You can only imprison the body, not the mind

You can only imprison the body, not the mind



Jailed former prime minister Najib Razak will not be able to issue statements, following an order by the Prison Department barring all inmates from campaigning for the coming polls. “No statements can be issued by prison inmates,” said senior director (prison policy) Supri Hashim, reported Malaysia Now last week.

When one-time Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Harun Idris was serving his jail sentence in the Pudu Prison, he not only campaigned in the Umno party election, but he even stood as a candidate and won. Anwar Ibrahim, on the other hand, ran his party newspaper, Berita Keadilan — via proxy, of course — and issued daily instructions to the editor, YM Raja Petra Al Haj Bin Raja Kamarudin, on what to do. Anwar even decided the editorial content and the issues to cover.

Some people say Umno-Barisan Nasional’s victory in the Melaka and Johor state elections was because of Najib Razak’s contribution in the campaign. Hence Najib is a factor to be feared. Is this why they are imposing a gag order on him?

As the saying goes, you can only imprison the body, but the mind remains free. And every human being has a God-given right to express his or her thoughts and opinions, including those regarding politics and the coming general election or PRU15.

Najib’s incarceration means he cannot be allowed to go home. But an incarceration does not mean he cannot think or speak. And the fact he speaks on politics does not change anything.

On 19th June 1973, Ninoy Aquino wrote the now historical letter from his prison cell in Fort Bonifacio. Ten years later, unable to silence him any longer, he was assassinated in front of his wife. Not long after that, President Marcos was ousted and Aquino’s widow took over as Philippines’ new president.

They may have killed Aquino in body, but they could not kill his mind and words, even four years after he had died. Aquino’s thoughts and words reached the rakyat from his grave. So, yes, fear a person’s thoughts and words, for you can never silence a person with a free spirit, even after you assassinate him.