Operation Lalang (Weeding Operation; also referred to as Ops Lalang) was carried out on October 27, 1987 by the Malaysian police to prevent the occurrence of racial riots due to the provocation by the ruling government towards DAP. The operation saw the arrest of 106 persons under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the revoking of the publishing licenses of two dailies, The Star and the Sin Chew Jit Poh and two weeklies, The Sunday Star and Watan.
COMMENT Many would remember the headlines of The Star dated Oct 28, 1987 which screamed out ‘DETAINED. 19 picked up in swoop. Operation Lallang ISA arrests’. On the front page appeared pictures of 15 freedom fighters and activists, victims, who had been detained under various charges, all concocted and falsified by the then-home minister and the government for holding views opposing to those in power.
Those who were detained were never brought to court and tried for a wornout charge of being “a threat to national security”, something that would not have stood the acid test of a judiciary system in a court of law.
It was absolutely dreadful that voicing out legitimate concerns and rights of every Malaysian regardless of race, religion or creed can be deciphered as inciting, provoking and even to some extent rabble-rousing racial tension and anxiety by the then-prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, an indictment that all the accused shared.
These political detainees were subject to many kinds of interrogation and accusation, but worst of all were the charges hurled at them of being unpatriotic and inflaming racial sentiments making them all victims of political persecution when it was the government who embarked on chauvinistic, utterances in instigating and stoking racial tension amongst the ethnicities in the country.
My father, the late Patto, also served 18 months under this draconian law in the infamous Kem Tahanan Perlindungan Kamunting, Taiping where he also graduated with the rest of his peers and comrades. The despicable charges launched against him and other ISA detainees seem to be not far off from each other.
This act of demonisation of the ISA detainees could not break the tenacity and the steadfast determination of my late father and his comrades in upholding the tenets of the party, the struggle for a free, democratic Malaysian Malaysia based on the principles of human rights, equality, social and economic justice founded on the institution of parliamentary democracy.
…Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, self-declared Bapa Transformasi, had made a much anticipated announcement on the eve of Malaysia Day, Sept 15, 2011, that the wretched draconian ISA will finally be repealed. This move was accepted in good faith and was supposed to propel the PM as a visionary with many, many transformation programmes up his sleeve.
Two years down the rocky road, the cries of the PM has turned out to be nothing more than lip-service aimed at securing support and garnering votes for his own survival in Umno and grasping on to the helm of leading this sovereign nation.
KASTHURI PATTO is member of parliament for Batu Kawan.
The ghost of Ops Lalang 1987 continues to haunt us
COMMENT BN’s Tanjung Karang MP Noh Omar has been quoted as saying that Malaysia will not be a country at peace if Operasi Lalang had not been carried out in 1987.
He said this on Oct 22, during the debate in Parliament on the amendments to the Security Offences (Special Measures] Act (Sosma). The amendments seek to place organised crime as an offence punishable under Sosma.
Noh (left) said there was a threat of racial riots in 1987, resulting in the dragnet that saw more than 100 innocent Malaysians arrested and detained without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
I was one of those detained and I happen to be one of the few Malaysians who have been documenting and monitoring Umno and the way it orchestrates “sensitive issues” whenever there is a crisis facing the party.
Yes, like the May 13 pogrom, Ops Lalang was also orchestrated by Umno. Unlike May 13, we have the benefit of more media coverage and more witnesses among the present generation regarding Operation Lalang.
Noh, wrong! Ops Lalang was orchestrated
The Malaysian Bar
|‘Ops Lalang brought peace, so will Sosma’|
|Thursday, 24 October 2013 09:34am|
|©Free Malaysia Today (Used by permission)
by Alyaa Azhar and G Vinod
While defending the actions taken during Ops Lalang in 1987, Noh Omar said that Sosma is vital to deal with the nation’s new threat – gangsterism.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia may not have been a peaceful country if not for Operasi Lalang in 1987 which saw scores of opposition leaders and members of civil society arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act, said Umno MP Noh Omar at the parliament today.
“In 1987, the nation almost saw a racial riot as some non-Malays started questioning Malay privileges. Without the ISA then, Malaysia may not have seen peace,” said the Tanjong Karang MP.
The former cabinet minister said this while debating the amendments to the Securities Offences ( Special Measures ) Act 2012 (Sosma).
In 1987, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched a nationwide crackdown and arrested more than 100 people under the ISA, on the grounds to protect the national security.
Although most arrested were leaders from the opposition parties, a few Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders such as MCA’s Chan Kit Chee and the then Umno MP Ibrahim Ali were also detained.
Defending Sosma, Noh said the government was looking forward in terms of national security and accused Pakatan Rakyat leaders of being regressive for opposing Sosma.
“Since ISA is no longer around, we have Sosma. Now we have new threats, gangsters,” he said.
The former Umno supreme council member said that gangsters were now wrecking havoc among Malaysians, causing public order concerns.
At this juncture, PAS MP Hanipa Maidin stood up and said that the events of the 1987 were started by Umno and MCA themselves.
“Who was it who said that he wants to dip his keris in Chinese blood?” asked Hanipa, alluding to then Umno youth chief Najib Tun Razak.
At this point, the House erupted forcing Deputy Speaker Ismail Mohamed Said to adjourn the sitting for lunch break.
The Malaysian Bar – ‘Ops Lalang brought peace, so will Sosma’
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