Najib’s ploy

And while Najib has promised a review of the ISA, it has been made clear that abolishing it is not in his pack of cards. Worse, the new administration hasn't even committed to a specific timeframe about when this review will be concluded. Instead, it has assured the public that it will take time.

By Jacqueline Ann Surin, The Nut Graph

LEST we allow our new prime minister to get away with a slick public relations exercise, here are some cold hard statistics about previous prime ministers and the Internal Security Act (ISA).

In July 1981, two weeks into office as prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad released 21 ISA detainees. As he himself candidly admitted on 5 April 2009, he thought it would be good for him. It probably was for his public image then.

But what did Mahathir subsequently do during his 22 years in power? According to Suaram, under Mahathir's administration, 1,500 people were arrested under the ISA. Most notable of these arrests were the 100-plus Malaysians who were arrested in 1987 under Operasi Lalang.

But Mahathir wasn't the only one to start off a premiership on such a good footing. In November 2003, after almost a month of being prime minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi released 15 detainees. Subsequently, however, under his administration between October 2003 and April 2009, there were 105 new arrests.

And so, Datuk Seri Najib Razak isn't really doing anything extraordinary as Malaysia's new and sixth prime minister. His release of 13 ISA detainees on 5 April follows a route Malaysians should now be familiar with.

The question, of course, is what will Najib do after this?