Aliran Monthly 31: 9 editor’s note

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Najib’s announcement about the imminent repeal of the ISA and emergency era laws caught many by surprise. As Anil Netto writes in our cover story, it vindicates a half-century long ‘people power’ struggle against detention without trial laws.

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This journey is instructive: it illustrates to us vividly that the struggle for justice and freedom is often long and arduous. But it also shows us what is possible if we persevere until enough people stand up to be counted and a critical mass is reached.

Kua Kia Soong, however, wonders if this is going to be a case of old poison in a new bottle. Malaysians, he says, would do well to demand that there is no return to detention without charge. That’s the point which Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, who spearheaded the Abolish ISA campaign in recent years, reiterates.

More good news came when the Australian courts blocked a refugee swap deal with Malaysia, for which Tommy Thomas is thankful. The merits of the case, he notes, would never have been determined by our courts.

Another case grabbed the attention of Angeline Loh: the case of Japanese multinational corporation Asahi Kosei which was suing human rights lawyer Charles Hector over entries in his blog about migrant workers’ complaints.

Finally, Mustafa K Anuar looks back at the Bersih rally and laments over how the mainstream press disregarded the Bersih phenomenon. That was tantamount to abandoning journalistic and a commitment to truth and social responsibility.

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