‘More ISA-style arrests likely’

Concerned opposition leaders are advising their members to be wary of another ‘Operasi Lalang” style swoop to clamp down on rising dissent in Sarawak.

Joseph Tawie, Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: Opposition leaders in Sarawak are worried that another “Operasi Lalang” reminiscent of the Oct 27, 1987 crackdown in which 106 people were arrested under the Internal Security Act is underway following the recent arrest of two social activists.

Just past midnight last Thursday, Home Ministry officials and Special Branch police raided the office of the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) and arrested its secretary-general Nicholas Mujah. They also cartered away more than 1,000 CDs containing affidavits and testimonies of witnesses for court cases on native customary rights (NCR) land matters.

On the same day, Miri police also picked up another activist, a well-known native customary rights (NCR) land lawyer Abun Sui Anyit at the Miri airport. Sui had just arrived from Kuching. Police confisticated some CDs from his luggage.

Both were reportedly detained under the Film and Seditions Act respectively for possession of “sensitive and seditious” CDs.

Said Batu Lintang DAP representative Voon Lee Shan: “With the arrest of Mujah and Sui, this could probably the beginning of more arrests like Operasi Lalang.”

He said more people were expected to be arrested on “mere suspicion of sedition” such as distributing election flyers and CDs for the coming state election.

Voon, a retired police officer who knew what had happened during Operation Lalang, has advised opposition leaders to review their strategies to avoid arrest and the use of ISA against them.