Umno-BN blames ISA rally on Pakatan, to charge Sivarasa on Monday

By Wong Choon  Mei

Even as Pakatan Rakyat leaders slam the government for selective prosecution over the August 1 mammoth anti-ISA rally, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has ordered an investigation to determine if opposition politicians including PKR vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah had “masterminded” the protest.

According to Bernama, Hishamuddin – who is the cousin of Prime Minister Najib Razak – said legal action would be taken against those found guilty of having breached the laws.

He also said  protesters at the rally organised by the Abolish the ISA Movement or Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA adopted the same modus operandi used by the group protesting the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English earlier this year.

Najib’s administration has since controversially reverted the tecahing of the two key subjects to Bahasa Malaysia at national schools and mother-tongue at vernacular schools amid public calls to do so.

Likewise, Malaysians have been urging the repeal of the ISA or Internal Security Act, an oppressive law that has been frequently abused by the federal government to jail dissenters and political foes without trial for indefinite periods of time.

Growing public distrust for police, institutions

Meanwhile, 63 people out of the 589 arrested on Saturday are still under remand. This includes a 16-year old schoolboy Faizudin Hamzah and PKR vice president Sivarasa Rasiah, who is due to be charged in court on Monday.

“This is definitely selective prosecution,” said human rights lawyer and PKR communications director Jonson Chong.

Another Pakatan leader, PAS MP for Kuala Krai Hatta Ramli was beaten up even as he pleaded with the police not to use violence against the protesters. He was later released.

Meanwhile, Sivarasa’s lawyer M Puravalen said his client may be charged for allegedly inciting people during a speech made near the Sime Darby building along Jalan Raja Laut during the rally.

“But he was nowhere near the building,” said Puravalen.

Said P Ramakrishnan, president of human rights group Airan: “The BN does not want the rest of the nation to know how dissatisfied and disgusted the people are getting with the BN government, which is fast losing its credibility and moral authority to remain in power.

“It is a typical reaction from an authority that is not capable of debating and discussing this issue rationally and sensibly. It only knows the rough tactics of barbarity and brutality that are alien to good governance.”

Vengeful administration

PKR information chief Latheefa Koya is also expecting the worst for Sivarasa on Monday. A prominent lawyer, Sivarasa has long been a vocal critic of the Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan and Attorney General Gani Patail.

He has been representing Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim in the latest sodomy conspiracy sprung by Najib’s administration and is also helping the reform icon sue Musa and Gani for fabricating evidence against him in an earlier case.

According to Latheefa, charges against Sivarasa could framed under the more serious Sedition Act rather than for participating in an illegal rally as earlier expected.

Police sources told her the decision to detain Sivarasa, who was expected to be released on Sunday, came directly from the police legal department at Bukit Aman, which means that the AG’s office is involved.

Last week, Pakatan leaders led the cream of Malaysian civil society in urging the King not to renew Musa’s contract. The top cop is due to retire in September but it is believed Najib wants to renew his term by another two years.

“Musa Hassan is wreaking personal vengeance against me and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders for the parliamentary round-table last week calling for a new IGP to create a safe Malaysia,” said DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.