KOTA KINABALU: A human rights advocate stressed that Padang Serai MP N Surendran “hit the nail on the head” with his statements on two consecutive days, on preventive detention. “He gave as good as he got, in fact even better,” said Daniel John Jambun in a telephone interview.
“Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
“Nur Jazlan was forced to degenerate into rhetoric and polemics.”
Jambun, who heads the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), urged the Federal Government to emulate what other nations were doing on national security and on combating terrorism.
“These nations hit by terrorism, including long-suffering India for example, don’t have detention without trial.”
There’s no reason for Malaysia to have such laws, he continued, even if it suffered terrorist attacks like so many other countries in the world.
“It’s high time that the Federal Court declared the intention of the framers of the Constitution and the intention of Parliament on national security.
“National security cannot be used as a euphemism to deny civil liberties and human rights.”
In walking down memory lane, the Bopim Chief reminded that Sabahans and Sarawakians know at first hand, based on bitter experience, what it means to be given the short end of the stick when it comes to human rights.
“Several of our people were detained without trial, under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), for reasons which had nothing to do with national security.
“If they had indeed violated national security, they should have been brought to court.”
He referred to Bingkor Assemblyman Jeffrey Kitingan being detained under the ISA in the 90s for pointing out that the Federal Government had been in non-compliance on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“Jeffrey was detained for something which everybody is talking about these days,” added Jambun. “Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem has raised the issue as well with the Federal Government.”
Elsewhere, said the human rights advocate, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Deputy President Maximus Ongkili was detained at about the same time as Jeffrey under the ISA.
“In fact, he was detained not for national security reasons but the fact that PBS pulled out from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) on the eve of the General Election in 1990.
“An additional reason for Jeffrey being detained was the pull-out. He was blamed for it as well.”
The fact, continued Jambun, was Jeffrey was the younger brother of then Sabah Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Ongkili was their nephew. “Putrajaya couldn’t nab Pairin under the ISA, so they nabbed Jeffrey and Ongkili.”
In fact, stressed Jambun, all three men had nothing to do with the pullout although they became the fall guys. “There are no secrets in Sabah.”
Another example that Jambun “had to cite” was the detention of the late James Wong, one time Deputy Chief Minister and President of the Sarawak National Party (Snap), under the ISA.
Wong, it was alleged plotted to sell the Limbang Division to neighbouring Brunei which in fact has a longstanding claim to it since the days of the Brooke Dynasty.
“The real reason was that Putrajaya wanted to break up Snap which was seen as a threat to the Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB),” alleged the Bopim Chief.