"" THE ROAD NOT TAKEN: Internal Security Act (Malaysia)

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Friday, 12 September 2008

Internal Security Act (Malaysia)

Allow me to quote from the man who crafted the ISA, the late Reginald H Hicklings:

“I could not imagine then that the time would come when the power of detention, carefully and deliberately interlocked with Article 149 of the Constitution, would be used against political opponents, welfare workers and others dedicated to non-violent, peaceful activities.”

and

“Organised violence” was the key to the preamble of the ISA and that I had drafted to detain communist insurgents without trial, but in later years, a lot of people were being arrested who had nothing to do with organised violence (communist insurgencies) at all.”

The first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, defined the purpose of the act as;

"to be used solely against the communists...My Cabinet colleagues and I gave a solemn promise to Parliament and the nation that the immense powers given to the government under the ISA would never be used to stifle legitimate opposition and silence lawful dissent".

The third Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, stated at the same time that his administration;

"had enforced the act only with a view to curbing communist activity, and not to repress "lawful political opposition and democratic citizen activity".[1]

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