24 October 2017
Monday Retweeted TheMalaysianInsight
Ibrahim “The Toad” Ali still croaking strong despite being irrelevant in today’s political scene.
If ISA around, Chinese would stay away from Bersih rallies, says Ibrahim Ali
Malay-rights group Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali says he is the sole member of parliament to oppose the repeal of the Internal Security Act despite being detained twice under it. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, October 24, 2017.
October 27 marks the 30th anniversary of Operasi Lalang, where 106 people were detained without trial and the publishing licences of three newspapers were revoked. The episode remains a grim reminder of what can happen in the absence of check and balances, a deep scar in the Malaysian psyche. To mark this day, The Malaysian Insight speaks to those involved in the dragnet – the victims and their families, detention centre wardens and police.
CONTROVERSIAL Malay rights activist Ibrahim Ali does not have nightmares about Ops Lalang. Nor does he look back with anger at his detention without trial under the Internal Security Act.
Instead, he said the detention taught him the need for a powerful security law to safeguard national security and keep the peace in Malaysia.
“I got a clear picture of the need to safeguard national security while I was under detention, when the police explained the situation to me,” he told The Malaysian Insight.
In today’s context, Ibrahim says the ISA would have stopped large numbers of people, specifically the Chinese, from gathering in the Bersih street demonstrations.
“If the ISA was still in existence, how would the Chinese be brave enough to be involved in such large numbers in demonstrations as we see now, including the Bersih gatherings,” he said.
Ibrahim was among the 106 people detained under Ops Lalang in 1987.
He was detained for 58 days under Operasi Lalang and two years later, for 60 days following a student demonstration.
He suggested that the ISA be reviewed to reduce the detention period from 60 days to 30 to allow police to conduct investigations. Family members should also be allowed to visit during the detention period.
“I’m the most qualified to speak on this issue because I was arrested twice under the ISA,” said the former MP of Pasir Mas in Kelantan.
On September 15, 2011, Najib announced the abolishment of the ISA.