Monday, September 15, 2008

Will ISA Be Used?

“…The Internal Security Act should be used against those wanting to overthrow the government through undemocratic means and cause instability and public chaos…”

Dato’ Dr. Maximus Ongkili

Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, is facing mounting pressure from his own political party in using Internal Security Act for several controversial arrests of Malaysia Today’s blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng and DAP State Assembly Woman Teresa Kok on 12 September 2008. Among the fierce critics comes from his own De facto Law Minister Dato’ Zaid Ibrahim who condemn the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) against the civilians and he is prepared to resign if his voice is not heard. He in fact has tendered his resignation as a cabinet minister after one day he made the protest.

MCA leadership has also voiced strongly against the use of ISA but more constraints to the Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng case. “It is unacceptable and was a feeble attempt to justify the use of ISA on Tan” commented by Dato’ Seri Dr. Fong Chan Onn, the Vice President of MCA in commenting the Minister of Home Affairs justification that Tan’s life was under threat.

However, there are still numbers of the BN leaders who are in support for the use of ISA. Among those are Dato’ Dr. Maximus Ongkili, the Deputy President of Parti Bersatu Sabah who has strongly proposed that ISA should be used against the political opponents. Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim failure to establish the government on 16 September 2008 will be portrayed as creating instability with political unrest and cause economic uncertainties. “The Prime Minister already has his hands full handling the uncertainties and arising chaos created by Anwar,” said Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) College of Law, Government and International Studies research and Post Graduate Dean Prof Mohd Mustafa Ishak. UUM is known in supporting BN policies. These reasons will become as good excuse for the ruling party to arrest Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim and other opposition leaders soon.

Dato’ Seri Abdullah Badawi may ignore the pledge of Dato’ Zaid Ibrahim because he may reasoning that Zaid is no longer acceptable as he failed in his bid to contest Kota Bharu UMNO division chief’s post in the recent branches meeting. MCA leadership may no longer cries on ISA as Abdullah government has already released Tan Hoon Cheng. The Prime Minister may use his influence to tame the MCA leadership in avoiding criticizing the ISA under the pretext of public orders.

The strategy to create the fear by having more arrest under ISA is no longer workable in the knowledge based society and in the era of greater edge of communication technology. It may delay the collapse of BN government but as a matter of time, the current ruling will fell down. Worst, they will go directly to the grave yard with no possibility of reviving the coalition. The BN leadership shall consider the option to accept the fact that they can play a role as a strong opposition in this country.

The new leader will emerge in the situation that the current opposition leaders will be being held under ISA. The current poor economic performances in the country will not stop the people from continuing to criticize the present government.