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Third Speaker : YB Tan Sri Harun Hashim (Commissioner SUHAKAM)

Thank you, Mr Sivarasa. Our hopes are also with you, and we all go against ISA. Sekarang saya ingin menjemput Tan Seri Harun Hashim. Beliau adalah hakim terkenal dan berwibawa. Beliau juga pernah memegang tugas yang amat penting untuk iaitu Pengarah (…) yang kini dikenali sebagai BPR. Dan kini Tan Seri Harun Hashim merupakan salah seorang Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia(SUHAKAM). Sekian. Sekarang dipersilakan.

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahiwabarakatuh. Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, is it Madam or Miss Chairperson.
Tajuk tu dari ISA dari segi/ apatuh daru perspektif hak asasi manusia, benarlah, kalau dari segi/ perspektif hak asasi manusia memang ISA tidak patut ada, tidak patut di (…) Kerana mengikut Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5 menyatakan “no one shall be tortured or punished cruelly or treated in a degrading way” (Tiga tiga tu saudara tadi sudah mengalami, the law must be safe for everyone), and then “no one shall be arrested or imprisoned or sent away from their country without proper reason, everyone has the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial legal body”. Sebab tu lah bila asalnya tujuh orang kena tahan, SUHAKAM telah keluar kenyataan untuk mereka tujuh orang ni patut dibebaskan, atau telah dia buat kesalahan patut didakwa didalam mahkamah.
So itu dari segi perspektif ISA. Sekarang kita rujuk balik ke ISA ni. Dia... ISA ni telah di wujud pada tahun ‘60- iaitu daripada tahun ‘48 hingga tahun ‘60 keadaan darurat yang mengakibatkan secara aktiviti komunis, masa tu komunis cukup ... ah...bunuh orang, kalau tak bagi duit, dia bunuh orang depan keluarga, tebalikkan keretapi, lempah bom ke dalam panggung wayang, membunuh orang perempuan yang anak beranak, dan sebagainya. Jadi betul dia zalim dan jahatlah... memang betul betul orang jahat ...dia terrorist...(........) dia tembak, dia bunuh orang, tikam, macam macam dia buatlah... They were really bad. Sebab tu ada undang undang... Jadi... asalnya Emergency Ordinance, bapak EO, ialah daripada Ireland. Pasal orang Irish ni pandai memberontak dan sebagainya. Sampai sekarang tak habis habis lagi cerita dia. Dia Irish... they are first class terrorrist. Jadi undang undang tu wujud di situlah, (...) kita ambik daripada sana bawa ke sini, jadi EO. Tetapi selepas ada tu terpaksa membuat Internal Security Act. Jadi ISA ini telah dilulus oleh parlimen selepas kemerdekaan. Jangan kata orang putih jahat. Orang putih dah tak ada dah. Ah ni orang kita ni.

We made this law..Malaysians made this law. The Malaysian parliament elected by you people. So it is our parliament, our law, and every five years we renew the license one more time, one more time,..So we are complaining against ourselves. Let’s face it –this is the problem. So what the police are doing is a very legal thing in that sense.But I will admit the experiences narrated by both our two previous speakers are not in the law…Are not in the law, certainly against human rights. You are not supposed to torture people, etc, etc.

Now but look at the kepala of this Act.It says “ An act to provide for the internal security of Malaysia …….preventive detention, the prevention of subversion, the suppression of organised violence against persons and property in specified areas of Malaysia.” So you must name the area first. I don’t know whether they’ve named any area or not …. And then the……Because this is a special law under Article 159 I think…149 is it? “Whereas action has been taken , and further action is threatened by a substantial body of persons (...) both inside or outside Malaysia to cause and to cause a substantial number of citizens to fear organised violence against persons and property and to procure the alteration otherwise than by lawful means of the lawful government of Malaysia by law established. And whereas the action taken and threatened is prejudicial to the security of Malaysia and whereas parliament considers it necessary to stop or to prevent that action, now, therefore, pursuant to Article 149 of the Constitution , be enacted, etc.”

