KUALA LUMPUR: The DAP is honouring the detainees of the Operasi Lalang dragnet in 1987, said Baru Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto in a statement.
“They stood up valiantly as the conscience of the many voiceless,” she said.
October 27 marked the 29th year of the massive Operasi Lalang swoop by the government in 1987, recalled Patto. “The authorities detained over 100 voices of conscience.”
Those detained included politicians, educationists, environmentalists, religious leaders and activists. They were held for periods unknown to them at that time and denied the right to counsel.
“Their detention without trial was in the name of protecting national security,” she noted.
The MP urged the government to find its moral compass, realise its wrongdoings, apologise to the people and sincerely make amends. “It should safeguard the spirit and sanctity of human rights and civil liberties as enshrined in the Federal Constitution,” she said.
Otherwise, she warned, it would be tantamount to destroying the nation.
After almost six decades, the BN Government was still using old scare tactics based on race-based political parties and race-based policies, she continued.
“It has always used the 3Rs of religion, race and Rulers to hold on to power in whatever way possible, for as long as it can,” she pointed out.
It has created little napoleons along the way, which only hindered national reconciliation and cemented bad governance.
She charged that the Umno-led government had yet to learn from its mistakes.
The draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) has been slowly resurrected and given a new breath of life by Umno/Barisan Nasional (BN), she charged. “This can be seen in the political criminalisation of the fundamental civil liberties enshrined in the Federal Constitution.”
All this has allowed politics that lack decorum, transparency and accountability, according to the MP. “This has been propagated further by politics of thuggery, racism and violence.”
She cited, as an example, the threats against the Bersih 5 Rally.