Friday, October 25, 2019

Ops Lallang - Did Anwar in Cabinet publicly protest? Did other PH leaders, then in BN, object? Some past stories..?

Detention Without Trial(DWT) - No Trial - No Judicial Review of the Reasons Used By Government to Detain. If the allegations were true, then the government would have charged them in court, and if true, the courts will find them GUILTY - but alas, no, reasonably the allegations used for such detentions are questionable if note 'FAKE"..

The DWT laws still exist in Malaysia - we are approaching 27th October, the anniversary of Operation Lallang, when about 106(or more) were arrested and detained under ISA.

We recall some of the pass media reports and statements...Remember Mahathir was PM...and Anwar Ibrahim was in the Cabinet. Anwar never openly protested the arrests and detention without trial of so many - Mahathir is PM now, and Anwar maybe the next PM...Should they not apologize, repeal detention without trial laws and maybe compensate ALL victims?

Many DAP leaders were also victims - Is DAP still committed to abolition of Detention Without Trial laws - or, has their position changed soon after they became government with other PH parties..

Maybe, no 'FAMOUS' or 'prominent' persons are victims today - but values and principles we hold demands all DWT laws be repealed, and everyone be accorded a right to a fair trial... 

We have seen that the Government and Ministers so easily BLAME the police - forgetting that they are totally responsible for all wrongdoings and/or omissions of the police or any public servant. 

Parliamentarians forget it is they that enacted these Detention Without Trial laws and the other anti-human rights law...

REPEAL all Detention Without Trial laws...

Irene Xavier.

KUALA LUMPUR: Irene Xavier was spending a quiet evening at her brother’s home in Singapore when the police suddenly barged in and arrested her.

It was October 1987 and the Malaysian authorities were cracking down on anyone they considered a threat. Back then Xavier, a former government school teacher, was a prominent activist for workers’ rights in Malaysia.

She had been educating workers about participating in unions, how they could vote, and how they could take charge instead of depending on union leaders to work on their behalf.

“I don’t think the government liked it,” she said with a hint of a smile, in a recent interview with FMT.

At the border, the Singaporean authorities handed her over to the Malaysian police, who took her to jail on what she still claims were trumped up charges.

“They accused me of attending communist meetings in the Philippines. They said I had made a speech there, which was not true. And they said I spoke Tagalog, which I don’t.”

She was locked up in a windowless police cell for 60 days, with no way of knowing whether it was day or night.

It was difficult to keep track of the date, because she could only count each passing day in her head.

“Basically I was held at the whim of the government. I didn’t have access to any real information. I couldn’t watch television, and of course I had no newspapers. Whatever they told me, that’s the only information I got,” she said.

“During the 60 days, they didn’t tell me where I was or how long I would be held.”

They interrogated her nearly every day. Afterwards, back in her cell, she would replay each session over and over again in her head.

“You would fill your head with questions. They asked this, so what are they actually trying to get? Should I have said this? Maybe I should not have said that. Am I putting other people in danger?

“You have a very active mental conversation with yourself on each day you are confined,” she said. 

“I guess that’s the only way to stay relatively sane.”

She recalled a time during one of the interrogation sessions when she was beaten by a male police officer.

“He beat the soles of my feet. It was painful, but I was more angry. How dare they beat me! And they could have done much worse if they’d wanted to. There was nothing I could do to stop them.”

She refrained from asking for anything from her captors, as she had learned that when she did they would use her request as leverage in exchange for information and cooperation.

After 60 days, most of the detainees had been released, except for her and three other women.

One day she was unexpectedly taken out of her cell and put in a van with the other three and taken to the Kamunting detention centre. There, they told her, she was to be detained for two years.

She recalled the three of them being incarcerated in a wooden building in a kind of dormitory with a kitchen and a shared toilet. Every evening at 6pm they were locked in for the night.

“We just concentrated on getting through each day,” she said, adding that if she ever thought about how many days she still had to serve she would begin losing hope.

“Passing the time was a problem. When we asked for books, it took them a long time to give us any.”

One of the things the women found to fill their time was gardening.

“There was a patch of rough ground. We asked for seeds and the authorities were easier with that than books. So we planted anything we could get and tended to what became our garden.

“The rehabilitation officers would come once a week and make us sing the national anthem and read the Rukun Negara,” she said. “We were permitted to write four letters a week, but we never knew whether they had been posted or not.”

Out of the four women, Xavier was the last to be set free.

When she was told she was going to be released a year early, at first she didn’t believe it as she had prepared herself to be detained for much longer.

“We knew that other detainees had been held for at least five years. Many were even held for 10 years or more.

“I tried not to think about how much longer I would be held in detention, because if you do that you will lose hope very fast,” she said.

What does she now think were the reasons for her arrest in Operation Lalang, and her subsequent detention without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA)?

In that operation, beginning Oct 27, 1987, 106 people, including NGO activists, opposition politicians, intellectuals, students, artists, scientists and others were arrested.

