Malaysia: Notorious law used to detain regime opponents

September 20, 2008

The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) has condemned the arrest of an opposition member of parliament and two journalists (one an outspoken online political blogger) under the Internal Security Act (ISA) allowing indefinite detention after the government's biggest security clampdown since losing support in March elections.

Malaysia's home minister Syed Hamid Albar claimed the arrests were in the interest of public order and safety.

The PSM, which finally won official registration as a political party on September 10, issued a statement on September 13 condemning the arrests. The statement, abridged below, is reprinted from

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Every ISA arrest is a political decision to safeguard the interest of the ruling elite.

These arrests have nothing to do with the security of the country. The only security these arrest guarantee is the security of the ruling elite.

This is not new in Malaysian politics and the United Malaysian National Organisation (UMNO), the largest party in the ruling National Front (BN) government, is not new to this game. The arrest of Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng and MP Theresa Kok — and many more which may follow — is yet another last resort to save a corrupt government in its finals days in office.

The wounded UMNO and its wounded allies will try everything to cling to power.

This latest desperate attempt by UMNO to stay in power is enough reason why it is time to replace them. It is now the right time for parties in the BN that say they are against the ISA to make a stand and leave it.

The moment has come for all of us to make and take a stand. The ruling and corrupt BN elites are going to use all their resources to clamp down, but we have the numbers and motivation, and now we need the courage, to fight back.

We face an imminent economic crisis, the working class faces rising inflation and further cuts to their wages and benefits. BN and the ruling capitalist classes want us to forget this and create a climate of fear.

They are seeking to create a climate that will ensure we remain docile while they continue to rule us. It is time we put forward our agenda — the agenda of the workers and the common people.

Great movements in history are not determined by dozens of people, but by a mass movement willing to bring about a change. It is time we unite and mobilise the forces for change.

The PSM will stand with our fists clenched, and we are determined to defeat the onslaught from UMNO and its allies.

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