The article below is based on a statement by Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) general-secretary S. Arutchelvan on August 1, on the mass protests that day against the repressive Internal Security Act. The ISA allows security forces to detain people and hold them without trial.
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The 40,000-strong mobilisation on August 1 in Kuala Lumpur, and the thousands who did not make it because of police roadblocks, gave a very clear and precise message to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak: repeal the draconian Internal Security Act.
The pro-ISA gathering fizzled out or was drowned by the immense anti-ISA gathering led by the Abolish ISA Movement — a coalition of 83 organisation including the PSM.
This has been the biggest-ever gathering organised against the ISA since the draconian law was enacted 49 years ago. The police used chemical-laced tear gas on the peaceful crowd. More than 400 people were arrested, including scores of PSM supporters.
The gathering was the biggest opposition rally since the last general election. It was a victory for the democratic movement and a blow to the government and the pro-ISA group.
Najib called on the anti-ISA protesters to give him ideas on how to improve this draconian law, which his government said it is in the process of amending. The message today was clear that the people want the ISA abolished.
The ISA has been used for the last five decades, by all prime ministers, against democratic movements, workers' movements, civil society and student movements to enable the government to cling to its power.
It was the deadliest weapon in the hands of the ruling party.
The PSM applauds the brave people who came on to the streets to make their point. The rally included participation by a huge number of young people, giving hope that the struggle ahead has a bright future.
Abolish the ISA now!