30th Anniversary of Ops Lalang: The Struggle Against Repressive Legislation Continues (e/c)

Press Statement by DAP Secretary-General and MP for Bagan Lim Guan Eng in Kuala Lumpur on 27.10.2017

30th Anniversary of Ops Lalang: The Struggle Against Repressive Legislation Continues

Today is the 30th anniversary of one of the darkest episodes of modern Malaysian history, the Operasi Lalang arrest and detention of 106 people including NGO activists, politicians and academics under the draconian Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) on 27 October 1987. At the same time, media freedom was curtailed when the newspaper licenses of The Star, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Watan were revoked.

As the first to be detained and the last released under Operasi Lalang, I have constantly reminded myself that we must never give up the struggle to free Malaysia from political persecution and repressive legislation. Although it has been 30 years since Operasi Lalang, which was the second largest ISA crackdown since the 13 May riots in 1969, our nation continues to be tormented by similar draconian laws that suppress our fundamental liberties. We therefore cannot afford to give up, because if we do then tyranny and oppression will win.

Although the ISA was finally repealed on 31 July 2012, there is no cause for rejoice as the spirit of the law continues to live on in the form of newly introduced laws and amendments to existing laws. Not long after the repeal of the ISA, the new Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) was introduced, reintroducing provisions for preventive detention. Although the government promised not to use the law against legitimate political opposition, the arrests of Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and former UMNO politician Dato’ Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan as well as Tun Dr Mahathir’s former political secretary Matthias Chang proves that the law is nothing more than a political tool.

The enactment of SOSMA was followed by a raft of other oppressive laws, such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015, amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 as well as Section 124 of the Penal Code, which now criminalises “activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy” and providing for 20 years imprisonment for the ill-defined “crime”. Further to that, the new National Security Council Act 2016 has bequeathed emergency powers to the Prime Minister, who is now empowered to declare “security areas” that allow the suspension of fundamental liberties.

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak’s promises made in 2011 to abolish the ISA and the Sedition Act now rings hollow. Not only as the ISA been replaced with a host of new and equally repressive legislation, the Sedition Act that the Prime Minister promised to abolish does not only continue to exist but has in fact been strengthened and widened in scope.

It is clear that the BN government under Najib has neither the political will nor the intention to restore the fundamental liberties of Malaysians, especially when the continued survival of his regime depends on the use of such laws in order to silence and suppress his political opponents.

We owe it to our future generations to ensure that Ops Lalang should never happen again, including repealing those repressive laws which are ISA laws in disguise. Only by bringing in a government that is committed to abolish all these laws that violates the fundamental human rights, can we ensure that Malaysians finally enjoy real freedom, especially freedom from fear.

LIM GUAN ENG

行动党秘书长兼峇眼区国会议员林冠英于2017年10月27日在吉隆坡发表的声明:

茅草行动30周年纪念: 反对恶法压迫,国人仍需努力

今天是茅草行动30周年纪念 — 一个现代马来西亚史上最黑暗的一页。在1960年内部安全法令的恶法下,于1987年10月27日的茅草行动,当局一共逮捕及关押了包括非政府组织社运份子、政治人物及学者等106人。与此同时,媒体的自由受到限制,英文《星报》、中文《星洲日报》及国文《祖国文报》(Watan)遭撤销执照。

作为茅草行动中第一个被逮捕关押、却最后一个被释放出来的人,我不断地提醒自己:我们绝对不能放弃使马来西亚免于遭到政治逼害及遭恶法威逼。虽然茅草行动已经过去30年了,也即是自1969年513种族暴动事件之后最大型的内安法令镇压行动,然而我们的国家却继续受到类似压制我们基本自由的恶法所折磨。因此,我们不能放弃,因为要是我们这么做,那暴政及压迫就会胜出。

尽管内安法令终于在2012年7月31日被废除了,但是我们却没有高兴的理由,因为恶法依然透过新法律及修改现有的法律之形式“活着”。在内安法令被废除的不久之后,当局引入了新的2012年国家保安(特别措施)法令(简称国安法),并重新引入预防性扣留的规定。虽然政府承诺不会以此法令对付反对党的立法议员,但是随着净选盟主席玛丽亚陈、巫统前政治人物拿督斯里凯鲁丁阿布哈山及敦马哈迪医生的前政治秘书郑文杰(Matthias Chang)遭逮捕的待遇 ,证明了法律不过是一种政治工具。

这项国安法法案是随着之前一连串的迫害恶法而来,如2015年的防恐法令、1959年防止罪案法修正案还有刑事法典第124条文等,如今皆用以治罪及戕害国会民主,这些模糊不明的“罪状”入罪将判罚20年监禁。而且,2016年国家安全委员会法令赋予首相拥有紧急时刻的权力,可以随时宣布任何地区为“维安区”,取消该区原有的基本自由。

首相拿督斯里纳吉曾经在2011年承诺废除内安法令及煽动法令,一切只是空谈。因为不只内安法令让相等的新恶法所取代,纳吉承诺要取消的煽动法令不只仍然存在,而且还变本加厉,牵连更广。

很明显纳吉领导的国阵政府没有政治意愿,更没有意图要恢复大马人民原本应有的基本自由,特别是国阵继续利用这些恶法来让其政敌噤声及迫害其政敌。

确保茅草行动不再发生,是我们欠未来子孙的债,包括取消这些跟内安法令如出一辙的恶法。唯有拥有一个能取消上述这些有违基本人权之恶法的政府,才能确保大马人民享有真正的自由,特别是免于恐惧的自由。

林冠英

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