Wednesday, 12 December 2007
ISA for dummies
I was born during the aftermath of our May 13 incident when my uncle braved himself and my in labour mother being shot when he drove through curfew in order to reach Ipoh hospital for my mother's delivery. Thus it has been clearly etched in my mind and I guess of those in my generation what racial discord can do to the social agreement our forefather's has reached in order to gain our nation's independence and then to build our nation to what it is today without necessitating any real bloodshed that has occurred in many other countries, including the supposedly pillar of democracy America. This outlook was further strengthened when I was entering adulthood when again our nation brushed with cinders of racial friction when in my first semester of college life, we were officially informed by the management to prepare to defend ourselves as our branch campus had become a target since it was a potent symbol of Malay achievements during a period when questions were raised about the order of society by certain elements that resulted in bad blood between our two main races. It was a surreal experience for someone like me who has just graduated from a pluralist school to face something just like in the movies, when lion dance drums peeled outside our gates, similar to movie scenes of war drums announcing the gathering storm against the besieged fort walls. That was an experience that I do not wish to relive except then we faced yet another crisis during the reformasi movement, when for the sake of political expediency subversive elements began importing inflammatory street culture to our shores in the hopes that our society was not more sophisticated than the nations they imported the culture from. Nonetheless I noted with satisfaction that our society was actually above it all, and such a movement actually petered out to cinders that was easily stamped out.
Throughout it all an element that seemed to be forgotten as it never makes good press was the fact the majority of our society treasured public security above all else. Thus it was highly acceptable to the majority of society that measures like ISA was taken in order to secure the public security. To those who claim that we the majority are docile sheep who do not care about human rights, please explain how public security is not essential to human rights, even to its existence in fact. What good is the right to public assembly when the outcome is strife and disorder. I will take jailing of these trouble makers any time over public inconvenience, especially when they act as if they are above the law. And that is essentially what this is all about, respect for the law passed by a government that was elected by a MAJORITY, and that includes ISA for public security. Why has anyone not questioned why the majority did not throw the government out when they legislated the ISA, and why the majority did not support any "People Power" movement that such street demonstration hoped to create? Do they do not want to hear the answer that our civil society actually believes our enacted laws are just, and they actually question whether those who think they are above the law are actually closet anarchists? We just want to remain a civil society living in harmony, and if the price we have to pay is for ISA to be used against these seditious elements in order to preserve this, well that is just a price we have to pay. We still have avenues to show dissent like the walk-out of parliament session by the opposition when a disagreed legislation like the Constitutional Amendment is being passed, but the fact remains that it is a majority government that passes the legislation. We the majority do not need to be like the demonstrators showing their displeasure at the Parliament gates to show whether we approve the act or not. We will do it at the ballot box when election comes. And that my friends is the most just and equitable way to do it.