Monday, January 19, 2009

Why the home minister is coming down hard on ISA protesters

Michelle Yoon, a 22-year-old Malaysian student abroad, posed this pertinent question on her blog, I Am Malaysian:

THE ABOLISH ISA VIGILS: WHAT BRINGS THEM BACK?

Honestly, what brings them back, week after week?

This question, it seems, can be asked to both the public, and the police.

Every week, people still seem to be going back to attend the vigil demanding that the ISA be abolished. What goes on, perhaps those who attend such vigils can tell these stories. And there are plenty out there who do.

But every week, the police come to ask these people to disperse. Every week, that is, since November 10th last year.


[Read the whole post here.]

I LEFT A LONG COMMENT ON HER BLOG, THEN DECIDED I OUGHT TO RECYCLE IT AS A BLOGPOST. SO HERE IT IS...

Michelle, I'm sure you're aware we have a terribly benighted and insecure home minister who's only a first-generation Malaysian citizen. His father arrived from Indonesia and created a political niche for himself by becoming a rabid jingoist and espousing Ketuanan Melayu (even though he was in truth a Yemenite Hadhrami).*

Well, this guy (whom I prefer to call the Potatohead Gestapoman for obvious reasons) has taken the rakyat's defiance as a personal insult - especially since his ill-advised attempt to do a Mahathir and nab three people under the ISA on 12 September 2008. His heavy-handed move backfired, as to be expected. Instead of cowering in fear the rakyat let out a deafening roar of outrage while the whole world shook its head sadly or sniggered, seeing Malaysia's international standing go down the chute so tragically.

Potatohead had been instructed by the Umno Supreme Council to silence Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK), and his botched attempt to block Malaysia Today yielded only a harvest of hysterical giggles from around the blogosphere. So he signed an order to detain RPK for two years.

RPK was out in two months - thanks to a sharp legal team who convinced the judge that the home minister had gravely erred on procedure and had, in fact, grossly abused his power. More embarrassment!

With RPK walking free and leading the rakyat's call to abolish once and for all the repugnant ISA, these weekly candlelight vigils took on an almost religious aura as churches, temples, and folksingers were galvanized into hosting these community events where kindred spirits could meet and network, creating robust, organic interfaces between the virtual and actual world.

Unless nipped in the butt (I mean clipped in the bud) these Abolish-the-ISA gatherings would soon spread like candlefire across the nation and eventually attract thousands - because they were so sweet and significant and Malaysians were always at their lovable best at these rallies.

Everybody except Umno knows the Ketuanan Melayu party is on its last legs. The only weapon it has left is its control of the Polis Di Raja Malaysia and Petronas. The Hindraf protest of 25 November 2007 has shown that teargas and watercannons are a sheer waste of money (didn't stop people from marching by the thousands) and they make the police look really bad. In fact EVERYTHING they do - or don't do - makes the police look bad.


The only thing that can improve their image is if all the uncorrupt officers staged an overnight coup and arrested all their senior officers who have been accepting bribes from criminal syndicates and who were promoted mainly because they performed dirty tricks and broke the law on behalf of Dr M.

Anyway... these days it's hard to tell apart the Umno government and the PDRM. They appear to be run by the same bunch of hardcore crooks. In their puny brains they have computed that once the ISA is abolished by popular demand, people will feel free to express their true feelings. That will ultimately result in all the races realizing they share a common destiny and possess similar values and, in fact, pretty much desire the same things in life. Ketuanan Melayu will become irrelevant and nonsensical, along with the purulent source of this poison, Umno.

The ISA (they imagine) is their lifeline and insurance against being totally obliterated by the forces of evolution. In effect, Umno in its dementia senilis, perceives these harmless middle-class folks gathering every week with lighted candles as specters of its own imminent demise. They imagine people are celebrating the death of Ketuanan Melayu (any decent human being would, so what? :-)... which means, essentially, the end of THE REIGN OF ROBBER BARONS!

That, my dear, just about sums it up. Burrrp.

_____
*Syed Jaafar Albar was named by Tunku Abdul Rahman as one of the key conspirators behind the gory May 13 coup d'etat.
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