Archive for the ‘ISA’ Category

Because of its deployment of the ISA as a political tool, Malaysia will always remain a “quasi” or semi-democracy, says Johan Saravanamuttu.


The continued detentions of the five Hindraf lawyers under the ISA and blogger Raja Petra Kamaluddin in 2008 under the Abdullah Badawi government is one of the most cynical acts of this so-called ‘moderate’ and retiring leader of Malaysia. The detentions and then the releases of journalist Tan Hoon Cheng and DAP politician Teresa Kok also count as among the dastardly acts of a politically bankrupt government. The Home Minister’s facile excuse that the ISA was used to ‘protect’ Lee and Kok must rank as the political joke of the year.

As of today, Malaysia still has 62 persons detained under the ISA. In a written answer given to Parliament in 2005, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was then also Minister for Internal Security, said that in all, 10,662 people had been arrested under the ISA in the past 44 years, 4,139 were issued with formal detention orders, and 2,066 were served with restriction orders governing their activities and where they live. In addition, 12 people were executed for offences under the ISA between 1984 and 1993.

The more serious political event involving the direct use and abuse of the ISA occurred in 1987. Just the year before, there was yet another patent abuse of human rights in the form of the Memali incident. The 27 October political crackdown on opposition leaders and social activists known by its police code name, “Operation Lalang” (weeding operation), saw the infamous arrests of 106 persons under the ISA and the revoking of the publishing licences of two dailies, The Star and the Sin Chew Jit Poh and two weeklies, The Sunday Star and Watan. As this event is possibly the most significant in Malaysian political history since the May 13, 1969 ethnic riots, it bears some recounting.

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chinchin  They stripped me of everything, starting with my own clothing, and my rights as a human being, recalls Lim Chin Chin of her ISA detention during Operation Lalang.

I tossed and turned upon the wooden board, unable to close an eyelid.  I became aware that  torture in prison is not inflicted by means of the bars, or the walls, or the stinging insects, or hunger or thirst or insults or beating.  Prison is doubt.  And doubt is the most certain of tortures.
 – Nawal el Saádawi
Memoirs from the Women’s Prison

The above quote by Nawal el Saádawi has captured very succinctly the power and terror of the Internal Security Act (ISA).  My own experience testifies to the truth of it.

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Picked up this from Haris (People’s Parliament) and Laila’s (Hitam Merah) blogs.

Teater Bilik Sulit is a play that features the untold true accounts of the nature of Police interrogation of the ISA detainees which are based on testimonials of those who used to be detained under the ISA.


In conjunction with the International Human Rights Day, The Bar Council in collaboration with Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) would like to extend an invitation to all of you ladies and gentlemen to Teater Bilik Sulit which is going to be held on these dates :

20/12/2008 (Saturday)

Venue : Bar Council Auditorium, Level 1

Time : 8.30pm

Space is limited, kindly RSVP.

For more info kindly contact 012-4651671 @ fadiahnadwa9@

By Wong Chin Huat

10 Dec 2008 at 10.00am

NO, your eyes do not fool you. Nor have I been visited by Special Branch officers and “turned over”.

I was at the Petaling Jaya Civic Centre car park Sunday night, 7 Dec 2008, attending the weekly anti-Internal Security Act (ISA) gathering. A passionate speaker lamented that there were so few Malaysians there because they were afraid of the ISA. He was also disappointed that corrupt governments can be overthrown once and again by demonstrating crowds in Bangkok, but not in Kuala Lumpur.

The gentleman could not be more wrong if he thought the causality works only in one direction — that the ISA causes people to shun demonstrations. It actually works both ways — the ISA also exists because of some people’s fear of demonstrations and all other forms of political expression.

Also, one could not be more wrong to think that the ISA is merely an evil tool of the Barisan Nasional (BN) to control citizens. It is not a complete falsehood when BN politicians claim that the people want the ISA since they support a ruling coalition that desires the ISA.

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From ‘I Am Malaysian’


I found THIS from Aliran. They are excerpts of writings by ex-ISA detainees, reliving their moments under the ISA, in solitary confinement, deprived of their rights. I reproduce here some that have spoken to my heart. If you have the time, do go to the link and read them all.

