ISA Isn't Solving Anything!

The recent development of issues at the political level are worrying. What was supposed to combat national security now only reveals political insecurity. The Internal Security Act was passed in 1960 under Article 149 of the Constitution of Malaysia curb or prevent any form of threat to national security. Detainees who were arrested without trial, could be taken in anywhere between 60 days to 2 years (the duration varies under different provisions and circumstances).

In 1948, preventive detention was used to combat the armed insurgency against the Malayan Communist Party. The Emergency Regulations Ordinance 1948 was made, following the proclamation of an emergency. The ordinance was a temporary mechanism to counter acts of violence. Eventually, it became a tool in the constitution to deal with any form of threat to national security, under the discretion of the Home Minister.

Yesterday, I was shocked to understand that three citizens were arrested under the ISA. These three, one a politician, another a writer and the other a journalist, were merely executing their duties to ensure the nation's security and interest.

Malaysia, as it is going through a politically trying time, has become a stage for all sorts of shows. We've seen a whole slate of scandals from government officials. We're witnessing the people's growing dissatisfaction with the ruling government. The recent election results only communicated the people's desire for change, if not political integrity. And, now the nation is engaged into the possibility of a new government forming. This has become the climate in the country.

Sadly, tools like the ISA are seen to be used by the government to quash threats to political security. Such preventive detentions only circumvent the basic rights to speak out and defend the causes for which one is fighting for. Adequate legislation should be put in place of this draconian mechanism. The court of law should be the platform to counter such insecurities.

The ISA should be repealed.

I liken the use of ISA to the parent who made a judgement call on his squabbling children. The two children were playing with their toys peacefully. The older child decided to grab the younger siblings toys for himself. The younger one protested and proceeded to grab what belonged to him. The kids went on back and forth, grabbing toys from each other. Their screams and shouts grew louder, and finally woke the sleeping parent. Father came out to the living room, only to catch the younger one with flailing hands and an angered face. Without querying he marched up to the younger child, spanked him, dragged him to his room and locked him up, refusing to listen to what the child had to say. The older child, though shocked, was soon contented having acquired the toys that didn't belong to him. Father returned to sleep.

Malaysia Boleh!


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