In what seems to be one of the most dramatized acts by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to swing middle-class voters in the coming general election into his camp, the premier raise some eyebrows when he announced that the cruel 1960 ISA (Internal Security Act) and Emergency Ordinance, of which allow for indefinite detention without trial, would be repealed (*yawn*). However both would be replaced by two “new” laws supposedly against suspected militants. Obviously this is another rebranding exercise hoping to swing less intelligent voters from the opposition camps.
Heck, the sudden announcement caught many by surprise, even by huge crowds within the opposition. Hence one has to admit the latest move by PM Najib deserves some compliments – it was one hell of a good political advertising, tactical speaking. The opposition parties were in total chaos on how to react to such a brilliant political move by the ruling government. If PM Najib were to announce such move on the same day as budget day next month, he’s almost guaranteed of the lost two-third majority. Hold on a second! Didn’t Najib promised political and economic reforms in 2008 but the people have yet to see or at least feel the substance?
You really need a Einstein to explain why in the world would the ruling government abolish both laws, which had help the present government in suppressing and oppressing peoples’ basic freedom rights, particularly the opposition, for as long as one can remember. On the surface, it seems Najib administration has finally admitted something needs to be done in relation to the recent Bersih 2.0’s brutal crackdown. At least Najib recognizes the potential loss of more than 200,000 votes from the young generation, if the number of Facebookers asking for his resignation is anything to go by.
Many are still wondering how can a government who was so silly as to arrest anyone wearing yellow two months ago could suddenly regain its intelligence and realized the obsoleteness of laws such as ISA and Emergency Ordinance. Make no mistake about it – the government has no intention of letting go of the ISA, Emergency Ordinance or whatever laws which are useful in suppressing anyone who speaks against the present government, although the laws were meant to combat “real” terrorism in the first place. The fact that replacement new laws are ready to take its place shows the same ISA will still exist, but with more flowerish language and sexy “book covers”.
Furthermore, Najib administration would need time, earliest by next year, to do away with the controversial laws. So, there’re tons of time for Najib to flip-flop, if indeed there are strong objections from within its own party to abolish the laws. Thus, people should not count their chickens before they’re hatched. Is there any difference between a fellow who put a knife to your throat and said “I wanna rape you”, and a fellow who point a gun at your head and said “Excuse me, can I fuck you?” The ISA needs its long overdue rebranding since it was used more than 50 years ago and what better time than to do it now ever since the popularity rating of Najib is tumbling.
Heck, if possible, Najib would like ISA to be commercially advertised with muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger and babe Pamela Anderson saying “ISA means I Sayang Anda”. Anyway what could be the “distant” reason that PM Najib is toying with the idea of abolishing the ISA law? Could this latest move a hedge against the possibility of the emerging of a new government post next general election, so much so Najib is taking proactive measure to prevent his party from being subject to the same draconian laws at a later stage?
Sure, the moment opposition wins (with convincing majority) the coming general election, almost all the present government top officials would be queuing at the KLIA for their next flight out of the country. However even if that is true, there would be insufficient flights simply because there’re just too many of them (corrupt officials). Well, this will not happen. The most that could happen would be the spouses, kids and very close relatives flocking out of the country. The very corrupt top guns would still remain in the country hoping to make a comeback, with all the ill-gotten fortunes transferred out already.
Assuming the present government lost the war and the opposition forms the new government (which is very unlikely), then to ensure the survivability of the present government, laws such as ISA, Emergency Ordinance and whatnot cannot exist as the opposition (which would be known as the new government by then) could easily feed the same medicines to the present government. Again, this will not happen as the coming general election would be the dirtiest ever. First, you have Indonesians being given citizenship with condition to vote for the present government. Now you have Bangladeshi workers given citizenship in exchange for their votes.
As much as Najib administration tries to deny such allegation, the fact that such claims came from the website (has since taken down) of the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office carries extreme weight. Heck, if only apes could talk, they would be registered as voters and taught how to mark the ballot papers in favor of the present government parties in exchange for bananas. Regardless whether the abolishment of ISA was votes-fishing strategy or was a far-sighted tactical move to saveguard Barisan Nasional in case of the unthinkable, one should not count their chickens before they’re hatched. As of now, the ISA is still in place, alive and kicking.
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