Loyal Followers

Monday, August 03, 2009

Sorry Datuk, I have misunderstood the ISA!

Finally, I am in agreement with an UMNO leader. On the issue of the Internal Security Act, no less. In a Malaysian Insider report titled "Mukhriz defends ISA, says it's misunderstood", Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir has apparently lamented that the public has failed to see the benefit of the ISA. He was quoted as saying:

The people cannot really see the benefits from ISA but if we realise that we are able to send our children to school and shop safely then we can see that all of these are from a government policy to provide protection to the people.”

One of the people whom Datuk Mukhriz was unknowingly referring to was, I must say, myself. Over the weekend I was thinking about what Datuk Mukhriz has said. And today, Monday the 3rd of August 2009, I conclude that all these while I have been a stupid Malaysian. I have been wrong all these while. Yes. I have to confess. I have misunderstood the ISA. Datuk Mukhriz, I bow in all humility to your wisdom and I must say I am not worth it. I am sorry.

All these while, I thought that a citizen's liberty is guaranteed by our Federal Constitution. And as I understood it, the Federal Constitution says that a citizen's liberty cannot be taken away other than in accordance with the due process of the law. And of course the law says that a person cannot be sent to prison until he or she has been found guilty by the Court and sentenced to imprisonment. That was what I understood.

I understood this from a year learning the Malaysian Constitution. And from another year of learning Comparative Constitutional Law where I studied the Indian, English and American Constitutions. And another year learning Administrative law. Also from a year of learning the subject of politics.

As I understood it too, when the ISA was debated in the Parliament, Tunku Abdul Rahman, our first Prime Minister as well as our Father of Independence, said this:

My cabinet colleagues and I gave a solemn promise to Parliament and the nation that the immense powers given to the government under the ISA would never be used to stifle legitimate opposition and silence lawful dissent."

That was a promise, solemnly made to the Parliament. And the late Tunku was of course also the UMNO President at that time.

So, in my gullible and naive mind, I understood that the ISA would not be used to stifle opposition and silence lawful dissent. Furthermore, the then Home Minister, Tun Dr Ismail said:

"I am convinced that the Internal Security Act as practiced in Malaysia is not contrary to the fundamentals of democracy. Abuse of the Act can be prevented by vigilant public opinion via elections, a free Press and above all the Parliament."

I must admit therefore Datuk Mukhriz, that I was under the impression that the Malaysian public - and that includes me and other Malaysians - could criticise any abuse of the ISA by the Government. We could express our unhappiness in a free Press as well as the Parliament.

I was also under the impression that what Tun Dr Ismail had meant was that the public would have the freedom to express their displeasure over what they perceive as abuses of the ISA freely too. After all, what is the use of vigilance without the freedom to express the result of that vigilance?

Datuk Mukhriz, due to the above, I understood that the ISA would not be abused. I also understood that the ISA was to be used solely for the purpose of protecting the security of our nation. And if it was abused, I understood that I would have the right to protest against such abuse.

I also understood that the Court would have the power to check and balance out any abuse of the ISA by the government. This the Court could do by issuing a writ of habeas corpus in order to release a person who has been wrongfully detained under the ISA by the government. The Court could look into the exercise of the government's power under the ISA and decide whether such power has been correctly exercised or whether such power was exercised in good faith.

That was what I had understood all these while. And Datuk Mukhriz, sadly, I had been proven wrong. You are right. I have misunderstood the ISA all these while.

First of all, your father, Tun Mahathir Mohammad, had taken away the powers of the Court to look into the exercise of the power under the ISA and decide whether such power was exercised correctly or in good faith.

Your father changed the law and the Federal Constitution to render the Court lame and impotent. The Court could now only look into whether the government has filled in the right form before a detention is made. Or whether the Home Minister has used a coma and a full stop at the correct place in such form. Your father has rendered the Court to be an instrument of checking only instead of an instrument of check and balance. Your father had deemed it fit to render the Court as a proof reader. That is your father's idea of a democratic society.

So, I am sorry, I had misunderstood the ISA.

Then I found out that the ISA actually could also be used, and was in fact used, to detain immigration document forgers, counterfeiters, opposition leaders and the likes. As at the end of 2007, a staggering 10711 persons have been arrested under the ISA and a total of 4370 detention orders have been issued pursuant to the ISA. A total of 46 detainees continue to be detained at the Kamunting Detention Camp as at 5th December 2008.

