Hafiz Yatim | Dec 30, 08 3:33pm
An anti-ISA rally held at the Bandar Baru Bangi stadium last night had a minor hiccup when a group of activists tried to barge in to hand a memorandum to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang seeking his help to resolve the pig farming issue in Malacca.
The group from the Majlis Permufakatan Ummah (Pewaris) and the Gabungan Gerakan Melyu Muda (GGMM) also tried to hand over the memorandum to PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was not present at the rally.
The two NGOs, along with some 200 activists, had came all the way from Paya Mengkuang, Malacca – some wearing T-shirts with slogans in support of ISA and against pig farming – sought the intervention of the two leaders to resolve the pig farming issue in their village which had dogged them for more than three decades.
Paya Mengkuang has recently saw a mysterious wild boar head being hung beside a banner advertising anti-pig farming meeting organised by Pewaris. Pig breeders in the area had denied they were the culprits.
Initially, the activists were not allowed in by the organisers PAS and the Anti-ISA Movement (GMI). However, PAS vice-president Mohamad Sabu and party Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub agreed to meet five of their representatives.
Following that, the activists led by Pewaris deputy chairman, Rahimuddin Md Harun, and GGMM lawyer, Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, met with the two PAS leaders.
Hadi, when addressing the 2,000-strong crowd, said he would take a closer look at the memorandum submitted by the two NGOs and decide on whether to offer assistance.
He said PAS was willing to study the memorandum handed by Pewaris although the group supported ISA, which his Islamic party was trying to get it repealed.
Hadi stressed that the abolishment of ISA would not mean that Malaysia would become a lawless society as there would be ample laws to safeguard the security of the nation.
“What is important is that the accused person be given an opportunity to be brought before a court of law and there would not be any detention without trial,” he said.
100,000 people march in March
Meanwhile, the nationwide anti-ISA movement launched last night will see additional pressures being piled on the government to repeal the draconian law in the coming months.
Part of the movement’s programme would involve road shows and talks nationwide to highlight this discriminatory law, which allows the government to detain a person without trial.
The pinnacle event for the anti-ISA campaign would be a gathering of about 100,000 people in March next year in Kuala Lumpur to step up the pressure on incoming prime minister Najib Abdul Razak to repeal the law.
Last night’s gathering saw opposition leaders led by Hadi taking turns to address the crowd which had gathered at the Bandar Baru Bangi indoor sports complex.
The leaders included PSM president Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim, PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin and DAP’s Serdang member of parliament Teo Nie Ching. Also among the speakers was Norlaila Othman, wife of an ISA detainee.
Opposition Leader Anwar, who was earlier slated to attend the event, was the noted absentee as he is currently overseas.
Unlike an earlier planned event last month, the event at Bandar Baru Bangi went without any hitch as the organisers managed to obtain a police permit.
About 30 police personnel from the Kajang police district headquarters were seen keeping a close eye on the function.
At a similar event on Nov 23 at the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council field, the authorities arrested nine PAS leaders including its vice-president Mohamad Sabu and the party Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub along with PAS Unit Amal (volunteer wing) members.
Both Mohamad and Salahuddin were present last night to address the crowd.
‘Abuse of the law’
Teo, representing the DAP, said the ISA had been abused by the government to detain Sin Chew journalist Tan Hoon Cheng, Selangor executive councillor Teresa Kok and prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.
“What were the reasons for their arrest under the ISA? For Tan, the home minister claimed it was to safeguard her security.
“How can you detain someone on the presumption of safeguarding her security? This is a clear abuse of the law,” said Teo, who is a lawyer by profession.
Norlaila Othman, the wife of ISA detainee Mat Sah Mohamad Satray, said her husband had been detained for close to eight years now.
“Imagine, when my husband was detained, my son was only eight and now he is 15. However, I am sad to see that my son only knows his father superficially.
“This is what the ISA does to you and your family. In my case, we, the family members, are also victims of the ISA,” she said.
PKR’s Shamsul Iskandar meanwhile, challenged BN backbenchers to support the abolishment of the ISA.
The PKR Youth chief urged BN backbenchers to support a motion on the abolishment of the ISA when Parliament resumes sitting in February.
“The world is undergoing rapid changes but Malaysia is still bogged down with this outdated legislation which has continuously been used by the BN and Umno prime ministers to stifle dissent,” he said.
“It is time we remove this legislation and let proper justice be restored.”