At the Shah Alam Convention Centre today, the Pakatan Rakyat announced its manifesto for the upcoming General Elections that covers the socio-economic as well as political plans should it succeed in wrestling power from the Barisan Nasional. Among the points included inside this manifesto is that “the Federal Government to release and apologize to all ISA (Internal Security Act) detainees from the past to the present.”
This seems to be the thing Lim Guan Eng has been pushing for all this while. First, we need to understand that the ISA was an Act that served its purpose for the time it was appropriate for. It gave the authorities the time needed, or to curb clear and present dangers that threatened the public morale, security and the economy of the country. In short, the ISA was without which would not have allowed us to prosper the way we do now, draconian or not.
Among those detained under the ISA included communist terrorists and their agents, potential terrorists who are only potential terrorists by virtue that they had not managed to blow something up yet when they were nabbed; foreign agents, counterfeiters who would have sabotaged our economy. And most importantly, it was used during the “Ops Lalang” of 1987 in order to diffuse a potentially explosive racial riot where a fair share of people from both the Barisan Nasional and the Opposition got held under that Act, and the nation was once more saved from disaster.
Apologising to former detainees is a form of exoneration from all wrong-doings for the former detainees. Maybe this fits the agenda of allowing communists abroad home, like what the elements in DAP and their stooges inside PKR and PAS have been championing. There must be more than meets the eye here as Chin Peng’s origin is Setiawan, Perak. Anyhow, this is probably the reason some quarters from the Opposition have ben seen frequenting the Peace Villages of Yala. Freeing potential terrorists with known connections would also be detrimental not only to our security, but also to our neighbours’ security. Perhaps, there is a camaraderie between them that terrorist acts will only be conducted abroad. Hey, I’m on a roll here, but I know I am warmer than warm! But face the fact, releasing these people would do more harm than good.
The irony is, the Prime Minister, whoever that would be, will also have to apologise to Tun Dr Mahathir, arch-nemesis of the Prime Minister-designate, or so the latter thinks he would be. Tun Dr Mahathir was once held in detention under the same Act for criticising the government of Tunku Abdul Rahman in his book. Mind you, the Tun was the last person to be held under that Act for political conflict with the government. Lest we forget that the same Prime Minister-designate also had both Ummi Hafilda Ali and Azizan Abu Bakar nabbed under that Act to try get them change their statement concerning an act of sodomy by the Prime Minister-designate. Would the latter apologise to them as well having abused the ISA to serve his political interest?
To sum it all up, this latest manifesto by the Pakatan Rakyat is not a feasible one. In its point on releasing and apologising to ISA detainees and former detainees will do more harm to everyone than good. Having a manifesto is good, but I see a lot of missing points in this new manifesto. For example, the 15 percent oil royalty for Kelantan and Terengganu have not been included, so we know how important the welfare of these two states is to the Pakatan Rakyat, taken or a ride. Or whatever happened to the RM500 assistance to teachers as promised in the infamous Buku Jingga?
In the end, a Pakatan Rakyat manifesto, in my opinion, will remain just another unrealistic and unachievable manifesto like the one issued before the previous general election. Of course, the Pakatan Rakyat already has a script ready for that in case anyone asks…