I also learned that your father had orchestrated Operasi Lalang under which 106 persons were arrested and 40 were detained. I also learned that while anybody deemed as a threat to national security from the opposition parties must be arrested or detained under the ISA, such arrest or detention is not necessary if the threat to national security comes from a member of or leader from UMNO or the BN.

I have also learned that the ISA could be used to detain anybody for no reason whatsoever. Teresa Kuok for instance was arrested under the ISA for apparently protesting to a mosque for citing the azan too loudly. She was arrested although she said she did not do so. Even the mosque committee said she did not do it. But she was arrested under the ISA and was detained for about a week anyway. Then she was released without any further action.

Then Raja Petra Kamaruddin was also arrested and later, detained under the ISA for insulting Islam and for writing an article deemed seditious. He was so arrested and detained even though the police admitted that his article was not investigated upon to ascertain the truth of the contents or otherwise. That was a new lesson for me.

Luckily a brave Judge, in Justice Datuk Syed Helmy of the High Court Shah Alam freed him.

Around the same time, I also learned that the ISA could also be used to arrest people in order to protect his or her personal safety. Remember a journalist by the name of Tan Hoon Cheng?

Your father also had detained a Malay man whose name was Hilmi Noor for some odd and strange reason. He was said to have converted to Christianity and by doing so he was accused of "disrupting the Malay culture by being a Christian!” Datuk, that was also a new lesson for me about the ISA.

On top of all that, I had always understood that the ISA's purpose was to arrest and detain people from carrying out whatever plans they have which threaten national security. It is preventive in nature and not punitive. But later, I learned that detainees could be tortured while under detention under the ISA.

A learned High Court Judge, Justice Datuk Hishamuddin Mohd Yunus (now a Court of Appeal Judge, finally, after years and years of service and being stepped over many many times by his juniors), in a case known as Abdul Malek Hussin v Borhan Hj Daud & Others [2008]1 CLJ 264, found as follows:

"On this issue, upon a careful evaluation of the entire evidence before me, it is my finding of facts that the plaintiff has succeeded in proving to the court on a balance of probabilities that he had been assaulted in the manner he alleges and by the individuals that he has named or identified.

The plaintiff alleges that he was first assaulted by the first Defendant after the arresting team moved him from his home. He was arrested in front of his home after which a search of his home was done and various documents and a personal computer removed. He describes the assault in his evidence. He says he was slapped three times by the first Defendant after he was unable to take the first Defendant to the location of his (the plaintiff's) car. The plaintiff also said that he was blindfolded, and his head was forcibly covered with a T-shirt and forced to bend forward down between his legs in the car as he was taken to the IPK, Kuala Lumpur.

The first Defendant denies these allegations. He only admits that he instructed L/Cpl Johari to place "cermin mata gelap" on the plaintiff, and that the purpose being "adalah bertujuan untuk menutup penglihatan plaintiff bagi mengelirukan plaintiff". The plaintiff then describes the circumstances of the second assault. In summary, he describes how in an air-conditioned room on the first floor of the IPK he was stripped naked, blindfolded, verbally abused and then physically assaulted. He was hit several times on the face and head. Most of the blows and kicks were directed at his body and legs. His legs were hit with a hard object. He fell over several times as a result of the blows. At one instance when his blindfold slipped, he identified one of the assailants as the second Defendant in person - Tan Sri Rahim Noor. The plaintiff also said that after the episode of physical assault, some urine-smelling like liquid was poured into his mouth while his mouth was forced open. Throughout the ordeal he was forced to remain naked. His penis was hit and an object pushed against his anus. He was made to stand in front of an air-conditioner and drenched with water - this treatment was done for almost an hour. The ordeal finally ended at about 4am. According to the plaintiff when the blindfold was removed he saw the first Defendant and other Special Branch officers in plainclothes. The first Defendant warned him not to make a police report regarding what had happened. The plaintiff also asked for medical treatment from the detaining officer but access to a doctor was only provided three days later on 29 September 1998...

In my judgment, based on the evidence before the court, on a balance of probabilities, the plaintiff's case is more credible and ought to be accepted."

