PENANG STATE GOVERNMENT WILL HOST A FORUM AND A SCREENING OF A SHORT FILM IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE 30TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1987 OPERASI LALANG DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL UNDER THE REPEALED INTERNAL SECURITY ACT.

Media Statement by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in Penang on Friday 20th October 2017

27th October 1987 will always remain a dark day in Malaysian history when the BN Government launched a massive crackdown, detaining Malaysian men and women from all backgrounds and all walks of life under the draconian Internal Security Act, Codenamed Operasi Lalang or weeding operation; the mass arrests were intended to weed out voices of dissent against the establishment, without any access to legal representation or brought to court to defend themselves against baseless charges of endangering national security.

Whilst the Internal Security Act (ISA) was finally repealed after persistent public pressure in 2012, it was replaced by what is seen as an even more repressive acts. The Security Offences (Special Measures) Act or SOSMA which was debated and passed into the wee hours of the morning, is actually the Internal Security Act in disguise in a different mask.

The fact that certain offences are not spelt out clearly gives an upper hand to the Government to detain anyone who intimidates them, even for life. The obvious difference between the ISA and SOSMA is that the ISA provides for a review of the detention every 2 years whereas SOSMA gives absolute power to the Government machinery to detain without trial for an unknown period of time. The amendments to the Penal Code also provides punishment for acts detrimental to parliamentary democracy, which is completely subjective and arbitrarily applied against those who are against the BN government.

What is apparent in all these dictatorial oppressive acts is the right to be tried before a court of law, the right to be heard and the fundamental right of natural justice has been extinguished all in the name of national security.

Despite ISA being repealed, the Government has shown their lack of political will and insistence to uphold the spirit of the Federal Constitution which defends freedom, democracy, equality and justice for all. Instead, it has resorted to SOSMA and POCA to continue to choke and stifle Malaysians from rightly exercising their fundamental liberties.

There is no place in this age for preventive detention without trial. However, the very fact that laws like these are further strengthened and cemented by the Najib administration goes only to prove that BN’s chants on moderation and freedom is merely lip service when unjust laws like POCA and SOSMA are passed.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Operasi Lalang detention and the Penang State Government with Penang Institute will be hosting a forum and a short movie screening on Saturday 28th of October 2017 in Eastern and Oriental Hotel as venue host.

The forum will be focusing on the existence of regressive laws in Malaysia and the way forward to ensure human rights and civil liberties are protected by the powers of the state, instead of being manipulated as a tool to instil fear in the hearts of patriotic citizens. Laws should be to enlarge freedom and democracy to ultimately to allow Malaysians to enjoy freedom from fear.

The panelists include Parliament Opposition Leader, Dato Seri Wan Azizah, DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang, BERSIH Chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah, Amanah President Mat Sabu and Pakatan Harapan Legal Bureau Chief Gobind Singh Deo. Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng will be opening the forum at 2.30 pm on 28/10/2017 in the Grand Ballroom of the E&O Hotel. Attendance is restricted by registration to 500 persons, which can be done online at opslalang.eventbrite.com or at Penang Institute(04-2283306) and YB Kasthuri Patto (04-5681638). A question-and-answer session will ensue after the panelists have spoken.

LIM GUAN ENG

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