala Lumpur for some kind of audition. She got slashed on her face. I suppose that put paid to her acting/singing ambitions.

All that carnage, because of this man’s extreme paranoia. He got committed, and told my sister once that he heard guys on the bus “saying” that “this is the guy. Let’s catch him and take him back to his boss”.

Now, before you dismiss this story as pointless ramblings, I do have a point.

Consider the balance of political power in Malaysia today. A series of protests happened last year that brought out the “best” in our boys in uniform. It was a challenge to authority in a way that we had not seen since the Anwar Saga part 1 (1998).

This year’s March 8 elections was a watershed in so many ways. However, what they told us about how riots would break out if Barisan Nasional was to be defeated, DID NOT happen. BN still holds the reins of federal government, but you know what I mean don’t you?

That jolt to UMNO and BN’s system has not subsided. Indeed, the fear is growing. Anwar’s Sept 16 threat, that was publicly dismissed, is burrowing holes in the UMNO psyche. How affected they were by the threat of losing power, we saw with Pak Lah’s disclosure of the unity talks with PAS. That was a desperate measure, any coffee shop pundit will tell you.

Of course, now that that story is out, it shakes the coalition even more. I mean, BN’s coalition partners must be seething now. What a stupid thing to disclose…Pak Lah.

Now, Anwar is running for Permatang Pauh. Barring disqualification by a technicality (SPR is perfectly capable of doing this) or assassination, this by-election is a walkover for Anwar. Whoever BN fields in this constituency, will lose. On top of this, remember that Permatang Pauh is Penang. This is Pakatan Rakyat country.

So, as the Anwar juggernaut continues to move, it is only increasing the fear within UMNO and the government.

They still hold the reins of power. They still command the army and the police. There has already been “joint exercises” reported.

Now, you should look up words like “saboteurs”, “agent provocateur”(not that naughty underwear label la :P) and several other related words.

Even a peaceful public demonstration for the cause of say, victimised Pasar Malam traders, can turn into something really ugly, justifying the use of force and water cannons and teargas.

It could escalate into civil unrest. Although, to our credit, this will not be a race riot. No matter what they say. This thought I had was echoed by one big time blogger recently. And I’ve been worried since.

The democratic process in Malaysia might be derailed by people interested in preserving the status quo. Let us not give them the excuse to start that spark. It is, you all know, very hard to control a mob.

Doesn’t take much for us to descend in to the chaos of Zimbabwe, if u really think about it. I’m afraid for the coming months.

I’m afraid for the earnest boys and girls who will be standing out there for what they believe in.

You see…I will be there too.

Walking on the wild side with Zaid Ibrahim


Lawyers must have evolved from eels. They can be both aggressive and slippery. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Zaid Ibrahim was largely slippery this morning as he dealt with a barrage of questions and demands from both the media folks and the bloggers.

Zahid addressing questions from the media at the National Press Club Malaysiakini\'s Steven Gan interviewed by journalist Bradadan Kuppusamy

The police missed their dose of laxative and as such were their usual constipated selves when a group of media folks and bloggers wanted to march (walk, rather) to the National Press Club in Jalan Tangsi. They were restricted to single and double file for fear of disrupting traffic. This was early Sunday morning when KL-ites are still in bed. Go figure. 

 Well-attended event, this. Saw lots and lots of familiar faces. Put some of them up here. Run your cursor over the pictures for captions.

Wong Chin Huat, chairman of the Writers Alliance for Media Independence and Ahiruddin Attan (Rocky), All Blogs chairman outside the NPC before the walk to Dataran Merdeka. The crowd spills from NPC, heading to Dataran Merdeka

This event was The Walk for and Talk on Media Freedom is organised by media activists, including Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Writers Alliance for Media Independence (Wami), National Alliance of Bloggers, and BENAR. It is hosted by the National Press Club (NPC) and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

 Blogging Lawyer Harris Ibrahim of People\'s Parliament takes some furtive shots with steady hands Walk...never mind if the scalp burns

The usual lot of bloggers were there. Ungker Zorro, Rocky, Ewoon, Shanghaifish, Jalan Sudin, Little Taffer, Wattahack, Harris Ibrahim and the People’s Parliament regulars Helen Ang and Paul Warren, Sinister Shar, KL Confidential‘s Yati and Vijay, the experienced Meesh, Tony Yew who played MC.

Too many cameras never spoiled Dataran Merdeka Birds of a feather. Journos M.Krishnamurthy, Nuraina Samad and Shahanaz Sher Habib

But what was even more heartening to see were the mainsteam media folks. Spied at the sardine-packed NPC was Norilla Daud (UtusanMalaysia and NUJ chair since forever) and her sec, Hong Boon How.

Seen AND heard was Shaila Koshy and group chief editor Wong Chun Wai from The Star. Lurking somewhere was journos M.Veera Pandiyan, A. Asohan,  journalist/playwright Kee Thuan Chye, Shahanaz Sher Habib, Hariati Azizan all from The Star, A. Gayathry from CIJ, Malay Mail’s Baradan Kuppusamy, Claudia Theophilus from Aljazeera, columnist KJ John and Malaysiakini folks, among others.