It is clear as daylight dear Datuk, I have misunderstood the ISA. I am sorry.

Last weekend, between 20000 to 30000 people came out to show their unhappiness over the ISA. They had wanted to demand the ISA to be abolished by presenting a memorandum to our King. Yet, they were met with water cannons, tear gas, batons and riot police with full gear, ever ready to shout and scream, even to beat them up and arrest them. Even 16 and 13 year olds were arrested and detained.

I thought Tun Dr Ismail already said that the public may be vigilant about the ISA and may express their opinion peacefully.

Again, I have misunderstood the ISA. And I am sorry.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

How do we ensure that stupid minister reads this brilliant article?

Gan said...

I think this Datuk & his father must have more misunderstood the ISA then the rest of us !

I think he would be singing a different song if he's one of those 'enjoying' a stint in Kamunting !

P.S. Art, I wonder what's the role of the UN when a member of the UN blatantly infringes on so many human rights? Guess, the UN is just another lame duck.

Anonymous said...

Well, the stupid minister will say.."See...I was right! They are saying sorry for misunderstanding the ISA now. Hmmm..maybe sorry is not enough..should lock the fella up also so that he can learn how wonderful ISA is"
It makes no difference if that stupid minister reads this article or now. We all know they have blatantly abused their power in every way and we will not forgive.

Anonymous said...

are you sure the stupid minister reads ?

Kris said...

I echo your sadness, anger and lack of understanding Art...

drafunt said...

What he meant to say was "ISA is vital so that he and his families and cronies can continue to safely go about in their plundering an corruption. Their children can safely go to a foreign school without being bogged down by our education system".

Nik Gnoek said...

Only a demon will defend the use of a demonic law! I hope they will preserve the ISA until the next GE so that PR can punish them using the same law that they so approved of! At that time I think Mr. Mukh will organise GMI#2 to abolish it so that he could rescue his dear father from Kamunting!

PM said...

Thank for art harun. Good piece.

Nik said it well.Put them all under ISA when Pakatan comes to power and let them feel the pain of ISA

natives are restless said...

There are the idiots everywhere ... but this guy just needed to open his big mouth to proof he's the complete idiots !!!

mei1 said...

Aiyo, ISA = Ikut Suka Aku, in other words, whatever they say or act is always right & must be followed & abided.

What People 1st?? Who are we? The masters of the country?? Allow me to borrow Yang Poh's words:

"......politicians do not mean it when they say with a straight face or a smile that they are the servants and that the people are the masters. No servant would treat his master with tear gas, batons and handcuffs.”

Yeah, how on earth the servant would treat his master with tear gas, batons and handcuffs??

But what to do? This is the "well-known" land for "Boleh" records, so pls get urself ready for more "boleh" records happening soon in the near future....!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Art Harun,

I am greatly admired and fascinated with your two previous articles title "MacDeth Act II - An open letter to Berita Harian" and "A Tale of Two Tuns." Your articles shows that your are a grand master of the fine art of articulation and I find it even more so with this article "Sorry Datuk, I have misunderstood the ISA!" You made difficult issues easy to understand and created a distinct contrast with lots of sarcasms sprinkled here and there. Keep it up! I be waiting for many more of your articles to come.

Hidemichi said...

Our ministers or anyone would indeed read such articles but remain denial.

natives are restless said...

My apology, let me rephrase that :-

There are the idiots... but this guy just needs to open his big mouth to proof he's the complete IDIOT !!!

John Baptist said...

Will there ever be a time when you and I understand and misunderstand things differently bro? ;) Brilliant..customarily.

Anonymous said...

Your writing is indeed very intelligent and I love the sarcasm. Unfortunately, it is too clever a piece for the comprehension of our incompetent 'so-called' leaders. Please keep writing for the sake of a better Malaysia.

deals said...

Good thought..

BeeHedge said...

Right On, Bro Art !!
Your sniper-shot hits Bull's Eye !!

Anonymous said...

i support ISA!!!

clearwater said...

Art Harun,

You are a bad bad boy. You are not being respectful to one of our up and coming Umno leaders who only speaks and writes simply so the people can understand him. You, on the other hand, have a gift of writing and it is not fair of you to show him up. Remember, he failed in his Umno youth leadership attempt. You should give him sympathy and remedial lessons instead, not clinically dissect his simple mind.