The official reason for the crackdown was to prevent the occurrence of racial riots.

“No, it definitely wasn’t about race,” Xavier said. “The real racists were never locked up. And nothing happened to Umno, which was shouting all these racial sentiments.”

She believes the main reason she was detained was her work in organising plantation workers. She and her colleagues had been trying to get them to participate in the National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW), the largest and richest trade union in Malaysia at that time.

“We wanted the workers to ask questions because they were very unhappy with their conditions.

“In the plantations, there were many common violations of labour laws that the union should have been taking up. They wouldn’t do it, so we at Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS) took them up instead.”

She also believes that Ops Lalang was Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s doing.

“He was prime minister. Without his consent, nobody would have carried out such a big operation and picked up hundreds of people,” she said.

Addressing current developments, Xavier attributed the veteran politician’s personal victory to his switching allegiance to head Pakatan Harapan (PH).

“They needed a person like him in order to win,” she said, adding however that she doubted the extent of his commitment to the PH agenda.

“Maybe he is committed to parts of it, such as 1MDB and prosecuting former prime minister Najib Razak, or perhaps allowing the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to do its work properly, but that’s about it.”

Xavier added that when Najib abolished the ISA, he may have believed the move would boost his popularity among the people.

“The PH government says they’re going to do away with it all (preventive detention laws) but we are still waiting,” she said.

For now, her struggle continues as she believes workers’ rights are not high on the PH agenda. 

However, she acknowledged that some improvements had been made.

“There are some things that we can do now, which we were not able to do before. We can have town hall meetings and discussions with people in power. We have some access to ministers,” she said.

Xavier said being detained never deterred her from continuing to fight for workers’ rights. This firebrand may be older but her passion for workers is as strong as ever.

She is not bitter, just determined. “If I don’t continue the fight, I will have wasted all that time in detention.

“After they did that to me, I am not going to give up now.” - FMT, 4/11/2018

DAP MP recalls how Ops Lalang took her father

Kasthuri Patto
Published:  |  Modified:
MP SPEAKS On the 28th anniversary of the Operasi Lalang, it is more apparent now than ever that BN risks too much letting go off the demon of Operasi Lalang with increasing numbers of arrests and charges under the Sedition Act, Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota), Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA), Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) and the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA).

At 11.50pm on Oct 27, 1987 my father P Patto (photo) was heartlessly taken away not from his duties as an MP but as a husband and father when he was arrested under the cruel pitiless Operasi Lalang crackdown charged under the Internal Security Act.

Oct 27 will always remain a poignant date etched in the memories of the 119 detainees, their families, my mother and myself, who had been wrongfully and unjustly imprisoned under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in the major crackdown against critical voices against draconian oppressive, and regressive policies of the then BN government.

Seventy of them were released within the first 60 days of investigation and the remainder 49 including seven DAP MPs were served with two-year detention periods in Kamunting Detention Camp in Taiping.

The detainees of Operasi Lalang consisted of elected representatives, educationists, trade unionists, church workers, environmentalists, social activists, academicians, religious leaders, environmentalists, intellectuals amongst others.

In the old and tattered book entitled 'The Real Reason: Operation Lalang ISA arrests 27 October 1987', one can read the real reasons fabricated and manipulated by the then authorities to not just nab but to intimidate the men and women who weren't afraid to voice out their thoughts against an autocratic and an imperious BN regime.

Those who were arrested had various baseless and unjustifiable charges against them, but the most glaring ones were against the DAP MPs which were the most heinous.

The number of charges against the five DAP MPs totalled a whopping 34.
  • Among the charges concocted and falsified by the home affairs ministeragainst the five DAP MPs:
  • Allegations of pitting the Chinese against the Malays in the deposit-taking co-operative scandal.
  • Allegations that the government is only interested in one race and suppressed the liberty and rights of other races.
  • Allegations that MCA and Gerakan had sold the fundamental rights of non-Malays to Umno.
  • Allegations that the government did not administer the country according to the constitution.
  • Allegations of the government closing down Chinese and Indian schools.
  • Allegations that a racial demonstration was held outside the entrance gate of Universiti Malaya (UM) and the mention the UM Senate decision concerning the the use of Bahasa Malaysia in electives for Tamil Studies Department of the university.
  • Allegations quoting a case of Sim Kie Choon and Mokhtar Hashim to incite a clash between the Malays and the Chinese in Penang and Ipoh.
The last allegation, which was against my father P Patto and Mr Karpal Singh (photo) , was a clear fabrication of lies and deception as no such function was held at the junction of Jalan Laksamana and Jalan Foo Choo Choon on that day.

While in essence, the home minister appeared adamant and resolute to lock up as many voices of conscience and resistance as he could in 1987, it was also ludicrous and nonsensical that despite thorough explanations by P Patto denying the existence of such an event, he was still charged under it.