Abdul Aziz Ishak: They said, ‘Datuk Raja Abu Hanifah and Ishak Haji Mohamed have confessed. So why should you not do so?’ I was not deterred nor deluded by this line of approach. Had they not begun to realize even yet that the answers I had given to their questions were honest? Did they really expect me to break down and tell some other story that would fit in with the confessions?

Syed Husin Ali: ‘You know. I can force you to crawl and lick the floor,’ he shouted. I continued to remain silent. Go to hell with him! If they refused to believe me and wanted to torture me, let them. God would repay them for all they did.

Kassim Ahmad: I wanted to cry but my tears wouldn’t flow. The face of my youngest son, Ahmad Shauqi, nine years of age then and in Standard 3, floated before my eyes. He was the child to whom I was closest. I thought, he surely wouldn’t understand why his father was arrested.

James Wong Kim Min:A horrifying aspect of detention without trial in the Malaysian manner is that the detainee is considered guilty from the start. The old and honourable maxim that a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty means nothing. From the moment I was arrested some officials seemed delighted to regard me as guilty.

Dr Kua Kia Soong: ‘Why don’t you join the Barisan Nasional (the ruling coalition)?’ was a constant refrain and offer that was put to me during the interrogations…. ‘Don’t you know you have been used? We’ve got statements from one of your leaders (also under detention at the time) to show that he has used you all along!’

Dr Tan Seng Giaw: Under sustained duress, detainees can behave in unusual manners. The pressure of a caged person in addition to temporary or permanent damage sustained during the first 60 days can affect detainees’ behaviour.

More from Aliran HERE.

Jamaluddin Omar @ Yeshua Jamaluddin: His interrogators stripped him naked and forced him to enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. As he was made to crawl naked on the floor, for 10 minutes, one Inspector Yusoff told several other Special Branch officers in the room, “Ini orang Melayu tak sedar diri.”

Abdul Rahman Hamzah: They threw ashtrays at him and beat and poked at him with a broom. He had to do endless strenuous exercises like duck-walking, leap-frogging, crawling on all fours and “swimming”on the floor. All these were aimed at destroying his self-esteem and reducing him to a helpless wreck. If he stopped from exhaustion, they kicked him. […] The torture only stopped after he caved in and “confessed” to having planted explosives at the Sarawak Semarak site in July the previous year.

Irene Xavier: “I shall always remember how on the ninth day of my detention, I was beaten with a stick. It was the most humiliating experience in my life. I was forced to stand there while an inspector of the Special Branch beat me with a stick – to remind me that they were not going to treat women more leniently. I was truly in a state of shock.

Chow Chee Keong: An interrogator tried to burn his genitals with a burning rolled-up piece of newspaper. They pulled his hair, stepped hard on his fingers and toes with their booted feet and whacked his back with rolled-up bundles of newspapers.

Dr Munawar Ahmad Anees: “They screamed and screamed and screamed, in my ears, at my face, at me, again and again, over and over asking me to say ‘yes’ until I gave in and broke down saying yes, yes.”

By Deborah Loh

WHEN it comes to justifying the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960, the Malaysian government has honed its replies down pat — after the usual noises about how we still need such laws to keep the peace, they then fall back on the old chestnut — others are now doing it too.

This deft attempt at deflecting responsibility is being repeatedly played out by our leaders, especially now, when faced with growing calls by civil society groups and even from within the Barisan Nasional (BN) ranks to abolish the law.

The simplistic reasoning given by some ministers in justifying the continued use of the ISA is this: why should we get rid of it when Western countries have followed us by creating such laws too? In fact, our leaders are fond of comparing the ISA to similar preventive detention laws in other countries, their favourite picks being the US and UK.

Recently, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi repeated this mantra when asked if the government would review the ISA, as suggested by BN component parties, Gerakan and the MCA.

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This is a photo taken of one of the exhibits by Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI). Click on image to enlarge.


Investigating Officers threaten using different threat methods. Among them:

– Detainee is forced to contain in two separate plastic bags, their own faeces and urine. After that they are threatened to choose to either eat their faeces or drink their urine, if they are unwilling to make the confession.

Note: Illustration is based on a statement by the detainee involved, and is willing to take an oath by the name of Allah and the Quran.

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FREE ALL ISA DETAINEES "The land belongs to the countless numbers of people who are dead, the few who are living and the multitude of those yet to be born". child2