EO6: A bitter lesson for the govt


By Jeswant Kaur, FMT

Abusing the Emergency Ordinance 1969, six breadwinners of their families’ were thrown behind bars and defamed with having waged a war against the King, holding subversive beliefs and instigating the rakyat to attend a rally which the police had deemed illegal.

Yesterday, 28 days later, all six were set free, unconditionally. The question that begs an answer from Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is: What happened in those 28 days’ that made him, his cousin the Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and the Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar realise that the six are innocent and should rightfully be released?

Or was it a case of all three parties being well aware of the innocence of the six but proceeded to used them as scapegoats, hoping to teach Malaysians in general a lesson for taking to the streets on July 9, 2011 and challenging the ‘powers that be’?

The six detained were Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael D Jeyakumar, Parti Sosialis Malaysia deputy president M Sarasvathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M Sukumaran, Youth chief R Saratbabu and Sungai Siput branch secretary A Letchumanan.

Despite cooperating with the police, the six were treated like hardcore criminals, being held in solitary confinement and deprived of all basic necessities including their medication as in the case of Jeyakumar and Sarasvathy.

It was much later that the police claimed the six were detained for allegedly being “movers” for the July 9, 2011, rally organised by election watchdog Bersih 2.0 (Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections).

However, none of the six were steering committee members of the Bersih 2.0 which was declared illegal by the government. The coalition comprises of more than 60 non-governmental organisations.

What rule of law, Najib?

On July 29, after a tormenting 28-day ordeal, when all six were released, Najib had this to say: “It is a decision (to release) taken by the police based on their own observation.

“We accept the decision made by the police… it is up to the attorney-general to decide on the next course of action. As a sovereign country we uphold the rule of law.”

Is Najib confirming that this country has turned into a police state, with the police having absolute liberty to detain and abuse whoever they wish?

Premier Najib said Malaysia as a sovereign country upholds the rule of law.

The rule of law states that individuals, persons and government shall submit to, obey and be regulated by law and not arbitrary action by an individual or a group of individuals.

Clearly Najib contradicted himself, for in the case of the six, the rule of law was never applied. It was the arbitrary action of the ‘powers that be’ that resulted in the detention of the six who later became known as PSM6.

And in case Najib has forgotten, the rule of law applies to the government as well, compelling it to obey the law and not manipulate it to serve the interest of a select few.