So these are the preconditions, but if you look at these conditions again, they fit like a glove the conditions of this country in 1960…The threat of communism which was very, very physical. They were really killing people, and there were subversion …. Of subversion. Even they had literature – they want people to become communist- very subtle ….Killing people is one part of the story… you don’t , they kill you. But at the same time they were persuading people to be communists because after the second World War in particular, the communist wanted to rule the world. That was a fact of life, you know. They really wanted to rule the world. And so they wanted every country to become communist, and they tried it- one country after another. Of course Russia was there, and actually, when you talk about revolutions – this communism was invented in Paris, you know, not in Moscow. The stupid Russians probably know this.. It was invented by the French and then of course its still in China. And the propoganda at that time was such that there were a lot of poor people. Poverty was everywhere, and to sell communism was very, very easy- because if you accept communism then you wouldn’t have this problem.

Now this is talking about communism, but actually the target, the whole idea was actually socialism. Socialism – you do it in a nice way, you go for election, you have a political party, then win elections, and then you can implement socialism. That was how Hitler started. And many western countries became socialist through the normal legal process. But some countries adopted communism because that is the only way to establish socialism. So communism is the forceful way of getting to the same objective, which is socialism. Socialist countries is what they take through normal legal parliamentary means – that sort of thing.
Now in theory, socialism is very good.. in theory. But people being what they are... it is almost impossible to achieve that objective. See , the ah, the what do you call this.. to practice real socialism, the communist of course very particular to this country because they were very violent. But distinct socialism. Socialism is that if properly applied, if there are not enough shoes, each man will only get half a shoe. So let’s be fair to everybody. Everybody gets half one shoe. And there was this story about an Egyptian- He was down and out. He has borrowed from everybody in the family ‘til they do not want to give him any more money. So he wants to borrow from his friends, and his friend also refuse to lend him any more money. He was down and out. Got wife and children. They were hungry. So he do not know what to do, so he wrote a letter addressed to Allah: Allah, please help me- my family now starving, please send me 20 pounds. He is not a very ambitious man, he only asked for 20 pounds. So he posted the letter, but the postman got the letter, did not know where Allah was, so he did the next best thing- delivered it to the president. And the president said “You must be very desperate to write to Allah to borrow 20 pounds... Send him 10 pounds.” So when he received the 10 pounds, another letter to Allah: Allah thank you very much for sending me the 10 pounds, but you should not have sent it through president Nasr. He’s a socialist, he kept the other 10 pounds.
This universal declaration, I know a lot of politicians say so, this it was referred to , related to, this is the western concept. They are making use of it to recolonise us. Human rights, human rights is western concept- they are using it to recolonise us. And China having the same problem with the WTO because their.. what happened in Tianemen Square, etc etc. In fact the good news yesterday was that for the first time in the history of United Nations Human Rights Commission, the US lost its seat. They preach human rights, but they themselves do not practice it. So.. I was there for two weeks and I know what happened…at this particular conference.

Now .. if you look at the ..there are thirty articles, this Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was made on the 10th of December 1948, in California, in San Francisco. It was adopted by the United Nations on the 10th of December 1948, there are thirty articles. Still, seeing what our brother has said, if you go through the thirty aricles, every one of them is not new to us. In fact, I’ll go one step further, every single article of this Universal Declaration are contained in the Qur’an, which is 1400 years old. The right to justice, the right to a fair trial, all this sort of thing is already there in the Qur’an. The qualification who should be judged, how the judge should do his work.. its all there. And these are in the UDHR, so its nothing new to us- our religion says so.. so its nothing new.

Now what has happened is that the,... I think cannot run away from the fact that the ISA was designed to deal with the communist, and mercifully they are no more around. In fact our communist .. the communist are now our good friends. China is buying our rubber , our palm oil, you name it, they are buy buy buy. And then recently what was it , they are manufacturing something, they don’t have the money to buy our product... no , they have invented something we don’t have the money to buy, so never mind we supply you palm oil, you supply us whatever it is that you are manufacturing.. so back to the old style of barter trade.. The more sophisticated you are, the more basic we become. So we have that. So, the question is, the big question mark is: How is ISA still relevant today? It was designed to deal with the communists,but then the communists are no longer around… no trains are being derailed etc. etc. nobody throwing bombs into cinema houses , in fact cinema houses don’t exist anymore anyway… But that was the scenario.

