COMMENT | One of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s darkest moments in history was when he presided over Operasi Lalang, in which over a hundred Malaysians were arrested under the Internal Security Act.
Thankfully, Mahathir appears to have left behind his appetite for governing in such a manner.
I bring this up only in reference to the reason this operation was supposedly named as it was.
Legend has it that Operasi Lalang was named based on the idea that activists, intellectuals and the like were ‘allowed’ to do and say as they like for a period; this allowed them to ‘grow like lalang’, meaning emerge from the general populace (the shorter grass, in this analogy) in a more visible manner.
Once these elements had ‘grown high enough’ to be easy to identify, it would be all the easier to cut them down in one fell swoop.
Again, Operasi Lalang itself was indubitably a black mark in Malaysian history...