TO: Supporters of Malaysia's Internal Security Act
Come back to your senses. There are no more Communists amongst us. Even if there are, prepare for better arguments against them, in the court of public opinion. Use the blogs to agree or disagree with the best argument you can put forth. I like Barack Obama's pledge when he said,:
"I will listen to you especially if you disagree with me..."
We should only support a regime that will abolish the I.S.A. The Act is our national straight jacket. Below is part 1 of a piece I wrote on this issue.
Remove our 'national security' straightjacket
Azly Rahman Dec 17, 07 12:19pm
"Work with me… not for me."
- Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled for 22 years, once spoke about the nine challenges called ‘The Way Forward-Vision’, said to be a culmination of his work throughout his tenure.The document charted the challenges the nation must confront in order for it to develop on par with the advanced nations.These challenges are summarised as follow:
1. Establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny
2. Creating a psychologically liberated, secure, and developed Malaysian society with faith and confidence in itself, justifiably proud of what it is, of what it has accomplished, robust enough to face all manner of adversity
3. Fostering and developing a mature democratic society, practising a form of mature consensual, community-oriented Malaysian democracy that can be a model for many developing countries
4. Establishing a fully moral and ethical society whose citizens are strong in religious and spiritual values and with the highest ethical standards
5. Establishing a mature, liberal and tolerant society in which Malaysians of all colours and creed are free to practise and profess their customs, cultures and religious beliefs and yet feeling that they belong to one nation
6. Establishing a scientific and progressive society, a society that is innovative and forward-looking, one that is not only a consumer of technology but also a contributor to the scientific and technological civilisation of the future
7. Establishing a fully caring society and caring culture, a social system in which society will come before the self, in which welfare of the people will revolve not around the state or the individual but around a strong and resilient family system
8. Ensuring an economically just society… in which there is a fair and equitable distribution of the wealth of the nation, in which there is full partnership in economic progress
9. Establishing a prosperous society with an economy that is fully competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient
With the Internal Security Act (ISA), how do we then meet these challenges? How is it an antithesis to what a civil society means? Do we still need the ISA?
Snapshot of protests
We are on the threshold of 2008. We have created a larger middle class, educated and imbued not only the taste of progressive Western secularist ideals synthesised with deep cultural and/or religious values still preserved, but also a better understanding of the principles of human rights. We know that Malaysia ratified the 1946 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We know that these involve the rights to the freedom of speech and assembly.
Our nation no longer deserve the ISA or any other intolerable Acts that kill the creativity and imagination of its nation. The ISA is an ideological state apparatus must go if we are to move forward as a nation that is known for it wisdom, intelligence, tolerance, and commitment to social justice - one that takes care of the needs of the poor of all races, without fear or favour.
The ISA which provides for detention without trial for up to two years at a time is anathema to the idea of a civil society. If we charge the detainees in court, we could learn a lot more about the meaning of ‘national security’. It is not merely about maintaining public order but about trying to understand why citizens are publicly acting in manner deemed ‘disorderly’. The history of the use of the ISA is tied to the history of the ruling class and how those who own the means of production own the means of silencing progressive voices of change.