From: Zaid Ibrahim
To: Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Tunku stated clearly that the Act was passed to deal with the communist threat.
“My cabinet colleagues and I gave a solemn promise to Parliament and the nation that the immense powers given to the government under the ISA would never be used to stifle legitimate opposition and silent lawful dissent”, was what the Tunku said.
Our third prime minister, Tun Hussein Onn, reinforced this position by saying that the ISA was not intended to repress lawful political opposition and democratic activity on the part of the citizenry.
The events of the last three weeks have compelled me to review the way in which the ISA has been used. This exercise has sadly led me to the conclusion that the government has time and time again failed the people of this country in repeatedly reneging on that solemn promise made by Tunku Abdul Rahman.
This has been made possible because the government and the law have mistakenly allowed the minister of home affairs to detain anyone for whatever reason he thinks fit. This subjective discretion has been abused to further certain political interests.
History is the great teacher and speaks volumes in this regard. Even a cursory examination of the manner in which the ISA has been used almost from its inception would reveal the extent to which its intended purpose has been subjugated to the politics of the day.
Mr Prime Minister, the results of the last general election are clear indication that the people of Malaysia are demanding a reinstatement of the rule of law. I was appointed as your, albeit short-lived, minister in charge of legal affairs and judicial reform.
With your blessing, I attempted to push for reform. High on my list of priorities was a reinstatement of the inherent right of judicial review that could be enabled through a reversion of the key constitutional provision to its form prior to the controversial amendment in 1988.
Let us attempt to fulfil that solemn promise made by our beloved first prime minister to the people of this country.
Please read his full article which is lengthy.