The latest round of detention of reformasi leaders under the notorious Internal Security Act (ISA) confirms that Malaysian prime minister is suffering from desparatus tyrannus, an ailment common among distressed and nervous dictators.

The International Free Anwar Campaign deplores and condemns the use of ISA to detain Raja Petra Raja Kamaruddin the Director of FAC and other opposition leaders including Tian Chua, Ezam Mohd Noor, Saari Sungib, Hishamuddin Rais, Gobalakrishnan and Ghani Harun .

FAC also demands immediate release of those detained under the ISA, which allows the police to detain people without trial and for an indefinite period. Once arrested under this act a detainee has no way of defending himself. And as in the past, the government will throw all kinds of allegations at the detainee without having to prove it in a court of law.

The police claimed that these opposition leaders were arrested for being involved in an attempt to "topple the government." They also alleged that these leaders were planning to use bombs and Molotov cocktails. In spite of these serious allegations, those arrested will not have the chance to defend themselves.

That the Internal Security Act was used was indeed interesting. It illustrates how nervous and unsure of itself the Mahathir regime is today. Even with its control of mainstream media and servitude of the court, it dared not charge these opposition leaders in court.

A trial will only make the government looks like a fool, not unlike what happened during the sham trial of Anwar Ibrahim. The Mahathir regime is boxed into a corner by its own actions. The expulsion of Anwar Ibrahim lead to a political crisis which continues unabated till today.

The credibility of the government is so low that its leaders are complaining publicly about its lost of support among students, civil servants and military personnel. Compounding this situation is the expected economic slowdown, which is due partly to the slowdown in the US and partly to Mahathir's own erratic, cronyistic and xenophobic policies.

To aggravate the situation, Mahathir continues to antagonize and alienate more Malaysians. Besides the deteriorating condition of the Malaysian economy, he is finding himself challenged even from within his own party.

Even the editors of the docile mainstream media have been grumbling about their loss of credibility and the curbs put on them. On all fronts he finds himself on shaky ground. The consensus among Malaysians is that Mahathir must go. The longer he remains the more the wrath of the people will swell. Mahathir thinks that he can thwart the opposition by making these arrests.

He seems to have forgotten that the street protest that took place after Anwar was arrested in 1998 happened at a time when many of these same leaders were either in detention or were in exile overseas.

The protest started from the people. By clamping down on the reformasi leaders today, he is risking another repeat of such a protest. Besieged from all corners, Mahathir finds himself in a totally unprecedented situation. This is something he had not anticipated.

As such, he is having a great deal of difficulty figuring out how to handle the situation. It is believed that the latest round of arrrests was done to prevent the gathering planned for this Saturday to mark the anniversary of Anwar's conviction by Mahathir's kangaroo court.

The reformasi supporters had planned a peaceful gathering to accompany a delegation to present a memorandum to the Human Rights Commission. This seemingly harmless event would be ignored by Malaysia's mainstream media.

Yet Mahathir finds such an event totally unnerving.

That's right, it confirms that he is suffering from desparatus tyrannus!