So the government, I think with reference to what our learned friend has said earlier on, this... the courts have been quite proactive in many respects, and I was part of that system for some years, and everytime we made a decision, they will rush to parliament to change the law again. And ….is very very evident, if you look at sections 8 on powers of preventive detention power to order detention or restriction of gossip this is what these 7 or 10 have been arrested, you see. And then you have a,b,c you know, because 8 is followed by 8a, 8b, 8c. Everytime we make decision, a, then next decision b, then next, c. So quickly I’d like to go through this- it’s the 1999 Amendments. I joined the Supreme Court in 1998, in 1999 we got all this series of laws. Which says that no new sections judicial review of act or decision of Yang Dipertuan Agong and minister /can administer- there should be no judicial review in any court because we were proactive. So tangkap lepas, tangkap lepas… eh apa you Harun bikin nih.

Power in accordance with the act- Same in regards to any question on compliance with any procedurual requirements in this act governing such act or decision, which is actually reducing it to almost nothing. The exception of the governing on any question of law shall not apply pulak where the grounds are described as 8a. We have no power except, but they accept cannot also. ….So in fact there’s nothing kan.. you tolak tolak tolak …. This macam if some people on the roadside they have three trucks bukan, they put the thing, we know where it is…. So in this Act judicial review includes proceedings assisted by way of an aplication for any of the …of containment …of…right. “An application for the duration or an injunction, a writ of habeas corpus and any other suit, action or other legal proceedings relating to or arising out of any act done or decision made by the Yang Dipertuan Agong.” Semua dah tak boleh tanya dah, you see…

And then government section 8 (...) “...shall apply to any proceedings by way of judicial review of any act done or decision made by the Agung or the minister if such proceeding were … before….”.yang sudah lepas pun pakai balik ……So the reference to proceedings …..shall not include a reference to distinguish had concluded and in respect of … which is fair enough- if its concluded its concluded , there’s nothing you can do about it bukan? Tapi not concluded boleh pakai lagi. So that was a very severe series of amendments in 1989.
Now the point is that this law has been amended 19 times- ISA. A 1960 law, and the series of amendments started in 1962 and its been regularly amended. And the more they amend, the worse it becomes, the worse it becomes. So.. justified in 1960, conditions in 1960 but the question is, is it still justified under the present situation.
Now I think what is also clear is that the government made some law to control unexpected situations. We got good comparisons- recently in the Philippines- the people power- were very peaceful demonstrations and brought down the present government. But last week it was not so peaceful. I mean they started burning things up and what not, so the president had to act, by arresting people. And then using force to disburse the crowd. But that was an unexpected situation. And the courts in Indonesia, in Jakarta, the same situation again So there are unusual situations and any government worth its salt…. Must have some power, some legal power to act quickly to solve this. Now we cannot say that well because of human rights, right to fair… etc etc bukan?... Let them burn the houses, let them terbalik people’s kereta .. these cars and what not on the roadside does not belong to the people, I mean belongs to public people but nothing to do with what happened, and the innocent people’s property- cars get burned down just because of the mob. I have faced actual mobs myself in my rather long career with the government. You must go and see a real mob, ready to break out into violence. And just a freak like that is enough for the people to go wild. So when that happens, so the question is ...alright .. for the normal cause of things…these people have done.. . tangkap dia, you arrest for causing damage to so and so, arrest for burning people’s property, that sort of thing. So but then sekarang ni, the police have only the power to act – to arrest and charge them in court. But in a situation controlled by a mob, nobody can have that kind of luxury. So all over the world, the police, they have this special forces trained how to control mobs, how to control violence- everywhere in the world its like that. But to trigger these people, you must have a special law to allow those things to be done.

