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Media Release

10th Anniversary of Operation Lallang

Ten years ago today 106 Malaysian dissidents were detained under the
infamous Internal Security Act, in a desperate bid to silence critics of the
government and perpetuate the powers of the ruling elite.

It was a day of national disgrace which devastated caring Malaysians
throughout the country and outraged the international community.

The crack down was one of the most shameful episodes shamelessly perpetrated
by the administration of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was also the
Minister of  Home Affairs - which he still is - and Minister of Justice.

Justice was violated and democracy was trampled upon through the use of the
obnoxious ISA. This harsh and cruel apparatus of the state became a
convenient tool to put away people who dared to speak up and point out the
wrongs of the government.

This nefarious legislation violates the principles of democracy and denies
the victims their natural justice and therefore can never be sacrosanct with
any religious traditions.

No civilised society can justify a law like the ISA which permits citizens
to be detained indefinitely and denies them their inalienable right of
defence in an open court. It condemns people without establishing their
crime; it punishes the innocent on grounds of dubious suspicion. It allows
the locking up of people thus robbing them of months and years of their
lives and cruelly separating them from their families.

The ISA retards the growth of a civil society and demeans innocent
individuals. It promotes fear and stifles criticism. It is unjust; it is

This is why Aliran has consistently opposed the ISA and called for its
abrogation. Its continued existence will remain as an indelible blight on
the character of this nation.

On this day marking the 10th anniversary of Operation Lallang, Aliran once
again renews its appeal to the government to repeal the ISA, together with
all the other legislations which allow for detention without trial, and
redeem itself in the eyes of the civilised world.

Aliran Executive Committee
27 October 1997

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