Monday, August 3, 2009

malaysiakini and How Do WE Discuss the ISA?

malaysiakini has the responses of some readers on the ISA with the free article Don't expect Umno to abolish ISA and in the sorry aftermath of the Saturday demo in KL, I think all caring Malaysians should consider how we can discuss the ISA without street confrontations.

First of all, the police officers were doing their duty and following orders and apart from a few officers who used excessive force on those they arrested, most of them did a reasonably professional amd thankless task; that is from the public's perspective.
Of course without the IPCMC, the public has little recourse for complaints to the government which adamantly clings to the "they broke the law, and therefore have to face the music" manuscript. If you watch the Home Minister on TV, it shows bitter frustration and that "don't know how to lead" look except the same old mantra "You must apply for the police permit."
That legal requirement is justified even though the ISA is an unjust law and even the government has promised(?) to review the draconian provisions that have enabled abuses of the law to go unpunished.
Perhaps if they want lawmakers to help review the law, they should release R Sivarasa, the eminent human rights lawyer to offer suggestions instead of detaining him without charge. Given that he is also a lead counsel for Anwar's sodomy case, some conspiracy theorists may conclude there may be a darker objective than just a street protest.
In an apparent move to divert public anger, the government now says it is willing to offer public stadiums for such gatherings.
Now why didn't they think of that long ago? I hope both sides realise that street protests harm both sides' credibility and also the lives of innocent people like the folks in KL who were subjected to huge traffic jams as if KL traffic is not bad enough.
I have a suggestion for both sides to consider:
Let's have a public debate on the ISA with the following format:

1.5 Speakers on each side to debate the motion "Should the ISA Be Reviewed or Abolished? How and Why?"
2.There will be a panel of perhaps 5 eminent judges who will discuss the merits/demerits of each speaker's arguments.
3.An online poll will allow viewers to cast their votes.
4.Debate will be broadcast on Bernama news and RTM1, RTM2 and TV3.

The online poll will allow viewers to select the best speaker and also the speaker who presented the best arguments to abolish or review the ISA.
Let's move towards a more intelligent method to gauge public support/disgust of the ISA and let more Malaysians express their views.

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