The ISA transgresses the very basic right of any human being in a modern society, i.e. the right to be heard. The untold power that is held by the executive to detain a person without trial INDEFINITELY even on the grounds of national security is frightening. And soon that will be abused. And, my God, hasn’t it been abused in Malaysia?
And there is another far more insidious aspect of the ISA — torture. As a legal practitioner, I have come across many allegations of torture. And there is a trend. They get beaten up. Stand naked in front of the air-conditioner while being doused with water for hours on end. Made to drink their own urine. These are consistent allegations. And now these allegations are no more allegations per se.
It has been proven in our High Court. Please refer to Abdul Malek Hussin v Borhan Hj Daud & Others 1 CLJ 264.
The Mat Selamat case and the 10 foreigners recently are just examples of further abuse. Mat Selamat was detained in Singapore for being a threat to Singapore’s security. He was alleged to have planned a bombing of Changi airport. Is he a threat to Malaysia’s security? On what basis did we arrive to the conclusion that he is a threat to our security?
Meanwhile, the 10 foreigners are said to be linked to international terrorism cells. Are these cells planning to do something to our country? Are they threat to our security? They might be a threat to somebody’s security, but whose?
The ISA can only be used, as it is, to prevent threat to OUR security. Why is it being used on these 10 people? If we form the conclusion that they are a threat to us, on what basis did we do so?
You will note that, now, even document forgers, SMS senders and a Melayu who apparently converted to Christianity were detained under the ISA!!! Are they threats to our security? Why can’t we charge them and give them the right to be heard before condemning them to imprisonment?
These are the things which make the ISA draconian.
As to why there are no candle light vigils for them, I do not profess to have an answer. People are motivated in their own individualistic way. But that does not mean that the people want the ISA.
If we want to combat terrorism, why don’t we have an Anti-Terrorism Act, like the British do? I can give you a copy. And you will see how they treat their accused persons. They have surely graduated from the old, dark dungeon days.
We, on the other hand, are not only practising it but trying to perfect the art of dungeon trial and torture.