Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, July 7, 1990:
Pairin’s justification of Operation Lalang mass arrests most shocking and utterly indefensible
PBS President and Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan’s justification of his support of the Operation Lalang mass arrests in 1987 is most shocking and utterly indefensible.
Datuk Pairin said he supported the Operation Lalang mass arrests in 1987 because the detainees had been forewarned that if they continued raising sensitive issues, they would be arrested.
This is completely untrue and a distortion of the history of 1987.
From his justification of his support of the Operation Lalang mass arrests in 1987, Datuk Pairin is clearly asserting that all the 106 Operation Lalang detainees, 40 of whom were served with formal detention orders, deserved to be detained under the Internal Security Act.
Pairin seems to be trying to out-Mahathir Mahathir on the Operation Lalang mass detentions and the use of the Internal Security Act.
I challenge Pairin to substantiate his sweeping statement that the Operation Lalang detainees, in particular the 40 who were served with formal detention orders and sent to Kamunting Detention Centre, deserved to be detained.
Let him spell out why the seven DAP MPs, namely Karpal Singh, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, P. Patto, Lau Dak Kee, Lim Guan Eng, V. David and I deserved to be detained under the ISA. Is Pairin suggesting that Guan Eng and I should have served the full two-year detention orders, and not released after 18 months of detention?
Let Pairin spell out why Church workers like Rev. Bro. Anthony Rogers, Dr. Poh Boon Sing, Lim Chin Chin and Sebil John Joseet deserved to be detained under the Operation Lalang.
Let Pairin also explain why Chinese educationists like Lim Fong Seng, Sim Moh Yu, Dr. Tuan Pik King and Dr. Kua Kia Soong should have been detained under the Internal Security Act as well.
I had expected Pairin to apologise for his support of the Operation Lalang detentions, now that the PBS Sabah general elections manifesto is calling for the review of the Internal Security Act.
I do not believe that even the PBS supporters would have expected Pairin to be so unrepentant as to further justify his support of the Operation Lalang mass arrests, which made nonsense of the PBS general elections manifesto on the review of the ISA.
I had only planned to give ceramahs in Tawau and Sandakan on July 12 and 13 in my second trip to Sabah for the Sabah general elections. With Pairins’s shocking statement that the Operation Lalang detainees deserved to be arrested, I have asked the Kota Kinabalu DAP to organise a ceramah in Kota Kinabalu on July 14, for Pairin’s shocking statement cannot stand unchallenged.