ISA arrests: An open letter to Syed Hamid

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ISA arrests: An open letter to Syed Hamid

Syed Hamid’s performance as Home Minister comes under the spotlight after the recent ISA arrests. Tota takes him to task in an open letter. 

As a politician you are supposed to behave as the servant of the public. As a Cabinet Minister you are expected to display intelligence in your words and deeds. You have to be responsible and observe strict adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law.

However, sad to say, since you took office as Home Minister your behaviour, words and actions expose you not only as irresponsible, totally lacking in logic, and arrogant and bereft of wisdom to boot.

Needless to go back to your performance as Home Minister since March. The latest episode – the arrests under the infamous and obnoxious ISA of reporter Tan, Teresa Kok and Raja Petra – and your reasons justifying their arrests expose you as someone and unfit for ministerial post.

First, you disclaimed any knowledge and involvement in their arrests and that it was the police who did their work “professionally”! We have a tainted police force which necessitated a Royal Commission of Inquiry. A past Inspector-General of Police assaulted a blindfolded Anwar, giving him a black-eye and causing severe injuries. The current Inspector-General is under investigation for allegedly fabricating evidence in Anwar’s Sodomy I trial. ISA detainees are subjected to shameful emotional and mental cruelty. Raja Petra was assaulted by a police officer during one of his previous arrests. A police officer illegally removed forensic evidence from a hospital in Anwar’s Sodomy I trial. The same officer, it is believed, coached Saiful to frame sodomy charges against Anwar. Just imagine hundreds in police custody have died under strange circumstances. Women had been raped in police lockups. How many policemen have been prosecuted for brutality, violence or rape against their charges? You call such a police force professional? You adopt a very careless and callous attitude when the life and liberty of citizens are concerned. The PM also disclaimed any knowledge or involvement in the arrests. You seem to confirm the growing impression that Malaysia is turning into a police state.

Second, you claimed that reporter Tan was arrested under the ISA to give her protection because her life was threatened. Going by your own reasoning, Balasubramaniam’s life was threatened and that is why police are continuing to give him “protection”. Why was he not arrested under the ISA as Tan was to provide police protection for his safety?

Third, Saiful was not produced in court when Anwar was charged for Sodomy II. The reason? Police claimed that his life was in danger. Why was he not also arrested under the ISA to enable the police to give him protection?

Fourth, the reporter was released after an 18-hour detention and we presume thereafter her life was no longer in danger. You expect the public to believe such a stupid reason? Minister, some people believe you have a screwed-up notion of “protection”.

When I was with a local university, I was once teaching a class of girls and told them about the Latin origin of many words in English. I explained the word “lunatic” drawing upon its Latin origin “luna” meaning moon. I told them of the prevalent belief that mad people become madder during a full moon. It was lantern festival time and a full moon lit up the earth. Incidentally, the ISA arrests took place then. The Minister’s behaviour appears to have been affected.

When Islam Hadhari was launched with much fanfare, it was touted as a modernistic, just and liberal version of Islam that would serve as a guiding light to the Umno-dominated BN government. The ISA arrests of the three – the noble reporter Tan, the noble MP Teresa Kok and the noble patriot Raja Petra – were unconstitutional, unjust and cruel.

Worse, the arrests took place during the holy month of Ramadan when piety, forgiveness, compassion and generosity are to be religiously practised by all Muslims. If these values are not part of Islam Hadhari, then keep it for yourself, your boss, Umno Cabinet Minsiters and your Umnoputras. We will keep to the teachings of the Holy Prophet and the magnificent message in the Holy Koran.

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