Anonymous said...

Its a brilliant piece of writing mr.Art. This country is turning into a bloddy unfairground as we stand aside and look.you know why? for the same simple reason for which ur article wwas based on, THE RAKYAT HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD! if we continue to MISUNDERSTAND all the issues then WE ARE CERTAINLY DONE FOR!may the force be with those who seek the truth.

Kenneth said...

Absolutely mind blowing article! Too bad losers from BN dont read.

LAT said...

From now on we must adopt this Datuk's version of ISA and let's support his version of ISA until each and every minister of current BN-Gomen has been kept in the Kamunting Camp for their protection. Then we can abolish the original version of ISA for we ordinary rakyat do not need ISA to keep us safe !

julee said...

Yes, the police should use ISA on the pro-ISA group and lock them up for 3 years. Since they are pro-ISA, I am sure they will fully support the police decision.

fargoman said...

Congratulations once again, to our blue uniform baboons and red wild guards.

They have once again shown their undying loyalty to a bunch of corrupted evil men - the ketuanan Umno melayu bastards!

These brainless marbles suckers never fail to entertain me with their despicable ass wiping acts……….

kok said...

This review of the ISA is merely an eyewash. ISA is what keeps Umno in power. It is Umno life line, so you think they will abolish it? To do so will be suicidal and they know it too well.

aston said...

Razak - started racial politics and malay supremacy

Mahathir - started cronyism and corruption and ISA politic

Badawi - started sleeping culture and half pass six nepotism

Najib - start sex and killing politics

ruyom said...

The longer the existence of Utusan and Umno governing this nation, the worse the image Malaysia is projecting to the world.

Utusan and Umno may not have realised that, but a lot of people in other countries have regarded Malaysia as a low class country.

Jaguh kampung but a joker to the world indeed.

yuking said...

As long as there is special right, ketuanan melayu, housing discount, there will never be a 1 Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

Dear Art,

After reading your posting today, i have to change my mind and support those who are Pro ISA.

My God! I too misunderstood the ISA!


donplaypuks® said...


I am not buying this 'limited review of ISA' spiel by Najib, Kerismudin, Nazi and UMNO/BN proponents.

Even if the detention period is reduced to 30 days, they are not going to do away with detention without trial using the all-embracing 'threat to national security' to justify ridiculous arrests 'for our own safety'!

Whose input are they going to rely on? The Peoples' or that of the Police and ruling elite who dare not allow legitimate, peaceful political dissent in our Nation?

If they cannot decide, let there be a National Referendum on it. Let the PEOPLE decide once and for all.

What are they chicken about?

Power to the People!

We are all of 1 Race, the Human Race. That is all that really matters.

Lynn said...

Art Harun, an excellent piece of commentary as usual! Exactly my sentiments except that you put it up with such finess and sarcasm.....

I purposely abstained from reading about what he said when I saw the headlines - I knew what he had to say would be insulting to our intelligence. I suppose he meant this for the rural poor, the ignorant and the uneducated. Just like I refuse to log onto che det's blog.

Henry said...

What do we know when compared to the uncomparable Datuk Mukriz.


What is a Gomen? It is a collection of individuals elected to office to run the country. Right?

But if those individuals are country bumpkins like Mukriz and Nazri then the only way the country is heading is down.

Towing the Party line is one thing but do people like Mukriz hear himself speak? Maybe he is deaf and therefore can't hear what he is mouthing.

Sheesh! who voted for these guys?

Trust me, ISA some of them and they will come out singing a different tune, but I wouldn't wish this on them.

Henry said...

Oh, this is what happens when losers (you know who) take the place of winners (yes, KJ lah, who else).

How does that phrase go? The one about a person being promoted to his/her own level of incompetence.

Joon said...

Dear Art,

Are you contesting for a parliamentary seat in the next election? Malaysia needs you.

Anonymous said...

“The people cannot really see the benefits from ISA but if we realise that we are able to send our children to school and shop safely then we can see that all of these are from a government policy to provide protection to the people.”

Hey! even when Chin Peng was killing people all over the country, we still managed to go to school, go shopping etc.

