Apologise for Ops Lalang, Suaram adviser tells Dr Mahathir

A protester lighting a candle to protest against the Internal Security Act in 2010. It was repealed in 2012 but replaced with other laws that critics say make detention without trial still possible. – EPA pic, October 14, 2017.

DR Mahathir Mohamad must take responsibility and apologise to detainees of 1987’s Ops Lalang, as he was the home minister who signed the detention order under the Internal Security Act, Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong said.

The former prime minister has been saying it was not his doing but that of the police, but he was the home minister then who signed the two-year detention order, said Kua. 

“The IGP (Inspector-General of Police) didn’t sign those detention orders – the home minister, Mahathir did!” said Kua, who was among the 106 detained under Ops Lalang in 1987.

He said the 92-year-old veteran politician must take responsibility for the alleged mental and physical torture suffered by detainees during their solitary confinement in the first 60 days of their detention at the hands of Special Branch officers.

“Torture under the ISA has been perpetrated with impunity by the Malaysian Special Branch since it was enacted in 1960.

“Dr Mahathir is ultimately responsible for all the ‘atrocities committed under this dragnet’ as he was prime minister and home minister at the time.

“If there is any member of Pakatan Harapan who agrees with Dr Mahathir, the home minister and prime minister in 1987, that he was not responsible for Ops Lalang, let him or her step forward.” 

Dr Mahathir, who now chairs the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition, is working with opposition leaders from PH component parties who were detained during the Ops Lalang crackdown.

They include DAP’s Lim Kit Siang, his son Guan Eng, and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, who was with PAS at the time.

Dr Mahathir, who was alleged to have masterminded the crackdown on October 27, 1987, is expected to face his critics in a forum in George Town, Penang, on October 28. The forum, organised by the Penang Institute, will feature former detainees, their families and Dr Mahathir. 

Kua, who was also detained in the dragnet, said Operasi Lalang was “Dr Mahathir’s worst abuse of power during his 23-year rule”, and his “most desperate attempt at clinging to power” when he faced the threat from Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s Team B, who challenged the Umno election results in 1987.

“In the run-up to Operasi Lalang and before the assault on the judiciary resulting in the sacking of the Lord President and several other Supreme Court (As the apex court was called at the time) judges, the ruling party orchestrated a tense situation in the country by creating various ‘sensitive’ issues.

“They included sending non-Mandarin qualified administrators to Chinese schools, converting Muslims to Christianity and even threatening to organise a 500,000-people Umno rally in the capital. 

“All this was to justify unleashing Ops Lalang to deal with the so-called ‘enemies’ identified by the state,” he said

Kua said since Dr Mahathir retired as prime minister in 2003, he had been “trying in vain” to claim that Ops Lalang was not his doing, but that of the police. 

He said any attempt to whitewash his record seemed more urgent now, since Dr Mahathir joined the opposition. – October 14, 2017.

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  • LKS is one politician that understands politics. He knows grudges will bring him nowhere. Kua has much to learn from him.

    Posted 6 years ago by Tanahair Ku · Reply