'Umno will never do away with the Internal Security Act because it is a weapon that they can use to save them from losing power.'
KS: Umno will never do away with the ISA because it is a weapon that they can use to save them from losing power. Malaysia has more than 50 years of experience with this draconian law. The victims were mostly opposition members. On the pretext of public interest and security, the police have thrown people into jail without good reasons.
Other countries have peaceful demonstrations and the police do not harassed them. Our neighbours use laws to curb politicians who bring up racial and sensitive issues. In Malaysia, it depends on who is talking. Usually, Umno members have a free hand to talk on any issues.
Generally, the people see that the government does not use the ISA fairly. For the opposition, anything they do is against public order. They are not given a chance to present the issues to the people. The government has the entire media - newspapers, TV and radio - to help them with their propaganda but the opposition have only newsletters limited to their members.
So demonstration is the only logical thing to do to make people aware of burning issues. But the police will use ISA to stop it. Only people of dubious character will want this type of law to run the country.
Faidhur Rahman: As a Malaysian with a pro-ISA stand who notes the often negative assessment of the preventive detention law by the alternative media, I would like to let it be known that not everyone opposes the Internal Security Act as it would seem.
To me, yesterday's demonstration against the ISA in Kuala Lumpur organised by Pakatan Rakyat parties and their supporters was completely unnecessary, uncalled for and rather needless, not to mention underlines the worrying state of affairs with regard to our national security and stability.
Sim Kwang Yang in his article, ‘Currents of change in the river of history’ mentioned that such protests would be unthinkable 30 years ago. Adding another 10 years to that number would probably explain at least partly why.
It’s not like most of the 20,000 who took part were ever arrested under the ISA themselves. One wonders why other preventive detention laws such as the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and laws that are a legacy of the 1969 Emergency, namely the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 1969 and the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 are not mentioned as "unjust and draconian laws that need to be repealed" at all. Is it because these laws are only used against common criminals and not opposition politicians?
Some of us do actually believe that the threats of chaos, disorder, anarchy and terrorism are very real, and would like the ISA retained to guard against those threats so that we can have the political stability necessary for a healthy economy and so earn a living.
Here’s hoping that the ISA is retained, lest we become another Nigeria and hoping that you would publish this letter, so the stand of this segment of Malaysian society is known.
BK: We need answers from the powers-that-be - can anyone tell me how many people at the pro-ISA rally were arrested and if they were subjected to tear gas and water cannon treatment?
If they were not, can we hear from the BN government on the reason why they were not subjected to the same treatment as those against ISA?
Since when has it become a crime to distribute pamphlets questioning government policies? Are we a dictatorship or a democracy?
Peter Ooi: The demonstration against ISA was planned and those involved had said time and again that it would be a peaceful one. All they wanted was to hand over a memorandum to the king.
Since it was a multiracial efforts, racial tension will definitely be out of question. In this aspect, Umno or Umno-sanctioned protest were more racial in nature and yet virtually no police actions were taken. As such, the anti-ISA protest will not incur the wrath of any race and our country's peace was not threatened.
Then why must force, tear gas and water cannon be employed against the protestors? This showed the immaturity of our leaders.
The police need not be confrontational to the demonstrators. Its role is to maintain traffic flow and make sure that no public or private properties are vandalised. After handing the memo to the king, I believe the crowd would be satisfied and dispersed orderly.
As the laws of physics goes, ' For every action, there is an equal reaction'. Thus, if the police were to treat the demonstrators with respect, they would be reciprocated with similar respect.
A Selangor Rakyat: The recent embarrassment caused by Gerakan Youth chief Lim Si Pin shows that Gerakan also does not have KPI.
What right does Dr Koh Tsu Koon have to become the KPI minister when Gerakan doesn’t even know how to follow basic guideline in submitting a memorandum to the palace?
And why was the pledge given by Gerakan Youth to support the GMI gathering not fulfilled? Is this the standard practiced by Gerakan - giving empty promises?