I was even in time to join the Armed Forces to chase Chin Peng and his men all the way to the border and beyond.Our only known enemy of the country.Who have signed the peace treaty.

Presently,there are no known enemies of the state. However, there are citizens who want the rule of law and not the rule by law.

Thanks Art for your brilliant writings.


Anonymous said...

Wanted to add " Otak Udang punya Menteri"


natives are restless said...

This Datuk thinks ISA is the Internal Safety Act ???

Anonymous said...


Fantastically Brilliant.

Now if only I could translate this brilliant piece of article on ISA,then send it over to the traitors who could not understand it but instead blindly advocates it, so that they could, at least learn a thing or two and in the process, not be labelled Stupido Retardo, be villified and earn the wrath of the Rakyat.

Anonymous said...

ISA is to prison the snatch thief, car jacking etc. so that we are save to go out. That is the way Bee End provide protection for us.

Use back the ISA after the GE13 on the Bee Ends goons and throw the key away. Let them enjoy it.

gychung said...

ART, that was a good piece. Frankly speaking, there is nothing wrong with the ISA, except that it has been sadly abused. We should abolish the Tyranny instead of ISA.

Anonymous said...

“The people cannot really see the benefits from ISA but if we realise that we are able to send our children to school and shop safely then we can see that all of these are from a government policy to provide protection to the people.”

True, we don't expect very much from the Police to arrest rapists, kidnappers, molesters and murderers of our children these days.

Thank God, the ISA is the saviour of our children. We just ISA those scumbags.

Obviously, he knows vaguely what in the world is this thing called ISA in the first place. It's a no wonder that the ISA has been abused.

Malaysia Blogosphere said...

I'm kind of sick and tired of this ISA thingy. I hope it gets better soon.

Promote your blog for FREE at http://www.imcurtain.com

See ya there! :)

Fi-sha said...

Dear Art

I seriously need to ROFLOL reading this masterpiece of sarcasm :)

Gosh, i love lawyers like you sir!

Oh sir, bapa borek anak rintik - sounds familiar?

Thanks for enlightening us, your humble readers, how we have been fooled by you-know-who, the one who told malays 'mereka mudah lupa'. I would be so happy if we could make our Ibu Pertiwi ISA-free and undo so many 'sins' he had done to our Ibu Pertiwi.

Anonymous said...

Dear Art,
I salute you for a wonderful article with facts.
I for one would NOT accept the use of ISA arbitrarily
But would accept how our first PM T.A.Rahman had intended,and supported by his home minister.
But I do not agree to street demonstrations in voicing; the abuse of ISA; more often than not it leads to chaos as we have seen happening in many countries. I would like to suggest why don’t we the law abiding citizens come together and act according to what Tun Dr. Ismail had suggested (reproduced from your article)
.” Abuse of the Act can be prevented by vigilant public opinion via elections, a free Press and above all the Parliament."
I see he mentioned free press which is not existent but can be taken over by Blogsphere; public opinion can be raised by having closed door “ceramah’s” like political activities. And for the last part; the parliament I leave it to your ingenuity whether you can file a case for acting contrary to the wishes of the People.

Pratamad said...

No, the father and the son have not minsunderstood the ISA at all. It is simply because both of them have not been detained under ISA by another government.

What they need is just a little bit of imagination, when PR comes to power and ISA is still around, and the PR government (assuming they would) comes down on them with ISA.

Confucius says, Don't do unto others what you don't want others do unto you. (己所不欲,勿施于人。)

mei1 said...

Dear all,

do check this out, a sickening & nauseating piece from pro-ISA:

http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=36504 (Anti-ISA protesters don’t represent majority)

Yes2ISA said...

Funny...in your effort to discredit the ISA by using the excuse of "political persecution" you had failed to mention that over the years, many BN politicians were also detained. Cherry picking isee...

But i dont blame you for that. After all, you guys have an agenda.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Very well written. I am in full agreement with you and share your thoughts. I asked the late Tun Ismail about ISA and he said the same thing as quoted by you.

Antares said...

Art, you are indeed a gem, thank you! Seriously, I shall have to clone this post, if only to bask in the glow of your luminous intelligence :-)

D. Anthony said...

The issue is not the abuse of the ISA. The very use of the ISA is an abuse because injustice is built into the act. Noone should be detained without fair trial.