So we believe in SUHAKAM, there is certain aspects of the Internal Security Act will still be relevant in this country or in fact in many many countries wherever you go. It is in existence. But who can use it , how it is used, that’s a different story. Now in the past, as Mr Sivarasa has demonstrated, had similar laws, and yet they have watered it down, and there must be somebody to check- I think that is very important. There is a very big question mark- is the situation really serious? In that sense that maybe the police have information that we don’t know about, to have this type of law being preserved. But then we had real problems when this law was enacted in 1960 where we can see … everyday people are getting killed, people are being shot and what not, is that …..justification for that law…(?) and we go out to the world and say Malaysia is a peaceful country with all the races are together, we celebrate Christmas together, Deepavali Thaipusam… come and invest in this country. And our economy is so good we attract all sorts of people Indonesians, Phillipinos, Myanmar, and even ghurkas from Nepal also coming down , finding work because our economy is so good. So if that is one side of the picture, how come this is still there. We need that law- part of it, some of it, but when it is excercised it should be subject to some sort of review. And in any country we cannot trust the judges … who else to trust.. if the judges are no good, we better change them. But we have to trust somebody, and obviously, the executive should not be given that job. The police are given certain powers but somebody must check them, but there must always be requests to the courts and to the judges as to preventing the balance so that.. because it is so easy looking at this law, leading to abuse, leading to a dictatorship.. very very easy. You have the wrong person at the top, you had it. So there must be some sort of check and balance.

So, as far as human rights is concerned, all we can say is that in the condition we are reviewing this law, but people expect too much of us. We have limited facilities in the sense that .. manpower wise. But we have started working on this law, and we are asking the police, why do you need this law? If you need this law, why do you need so much power? Then we are asking the Misnistry of Home Affairs why do you need this law? In fact, not so long ago, the ministers must … you know. They were already beginning to liberalise -they were already beginning to say that it is time that we review the ISA – the ministers themselves were saying that, the present government was saying that you see, but suddenly, I don’t know, everything got changed again . and you see we have right, yse, but with right must go with responsibility. I think we have managed recently, you see there were these street demonstrations which caused some damage to public property and also in the private property, which I think put the government – they said are we back in 1960? Then they start thinking- they switch back, suddenly they switch back what 30 years? 40 years? We had a sample of it in 1969, 13th May 1969. But then this law was stilll OK, I don’t think there were many arrests, the laws remain unchanged. Actually there was some slight change after 1969. But before that the law was not... there was some changes but not because of 1969. But then the real changes came in 1989, so instead of going that way, they are going backwards. So we had to ask through research and discussion with the relevant ministries, why has this happened.
Because most of us know violence begets violence. You cheat people, people will be bad. So who starts it? That’s the thing. So there is this current situation where they have resorted to have very strong measures but that is irrelevant. So overall I would say that ISA in the perspective of human rights per se is wrong. But we have to be realistic, we have to be realistic, and so there is the approach of SUHAKAM, is how best to ..I don’t think the government in its decision or anybody for that matter will want to see the total abolishment of the Internal Security Act. I think a repeal, I think that is not possible under present circumstances,but what is possible is how to control it further, how to reduce and control it further and how to make it more answerable, more accountable to powers. And how to limit its use in specific situations, because even originally, I think somebody forgot to read this you know, ‘ in specified areas of Malaysia’- so you cannot have ISA throughout the whole of Malaysia at any time- it must be specified- where is the problem. So if your problem is around the National Mosque then restrict it to the National Mosque or Dataran Merdeka, somewhere there. Itu sudahlah. But certainly not in Kajang, in Baling or in some other place.

