Malaysia

ISA the price for peace, says Ibrahim Ali

By Debra Chong
June 27, 2011

Ibrahim speaks to reporters after being questioned at the Dang Wangi police station, June 27, 2011. — Picture by Choo Choy MayIbrahim speaks to reporters after being questioned at the Dang Wangi police station, June 27, 2011. — Picture by Choo Choy MayKUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Perkasa’s Datuk Ibrahim Ali welcomed today the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) ahead of the July 9 rally for electoral reform, saying the public will understand it is the price required to maintain Malaysia’s peace.

The vocal founder and president of the right wing Malay nationalist movement was responding to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s statement yesterday that the police will not hesitate to use the ISA in dealing with the July 9 Bersih rally.

The security law allows for detention without trial and was enacted in 1960 primarily for use against communist terrorists.

Ibrahim urged Hishammuddin and the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Ismail Omar, to use the law to maintain the present peace and keep it “free from disturbance by irresponsible persons”.

“Better to act now, though unpopular, but in the long term, the people will understand this is the price we have to pay for peace,” the Independent federal lawmaker told reporters outside the Dang Wangi police station here after he was called in for questioning on alleged seditious remarks.

“Meaning, if need to arrest, then arrest... There is no two-ways about it,” Ibrahim said, adding that it was better for the police to take action sooner rather than later, to avoid the situation spiralling out of control.

Police arrested 30 people on Saturday, including Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jayakumar from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), saying they are probing an alleged attempt by several Bersih activists to revive communism and for “waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.”

PSM today called the arrests a political ploy ahead of the rally.

Earlier, Ibrahim said Perkasa was acting on behalf of the “silent majority” who were against street demonstrations, which would cause chaos and traffic jams.

He claimed that although independent polls watchdog Bersih was fronted by Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, the group was actually led by opposition Malay leaders.

“Meaning, behind Ambiga are Malay supporters from PKR and PAS. If there are any from the other races, it’s only a small number,” said the Kelantan-born who shot to prominence championing his version of Malay rights.

Counter rallies to Bersih are being planned by both Perkasa and Umno Youth, who have pledged to march despite the police insisting it will not issue any permits for gatherings in the city on July 9. Bersih has already cited the Federal Constitution as a reason for not asking for any permits to gather.

Ibrahim said the ethnic Chinese community were unlikely to join in the July 9 fray when Perkasa and Umno Youth take to the streets to counter Bersih’s rally.

“Meaning, it will be Malay against Malay,” he said, adding that the Bersih rally will fail without support from the Malays and Muslims, who form about 60 per cent of the country’s 28 million population.

The July 9 rally by Bersih 2.0 is making eight demands of the Election Commission (EC), including the call for free and fair elections, but Putrajaya insists that elections are already free and fair, pointing to the opposition’s gains in Election 2008.