It is 2015 and we see the demon of Operasi Lalang rearing its ugly head again with its increasing number of arrests and charges of MPs, state assemblypersons, lecturers, students and student leaders, a cartoonist, members of the civil society and such under the brutal, draconian Sedition Act, Sosma, POota, PAA, Poca and the PPPA.
Channel News Asia today featured an article entitled 'Malaysia's human rights have been eroded under PM Najib'.

An article like this does not raise eyebrows for the Malaysian public any more.
And the answer is obvious - fundamental human rights have not only been trampled on but has been ensured that it is culled even before it stems.

Karma as we know it creeps up when we least expect it.

We have Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was prime minister of Malaysia and home minister from March 17, 1986 till Jan 10, 1999 who to this day denies responsibility on iron-fisted abuse of the already oppressive ISA which saw thuggish arrests of 119 voices of dissidence against the government.

Mahathir has yet to apologise for the prostitution of democracy and human rights in Malaysia during his authoritarian rule for 22 years.
Mahathir (photo) may not be 'in power' now but the seeds of abuse of power, oppression, brutal injustice and selective persecution still continue to grow wild like the lalang he once attempted to weed out in 1987.

The decay, decomposition and rot of human rights in Malaysia is more prevalent now under the various acts like the Sedition Act, Sosa, Pota, PAA, Poca and PPPA available to be violated at BN's whims and fancies.

On the 28th anniversary of the Operasi Lalang, it is more apparent now than ever that BN risks too much letting go of the demon of Operasi Lalang with increasing numbers of arrests and charges under the Sedition Act, Sosma & Pota, PAA, Poca and the PPPA.

Malaysia and Malaysians can only have a future if BN can put aside and rise above inter-party and intra-party tussle of power to put nation-building and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by abolishing acts that dissolve and suppress freedom and justice in this land.

I have no confidence in the prime minister not because of the RM2.6 billion donation or the 1MDB scandal but because of his mammoth U-turn and backtrack after making a promise to repeal the Sedition Act, but he had reinforced it with his purulent disregard in upholding fundamental liberties and human rights for all Malaysians - even the voices of dissent.

KASTHURI PATTO is the MP for Batu Kawan and vice-chairperson of Wanita DAP, Penang.- Malaysiakini, 27/10/2015

'...Dr Mahathir shut down The Star, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Watan for five months. And most of us, including this writer, lost our livelihood. In the case of The Star, we had taken a strong stand on the Chinese school issue.

On the morning of The Star’s suspension, a Special Branch officer, who was a friend, called me up to say we should have breakfast.

We went to a nearby coffeeshop, and as he discreetly inquired about my work, I was unaware how the day would pan out. Working in Penang, I had no idea the Home Ministry would deliver the suspension order to my editors in KL.

My SB friend had come to see me too early – he just wanted to know what the reporters would be doing next, as he had to file a report. I told him later that we had been asked to go on leave indefinitely.

But as the day proceeded, we were glued to our computers as news kept pouring in, almost incessantly, of people being arrested.

While we were familiar with the Opposition politicians, some names just drew blank looks. It was very much later, that the police revealed that some were arrested for communist activities, and some church leaders taken in accused of converting Muslims. And since they were ISA detainees, it was decreed there was no need for details to be provided.

One person I kept updated of the arrests was academician Dr Chandra Muzaffar, who called me. But since I was on my lunch break, I told him I would call him back. And, to my word, I called him back, though it was his wife who answered the phone and told me, “they took my Chandra away.”

There was another rude shock. Someone I met for tea at Gurney Drive, where the Consumer Association of Penang office was located, was subsequently arrested. She was CAP’s legal official, Meenakshi Raman.

Frightened and shaken, the National Union of Journalists held discussions with the Home Ministry and police, and was assured that no reporters would be arrested, but not many believed what they were told.

Just months earlier, Dr Mahathir had already lost his patience with the NUJ for getting its members to wear black armbands to Parliament and to stage protests outside their newspaper offices nationwide against amendments to the Official Secrets Act.

A few of my editors fled, fearing their names were on the list, and in the days before the mobile telephone, it was impossible to reach them. Well, they would not be using any device today either, for fear of being detected.

Few of us slept peacefully at night, worried that the cops would come knocking. We learned that the cops preferred to make arrests in the wee hours of the morning since the targets’ defences would be down.

But it was the five months’ suspension that hit us the hardest. Christmas and Chinese New Year passed, without any news of us returning to our jobs, and funds were running low.

There were many sympathetic employers, but they, too, expressed belief that we would return to our newsmen jobs, and they were not wrong. We love our jobs too much.

Paradoxically, the loss of a job did not deter me from winning the heart of my future wife, Florence. Even though I was jobless, penniless and possibly, without a future, they were not issues with her. For me, I didn’t have to think twice, this was the woman I wanted as my wife. And she is the best thing that has ever happened to me....' ..Read more at

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