So there must to be specific … so that is the position…..Basically per se , dia tak boleh, but how to allow it to, what do you call it, be pragmatic, be practical, the government needs this power to act in sudden situations like the one which occurred recently in Manila, in Jakarta. If the government was to sit back… pergi tangkap dia, pergi bawa mahkamah, I think people will go wild. Once the mob starts rolling, they don’t know when to stop, unless somebody really, really stops them, cool them down with the water hose- bagi dia sejuk sikit la.. literally to cool them down. But the mob can run wild. I know many of you, nearly all of you are young. There was this case, a chinese had been killed or sentenced to death or something like that and his body was lying in this funeral parlour in Jalan Sultan in Kuala Lumpur. When the politicians – actually most of our problems are caused by politicians, no matter what party they belong to, they are the ones, if they just leave us alone, we go to work, we do our business, there’ll be no problem, but these politicians are a necessary evil- the system says we must have politicians to run the country you see – but wherever you look, whenever you look, how far you go back, even to the French Revolution also, it’s the politician who started it, you know, he causes problems, and everybody else suffers. So but we have to live with them whether we like them or not, nobody likes them really… we have to put up with them. So the parties they wanted to have a procession coming out of Jalan Sultan through in those days known as Fort’s Avenue, Petaling Street, Jalan Tun it?.. Tun whatever… Tun Perak , and then turn into Batu Road ( now Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman). That is the route they wanted to take. So the police said no no no you are going to cause a lot of problems, because they are going through right through the city. So the police said no no no, and then the election was coming- the general election. The the government realised the only way is to allow them to have the procession because we do not want any problems during the election itself. In the election of ’69. So they said alright, you can come out, make your procession, as you come out from Jalan Sultan, you turn left, there’s a round-about Jalan Kuching, this flyover and then into JalanKuching- very safe , no problem, no shops to burn on the way. And they said yes- ahh the government was very happy. So my office next door- I was concerned whether they are going to burn my office or not.

So I came out. And then I went to this junction of Jalan Sultan and Petaling Street, and there was only one police man. One soul. He was the traffic chief at that time, now he’s Tan Sri Mansoor, something or other. Anyway, he was there in uniform, and he was alone. The only police man in uniform, and they came out, then they turned right, after promising to turn left, they turned right – they were determined to take the route which they’d been planning all along. So Mansoor said “ eh- they’re supposed to turn left not right”. I said “Yes. What are you to do?” look at that. You are alone in uniform, they are this very solemn crowd, very fierce faces. And I said “Mansoor, just leave them alone. Let them turn right, there’s nothing you can do about it, because you are alone and they are ready, under the coffin they had this long parang and what not… really. They are waiting to be provoked”. And I could feel it. To be in this must really feel the real tense situation. So Mansoor said nevermind I’ll keep you company , I’ll walk with you. So I walked with him through all these forbidden streets right up to this junction between Tun Perak and Batu Road. But they were ready to be provoked by the police, I said Mansoor whatever you do, don’t provoke them because once you provoke them, you are going to have violence all over the place. And as we passed the shops were being closed, you know, the Chinese shops, one after another they do not want any problem also. But you could see the tension, really tense. So that type of people, a mob like that, one spark, one stroll and you had it. The whole city can be destroyed just like that, because these people, these mobs can …I have in… long long time ago, during the Emergency, again during the Emergency, I was very much involved in the Emergency you know, so I can speak this up actively.. active participant not by staying in the jungle and shooting at people but it was the other way around. We had a penghulu in Ulu Kelantan who was a very active person, and he and his group of kampung people- this is a very isolated kampung. He got very angrywith this communists who at that time, in that area were Chinese.( and this was a Malays kampung) So he said we are fed up with these communists. You know, they come.. we grew the rice, and then they just comse and take it away, our goats and whatever it is … they just take away like that. So what he did was he organised ambushes and killed these communists. And one day, the communists said this fellow is too much- you know so many of the comrades died in the process, so they captured him, and then took him to the jungle for trial by the communist court in the jungle. Then the Malays said because he’s a very popular Penghulu, he helped a lot of people etc, etc and he was captured or kidnapped by the communist, so they issued pamhlets they said unless this Penghulu is returned within 24 hours, we will kill all the Chinese in town. And at that time, the only chinese in town were women and children- the men were the communists inside the jungle. So they said we are going to kill all these Chinese.