Some of these folks have been part of the push for a freer Malaysian media way before “blog” was a word. Some weren’t there today. But for once, there was a show of cohesion today, even if there was no MSM head honcho there from NST, The Sun, Berita Harian, Utusan Malaysia. In fact, their absence is rather conspicuous.

Chun Wai asked if to start with, the govt would be open to the idea of issuing KDN (publication) license on a one-off basis as opposed to the annual renewal practiced presently. Zaid passed the buck to Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar and said he would support whatever his cabinet colleague’s take on the matter. Lame!

Zaid plays politician and lawyer quite well. He responds to calls for freer media by saying, “Are you saying there is to be no control on the media whatsoever? Who is going to regulate it?”

He knows the answer. There are enough laws in place and even a media watchdog comprising industry seniors could be formed to regulate the media. Misinformation can be helped. Disinformation must be stopped.

Rocky hams it up for YewTube 

Shaping public opinion is a huge responsibility. Maybe the govt doesn’t trust the media to self-regulate. But what it had done for decades now, is worse. It had used the media that was to help the public make informed choices, as a disinformation tool.

So, who really needs control? The media? Or an irresponsible govt whose many gaffes are crawling out of the can everyday, these days?

You tell me.

The show\'s over folks. Now, balik...balik...BALIK!

So, was today a success? Naah, it is a gesture of some kind, it was a show of another kind, but whether something more will come out of it depends on whether this kinda coming together of the mainstream media, advocacy groups, civil society groups and bloggers can be sustained.

The stakes ultimately are the repealing of draconian laws. Does Zaid have the guts to throw himself behind this cause? Is today’s meet worth anything?

Let’s wait and see.

Between National Security and Public Order, We Malaysians Get Trampled


I know, I know, I sound like a cross between a  “tree-hugging hippie crap” my friend IZ used to describe, and an American ACLU-type.

But that’s the nice thing about free flow of information. You get to read what other people think. The Industrial Revolution about 200 years ago resulted in so much exchange of ideas that it had a profound effect on society as a whole.

Why? Because knowledge was suddenly available to many, and inventors were followed up by innovators, improvement upon improvement took place and the modern age was ushered in with modern conveniences and in many ways, modern thought.

Modern norms brought out women to work and today, women are an integral part of any nation’s economy. Even in the societies largely “protective” of its womenfolk.

Civilisation is a dynamic thing. It has to go on. Hey, it is part of mankind’s evolution as a race. For civilisation to move forward, it has to have ideas. Ideas have to be communicated. Communication has to be free if an idea is to bloom all the way to fruition.

Discourse has to be free. Just think…if Isaac Newton was strung up the nearest apple tree for heresy when he propounded his theory about universal gravitation…where would we be today?

The point of my meandering writing so far is, when you curb free speech, society as a whole will suffer. We Malaysians would do well to remember that.

In the wake of 9-11, many countries fearful of the Twin Towers’ scale of horrifying terror acts, have instituted tough preventive laws and measures to ensure this senseless carnage doesn’t happen again.

This has led to many instances of injustice as we all have seen, from the shameful Guantanamo Bay chronicles to the enaction of tough laws like POTA in India, Prevention of Terrorism Act in Britain among others.

To be fair, India has been a target of terror attacks too long for its government to just sit back and watch, while Britain had its own terror bombings and attacks thanks to the friendly folks from IRA.

Malaysia and Singapore however, have been content to rely on the colonial relics that are the Internal Security Act and Seditions Act to take care of these fears. In Malaysia’s case it has been used more to curb any deviation from government-instituted normal behaviour than to incarcerate actual terrorist types.

Which is why over the years we Malaysians have seen such a motley crew of characters as guests in that government-run retreat that is Kamunting, under ISA, which allows for detention without trial.

 For instance we had Hilmy Mohd Noor who was ISA-ed because he wanted to renounce Islam. We had the current Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as imprisoned under Sedition Act for not knowing the difference between “imprisoned” and “detained”.

There were the Jemaah Islamiah member, Kumpulan Militan Malaysia (now who calls their own group “militant”, this name is a no-brainer lemme tell you).

There is alleged Al-Qaeda middleman BSA Tahir, apparently still inside. Not to mention the Hindraf Five, the current posterboys of government persecution. For a more comprehensive list, go here.

You see, I’m sure there are existing laws to charge people who have flouted our laws in court and punish them with sentences if found guilty.

But both the Mahathir and Abdullah administrations have found it more expedient to incarcerate people without the benefit of a trial.

Abdullah could have set so many things right when he had his overwhelming mandate in the 2004 elections. But he did little things of significance. His omissions more than actions have led to the rising disenchantment among the electorate.

This weak leader might as well be the catalyst of destruction for UMNO and indeed the so-called multiracial coalition that is Barisan Nasional.

Which may be good news for Malaysians and indeed Bumiputeras, who hope for a better tomorrow. However, it is imperative that we, the rakyat,  keep a sharp lookout. Let us not forget that some of the election pledges of Pakatan Rakyat coalition looks like a drunkard’s promise. Let’s keep them on a tighter leash.

Otherwise, three years down the line you will think of this line…

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss.