Government should not invent new reasons to retain the ISA

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary – General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 1st December 1989:

Government should not invent new reasons to retain the ISA

DAP welcome the statement by Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba, that the government would study whether the Internal Security Act could be withdrawn in view of the move by the Communist Party of Malaya to end its 41 – year – old armed struggle. However, we call on the government not invent new reasons to retain the ISA, in view of his statement that racialism was another justification for the ISA.

In the past few years, the ISA has been used not for its original intention of fighting the armed communist insurrection, but for political purposes of the ruling parties. Ghaffar Baba’s statement about the problem of racial polarization would be more credible if firstly, the government was prepared to seriously admit the existence of this problem, and not just concede its existence when it politically suits the Barisan Nasional government; and secondly, if in the October 1987, action had been taken against UMNO Ministers and leaders who were stoking up the racial fires and tensions.

Even in the present meeting of Parliament, Ministers and Deputy Ministers had denied DAP questions and views about the problem of racial polarization. Why is the Government suddenly aware of the problem of racial polarization when reasons had to be found or invented to retain the ISA?

The problem of racial polarization cannot be solved by ISA. In fact, ISA can even contribute to the aggravation of racial polarization as happened during the arbitrary Operation lallang mass arrests.

DAP will support all government efforts to ensure that no racial strife break out in the country, but we cannot support the use of this ground to justify the retention of ISA.

The Government must keep faith with the Malaysian people that the ISA and other extraordinary laws and powers would be repealed once the Communist armed struggle has ended. The first step it must take is to courageously abolish the ISA.

Call on Government to life all travel restrictions to China

Now that the CPM armed struggle is to end tomorrow with of the conclusion of the three – party agreement in Haaydai, Thailand, one of the steps the government should take to restore normalcy in Malaysia is to lift all travel restrictions to China. China should be put on par with other communist countries like Soviet Union, for purposes of foreign travel by Malaysians.