And the DO was a European – he said Harun, you are a native, you go and sort this thing out. I was his assistant I was the AG that time, so I had to go up to this, and that at that time there was no .. the only.. the fastest means of communication was by railway but there were no regular services, so under Emergency Regulations we comandeered one locomotive and one bullet-proof coach just to put me alone inside there. And time was running against us, because people were gathering, and they were getting very angry, because they had issued notice 24 hours, they’re going to kill all the Chinese. So the blooming train dia pakai kayu tau- they were burning these logs, timber logs, not even coal just timber logs.. very very slow. So we stopped at one station, and then I asked this station master, can’t you make this driver go faster, time is running. “Can, easy, ( tamil station master), you buy them two bakuls of Guiness, you can see how fast the train will run. So I bought two big bottles of Guiness gave it to the driver, Thank you Sir… I’ve never seen the train run so fast after that….Very effective. Anyway, I got there, the entire kampung was there, they had these all long parangs, short parangs, parang panjang, spears, swords, you name it. And all the Chinese were shivering in their shops with the doors all closed- women and children. They were waiting for me to say where is the body. And I knew if I say Don’t kill the Chinese, they will kill me first, because they were so angry. So I started to speak to them, and then slowly talk about Hang Tuah and what not, that Malays are very brave wariors, etc. I had to make sure that I’m.. for them to think that I’m on their side. And then they slowly begin to listen to me… you can see whether they are listening or not.. see. Then finally I said, we are men – like Hang Tuah we don’t kill women and children, that’s work of stupid people, timid people… the real rascals are in the jungle- who captured our Penghulu. Let’s all go to the jungle and capture this…So they all rushed into the jungle, I took the train and went back. But why I am telling you this situation is that I saved the lives of thse chinese women and children, otherwise they would have been slaughtered. And unfortunately the Penghulu was tried by the communists and executed. They found his body. So but what I’m trying to say is that these mobs- so easy to turn them to violence. They are already feeling frustrated, they are angry…
So we are trying to educate, as SUHAKAM is concerned – alright you can have demonstrations must know how to control your demonstrators. To have a speech in the stadium is no problem- stadium ke, closed premises ke.. or even in a place like this.. that’s no problem, you see..<But they don’t allow> No, what I’m saying is in the context of security control. There should be no problem to allow people to meet in Halls, in stadiums, etc. There should be no problem. Especially if you want to meet in a stadium at bukit Jalil or something- nobody else is around there… but in front of SOGO or what not, ah itu susah sikit. But procession is another matter. So that if you want, later on ( I’m not asking you to go out and do it now) later on, we can train our own people, we can have procession to demonstrate about something, but you have a monitor system, and then they can proceed long the road without causing damage to public or private property, and then alright you have the police men because you want… the police should be there to protect the procession from attack from people from outside. Not the other way round.

So we have to train the police, we have to train our people also- how to fd o a procession. We have no problem with Thaipusam procession, no problem,.. the Budhist procession tomorrow/ tomorrow night ada procession with lantern, Wesak , no problem, and then christians on certain days of the year, they also have like candle light procession … no problem. Muslims also want to have procession, I don’t know why, but they want to have procession also.. because… this is another- can start another controversy.. nice to have controversies you know. We thought the muslims is unique in their religion not to have processions, the only religion without processions – every body has its processions- muslims are not supposed to have processions.. mana ada… no processions anywhere. This is a local invention.. because everybody having procession why don’t we have one also. Tapi strictly speaking takda.. mana ada. Takda bukan? Anyway, as far as religious processions are concerned, yes, its ok, so why not others. Now the thing is, we are also aware that if you keep on suprressing, what you are goin toget is volcanoe I’ve been in and out of Phillipines many times, I’ve been in and out of Indonesia many times – indonesia was worse during the times of suharto. I said one day this country is going to explode because they really clasp and it did explode, now who? who’s lost? They burn everything down you see. Tekan tekan, tekan, tekan lama-lama dia mesti meletup punya. So that’s why I say violence begets violence. And we must find a way how to compromise, but at the same time, but at the same time, exercise our rights of assembly of expression and what not without the ISA hanging over our heads. But at the same time, we all need, as citizens, the government must have some sort of weapon in the shape of an ISA to control unexpected situations. You never know what people will do. You see, there’s a very few words in the English language which have Malay words- there are only two words- one is amok, the other one is orang utan. And especially, our specialty to run amok. So we must prvent people from running amok. So if people run amok, then there must be some form of ISA to see that it doesn’t get worse. Thank you.