Form ISA truth and reconciliation commission

Suaran says such a set-up will bring to closure to the entire episode for all those affected by the draconian law.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Following Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s announcement that the Internal Security Act (ISA) will be abolished, there is now a need for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to bring closure to the entire episode for all involved and affected by the law.

Suaram director Kua Kia Soong said the TRC was necessary as a recognition of the pain, injustice, and violations perpetrated under the law that allowed detention without trial.

“We need to bring it all out in the open and that is when we can be at peace as a nation,” he said.

Kua said that a TRC was what South Africa formed after the abolition of apartheid. In South Africa, the restorative justice body saw victims testify about their experiences. Perpetrators of violations also spoke at a public hearing and could request amnesty from criminal prosecution.

“More than 10,000 Malaysians were detained under the law since 1960 and 39,000 deported during emergency in one year,” said Kua, adding that in the 1960s, ISA was used to decimate the entire Labour Party leadership.

“Today is not a day of celebration yet. It is a day of excitement. We can only celebrate when we see all detention without trial Acts abolished,” he added.

Kua himself was a former ISA detainee. He was detained during the infamous Operation Lalang in 1987.

GMI: Our work is not done

Meanwhile, the Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) said proper compensation must be given to all ISA detainees, who must now be released unconditionally. It is understood that some 25 to 30 people were still detained under the ISA.

“After so many years, people still think my husband is a terrorist. We are not talking about money… but who will clear their name?” asked Norlaila Othman, wife of seven-year ISA detainee Mat Sah Mohd Satray.

“I want Najib to apologise to all detainees. Admit that the government did not do the right thing. If he does that, I can forgive him,” added the GMI committee member.

Norlaila said there were numerous families badly affected by the ISA.

“What about those who got divorced because of ISA, those who lost their jobs, children who grew up without a parent and those who could not get a proper education?” she asked.

GMI president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh asked whether the repeal of the ISA meant that there would no longer be detention without trial.