D. Anthony said...

The issue is not the abuse of the ISA. The very use of the ISA is an abuse because injustice is built into the Act. Noone should be detained without a fair trial.

Anonymous said...

Dear Art,

Reading your blog brought tears to my eyes and a heavy heart too... the image u have in your blog makes me feel what will become of our children especially the bumi children? with only 26 percent left of the non bumis, the number will continued to reduce further.

I really wished that more and more people like you will emerged and save the minds of those who still can be saved and not think of HAK MIKIK SAYA...

My brother asked me"does this country still has hope?" he has 4 children and he is asking them to migrate when they completed their uni days. i told many of my muslim friends that the tide will change where malaysia will have abundant maids for other countries, when there is not enough food on the table.
these goons are still gobbling and the poor malays in the kampong are still hoping that they will be helped.

The BN leaders only know how to TALK - buka mulut dan po-pet.. po-pet.
I worked with children of all races, the psychiatry morbidity report in 2006 showed 1,000,000 children till age of 16 years suffering from poor mental health and for every case reported, 2 are not. so the number can be realistically at 3million... and they are growing every second.

For the adults, the number is 2 million reported, so it will be 6 million realistically. Malaysia has a population of 27 million with 6 million adults and 3 million children suffering from poor mental health what do we expect from this coutry? is there still a GLIMMER OF HOPE?

It is no surprised that we are seeing so much of sad happenings here in this country. Even KOSMO dared to demean the late Yasmin Ahmad on her humanity work.
We have Raja Petra yet he is being deem bad...

I would really appreciate if you could work on those numbers further of what this country will be with 'leaders suffering from mental illness" as no human would do a thing like what happened to : TEOH BENG HOCK, KUGAN, SHALINI AND NURI...the list can go on...
what will happen to the country's economy, safety and ..... with 9 million people having poor mental health?
will there be enough health care? The Ministry of Health is not doing his part at all, still po-pet po-pet with Pakatan issues.

WHO reported 1:4 persons suffer from poor mental health at some point of their lives. Isn't this true of what we see in the BN government?

The people came together n make the change, the people must also come together to work on problems be it how small...n not waste the energy complaining. It is only when the bright side comes together then only we can overcome the dark side.

If we Malaysian continues to say what is the point, it has always been like that... things will never change. I truly respect what some Malaysians are doing though the journey seemed a struggle... RPK, HARRIS IBRAHIM, KICKderfella... and You and many others letting us see the LIGHT. But the joint effort from the rest of the Malaysians really needs to re look at.

I tell every young adult i meet now to get themselves registered and to know what is happening n do what is right for another human being in this once upon time rich and beautiful country.

Finally i thank you for your writings which touched the hearts.
request that u write shorter messages but more frequent. so that your messages are read by the kampong folks. how can the malaysian bloggers come together to educate when we know the media has failed us miserably.
thank you sir once again...for our children.

to the PAKATAN RAAYAT government in the 4 states, I hope you all will come together for HUMANITY... go and look at the late Yasmin Ahmad's commercial on merdeka and her shows: sepet, mukshin, gurba ...there is so much to learn. Please stop the bickering if you CARE.
TIME IS RUNNING OUT. BEFORE U open your mouth to say something bad, asked yourself what is the purpose of saying it? does it helps? if yes do it, if not -then keep your mouth shut and put action into the problems...

Anonymous said...

This is a post 9/11 world and we need preventive detention laws to deal with terrorism. The ISA should be amended to end the sweeping powers given to the executive branch of government; have such powers be supervised by our courts. allow judicial review and have a periodic review.

Anonymous said...

of the legislation by Parliament.

limo rental said...

I understand what you say but is it true???????

art harun said...

Dear Limo Rental,

This article is based on facts. Rest assured.


SakMytongkol AKJailani said...

mmmm...trying to show you understand the whole thing but being apologetic...and stupid at the same time...you know nuts about ISA.

But thats your opinion...and you may carry on with your ...brilliant life...

Anonymous said...

Simply brilliant!! I salute you!!

You know what's the strangest thing for me? That there are people out there still asking for prove and that ISA is not what people like you make them out to be. Sigh! Having blind leaders are bad enough, the nation's gotta deal with blind followers too ... That's simply unbelievable.