Monday, September 19, 2011

The ISA update: 3 good articles to read


I would like to share 3 good articles:

1. A new dawn beckons by Shad Saleem Faruqi

The Prime Minister’s announcement on a number of changes to the country’s laws, including ending the Emergency, will have massive positive implications.

THE Prime Minister’s speech last night evoked the kind of hope and exhilaration I felt many decades ago on Aug 28, 1963, when I heard American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his “I have a dream” speech at the steps of Lincoln Memorial.

The Prime Minister pointed to a number of changes that he intends to bring to the country. Many of these proposals will have massive positive implications for the country’s legal system, its administration of justice and the sovereignty of law over personal discretion. He promised that:

> The emergency proclamations that are in operation will be presented to Parliament for annulment;

> The Internal Security Act will be repealed but replaced with two security laws framed under the Constitution’s anti-subversion provision of Article 149;

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2.Winds of change blowing by Bunn Nagara

THE relief that greeted the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960 and other repressive laws would be abolished was difficult to define for several reasons.

First, nobody expected Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to have gone so far in throwing off decades of unjust laws. When it happened, it took time to sink in, after more than a generation of having to endure those laws.

Second, mention of two new laws to replace the ISA tempered the plaudits from critical observers. Would that mean returning to square one through a bait-and-switch?

Third, those who had banked on the Government retaining the ISA in some revised form were caught unawares. Regardless of their own views of it, they insisted there would be little change, seeking to vindicate themselves and “save face”.

All these have been efforts to adjust to a new national reality post-ISA. A fourth reaction comes from political opportunism: robbed of their thunder, the Opposition tried to diminish the significance of the Government’s move.

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3. Dawn of a new era by Wong Chun Wai

Najib deserves credit for his move to reform some of the country’s most unpopular laws.

IT was the best gift for Malaysians on a special day. It is also a reminder that the nation has grown up and that we should move forward, leaving our baggage behind.

In a nutshell, the Prime Minister has stepped out of the shadows of his predecessors. It is a major step into the future. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak couldn’t have chosen a better day to make the announcement to do away with some of the country’s most unpopular laws.

It surely has not been easy. When bits of news filtered out about his Malaysia Day speech, there were doubts as to how far he would go.

Those who were privy to inner-circle discussions on how the speech would be crafted crossed their fingers and hoped there would be no last minute changes.

After all, as a politician, the Prime Minister has to balance the needs of the conservatives, right wingers and liberals within his party and also the Barisan Nasional coalition.

The PM understands fully how much the world has changed. The global political landscape has been altered drastically and the lessons to learn are that if leaders cannot change, the people will change them. There is plenty to learn from history, some very recent too.

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