The press statement read by the IGP, Tan Seri Norian Mai, this afternoon contains the most ridiculous and irresponsible allegations against the seven keADILan leaders and reformist activists who have been detained by the police since yesterday evening under the draconian ISA. I have read the full statement. Apparently Norian Mai thinks that he can get away with murder, because he knows that under the ISA the detainees will not be brought to court to defend themselves.

Norian Mai names the seven who have been detained. In the ridiculous and iresponsible statement that he read, he clearly implied that the seven detained were involved in attempts to get explosives, including bombs and grenade launchers, planning to use molotov concktails and grenade launchers, and trying to get help and support from “silat” leaders and sections of the armed forces personnel.

Norian Mai and the police force should admit, if they are sincere and professional, that the “reformasi” gatherings have always been peaceful. The general public, especially those who have been able to witness these gatherings, know very well that they had often become out of hand when the police used physical force as well water canons on the peaceful assemblies. Without the police cruel actions, the assemblies have always ended peacefully.

At no time since the “reformasi” movement started in 1998 has the police been able to provide proof that genuine “reformists” who participated in the various peaceful assemblies resorted to using explosives and other dangerous weapons. No one has been arrested and charged for resorting to such acts. In all likelihood, agent provocateurs were used to discredit the “reformasi” movement in this way.

As for the trying to get help and support from the “silat” leaders, Norian Mai must be joking. Certainly he is fully aware that it was none other than the Prime Minister himself who, a few months back, met with leaders of different “silat” groups, some of whom were blatantly involved in the 13th May 1969 Incident. By the way, isn’t the advisor of these “silat” groups a Vice-President of UMNO, the party Prime Minister Dr Mahathir leads?

The police force must be professional in carrying out its duties. The IGP must set an honourable example. He should not allow the police force to concoct far-fetched accusations in order to justify detaining people without trial under the draconian ISA. PRM is most concerned that this time, IGP Norian Mai seems to have allowed himself and the police force to do the bidding of the Prime Minister, who is obviously very concerned and worried about his own politial survival.

Dr Syed Husin Ali PRM

11th April 2001