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Wednesday, November 12, 2003


Terrorism and Acts of Terror

At the Globalisation Forum 2003, themed Democracy and Security in the Globalised Era, Tun Dr Mahathir, newly retired, had this to say ::

  • "The world is getting paranoid and security measures taken have themselves caused more damage than the actual terrorist attacks."
  • The former Prime Minister noted that security measures taken by certain countries had caused severe losses to the tourism industry, bankruptcies of airlines, reduction in business travel, foreign investments and generally worldwide economic recession or the inability to recover economically.
  • “The world is getting paranoid and the most powerful countries are the most paranoid of all.”
  • “Will this co-operation and security measures succeed in blunting the attacks of the terrorists and will they actually succeed in stopping terrorism?”
  • “The world has certainly not been secured by the attacks against and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq.”
  • “We have to know the causes (of terrorism), and we have to remove the causes, even as we upgrade our security measures.”
  • “The Arabs are also Semitic people. They cannot possibly be against the Jews because of anti-Semitism,” he said. Malays, he added, were also less likely to be anti-Semitic, “but we reserve the right to condemn anyone who is oppressive whether they have been the victims of oppression or not.”


Now take a look at what is happening in the home front, the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) militant group has been crippled here, and 106 of its members are behind bars, this is according to the Federal Special Branch director Comm Datuk Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahaman. Together with these JI members there must a total of more than a hundred under ISA detention. Now 13 more new ones have been added, these are the returning students from Pakistan. The government appears to have made the first 60 days of detention under the ISA as an "arrest period" and says that those "arrested" are not ISA detainees; they are under arrest to facilitate investigations or what some would call "a fishing trip".

Unfortunately, this "fishing trip" is not one filled with joy and fun which one associates with such trips. According to those who have been on it, this trip is probably the worse period of their detention. During this "fishing trip" which can last up to 60 days, a person detained under the ISA is held incommunicado, with no access to the outside world. Furthermore, lawyers and family members are not allowed access to the detainee during this initial period.of detention. According to detainees who have been released, it is during this period that they suffer the most, be it physically, mentally or spiritually. Is our new PM willing to give these detainees a hearing so that they can tell him the truth of this "fishing trip". Will it make him think twice regarding these latest 13, who have been arrested under the ISA and whose detention he has defended?

It is well and good for our new TUN to have said what he had to say at the world forum and hsi statement :: "The world is getting paranoid and security measures taken have themselves caused more damage than the actual terrorist attacks" is patently true even for Malaysia. This can be seen in those detained in Kamunting. What our TUN has failed to mention is the human cost of this paranoia, the shattered lives of these detainees and tgheir family members. The latter are left to fend for themselves and to carry on their lives with the ISA stigmata. Rather then looking after the whole world and things materials, the focus should be on things and humans local. Charge them if they have done wrong, release them if not and let them get on with life.




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MALAYSIA, a great place to be in, BUT we can, will and must make HER better.
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