Excerpts: Read here for more
MUST READ !! : Click HERE- Open Letter from Dato Zaid Ibrahim to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to repeal the ISA.
(Dato Zaid resigned from the cabinet in disgust over the recent arrests of Raja Petra, Teresa Kok and journalist Tan Hoon Cheng)
"... Free Raja Petra Kamarudin and all the ISA detainees.
Abolish the ISA.
This is my appeal to the current regime (UMNO-led BN Government)...."
- Dr.Azly Rahman
- How do we continue to live with the contradiction of being a ratifier of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and still hold on to the Internal Security Act (ISA) as an instrument of oppression?
- At home, how must we live with this hypocrisy of jailing without trial our noble citizens such as Raja Petra Kamaruddin and yet abroad speak out against Guantanamo Bay in the platform of world affairs?
They say that culturally Malaysians are different than, say the American or the Britons. Human rights is a subjective issue that needs subjective interpretation, as the argument goes.
The way the government deals with freedom of speech for example includes the stubborn political will to keep the ISA intact as an instrument of the country's ‘right’ to maintain peace and security.
When Malaysian leaders are abroad and speak to Malaysians at dinner gatherings, for example, they often argue that other countries do not have the right to meddle into the affairs of another nation.
The US therefore is warned not to comment on Malaysian politics. Al Gore and Condoleezza Rice are to be scorned for making statements about the reformasi demonstrations on Malaysian streets and on the trial of Anwar Ibrahim, respectively.
At home, however, Malaysian leaders ironically love to rally for the cause of others - from the abolition of apartheid in South Africa or for the plight of the Palestinians.
Well and good. These are universal issues of human rights of which we ought to be aware.
We speak up for the rights of the Bosnians, the Chechens, the Palestinians, and Pattani Malays. I do not know whether the former Yugoslavs, the Russians, the Israelis, and the Thais have warned Malaysians not to meddle into the politics of the respective countries.
Isn't upholding and protecting of human rights the job of all citizens of the world? Did we not speak out against Guantanamo Bay, as millions of Americans have been doing; Americans who themselves are fed up with the war-mongering Bush-Cheney regime?
Hypocrisy of the UMNO-Led BN Government
Herein lies our hypocrisy within the context of our proclaimed ideology of Islam Hadhari and the right to talk about human rights. We are living with an outdated version of the Mahathir-Lee Kuan Yew interpretation of human rights vis-a-vis political and economic stability.
The ISA is used on citizens these days as part of a way to ensure that power, ideology, and hegemony is maintained for the rights of the few and to sustain the right to dehumanise others.
The question for educators like me is:
How will the continuing existence of the British colonial legacy of the ISA create a progressive, liberal, intelligent, wise, and just Malaysia?How do we mediate the false dichotomy between the ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ interpretations of human rights?
Malaysia is a signatory to the UDHR including:
- Article 9: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.I believe the much trumpeted brand of Islam the current regime is promoting, Islam Hadhari, is anti-civilisation in the way human right is vis-a-vis the ISA detentions.
- Article 10: Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
It is anti-Islam when those who are detained are fighting for social, economic justice and as Islam requires, to speak truth to power in combating corruption. To jail those who expose wrongdoings bring Islam Hadhari back to the age of pre-Islamic Jahiliyyah (Age of Ignorance).
Indeed, we are being hypocrites when we continue to keep and use the instrument of oppression left behind by the oppressors. We continue to let the current regime refine the instrument.
Setting aside the truncated mindset of the Malaysian leaders, the people must recognise the critical importance of the awareness and maintenance of human rights throughout the world.
We must believe that the definition, creation, and dissemination of human rights norms can bridge the gaps between countries, ensure that individual's human rights are respected, and pave the way for a more peaceful world.
And, as the countries of our world become increasingly more interconnected, the call for universal human rights standards could not be more important.
We are hypocrites living in an ideology of Hadhari.
We seem to refuse to understand what the idea of the universality of human rights means.
We cannot progress in this area unless we live by such principles of human rights - the one that we too ratified.
-Dr. Azly Rahman