Hisham Rais Agrees with Ambiga, Credits M’sian Civil Society Over Abolishment of ISA

(Malaysian Digest) – Activist Hishamuddin Rais today echoed the statement made by former Bar Council President Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan saying that the civil society of Malaysia should be credited over the decision to abolish the Internal Security Act (ISA).

According to him, after years of pressure from the civil society such as Suara Anak Malaysia (SUARAM), Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) and BERSIH, the Act was finally abolished by the government under the Najib administration.
Hishamuddin also said that Najib should be ashamed of himself when the latter said that the decision was made by the Barisan Nasional solely and not based on other movement’s pressure.

“If he has some self respect, then Najib should thank the civil society for enlightening him to abolish the 1960 draconian law of ISA,” said Hishamuddin when met by Malaysian Digest.

Seeing the decision to abolish the ISA as an attempt to liberalize the country, Hishamuddin however said that nothing is concrete at the moment as the prime minister only made an announcement and nothing has yet been tabled in the parliament.

“Let’s not get overexcited about this, the country has seen the prime minister making flip-flop decisions over various government policies in the past.

“For example on the gambling license which in the end doesn’t go much further after all,” said Hishamuddin.

The activist admits that the announcement made by the prime minister is a quantum leap after Merdeka Review reported their poll results stating that Najib’s popularity have been declining.

“This can just be Najib’s public relation practice that will make him popular in the rakyat’s eyes. But that doesn’t mean anything, as in Malaysia, the election doesn’t go in the way like the presidential election in the United States.

“Therefore, for me, if this is a public relation practice by Najib, it won’t affect anything at all,” he added.

Hishamuddin also said that the call from PAS Deputy President, Mohamad Sabu for the government to pay compensation to those who used to be detained under the ISA as ‘a very nice proposal’, but stating an apology should have been more than enough.

“An apology should be enough for me. It’s in our tradition and norms that one must apologize after making a mistake,” he said.

“And if the government decides to make an apology for detaining me for two years in Kem Tahanan Kamunting (Kamunting detention camp), I would have welcomed it,” he added.