I am quite surprised to find out today that my letter to the Editor of the News Straits Times on the abolition of Internal Security Act (ISA) has been published on Tuesday 20 September 2011. I missed the daily on the day of the publication for two reasons. Firstly, I was quite busy with my routine teaching and administrative commitment; and secondly, I did not have a high hope to see it published, thus did not really put an effort in checking it.
I feel surprised also for two reasons. Firstly, this is my first try writing to the daily; and secondly, it took just a few days for the Editor to publish it. Although the writing has been shortened and edited by the Editor, the gist of my writing is still there. It clearly indicates an availability of another channel to express my idea, now in English, apart from the other Malay dailies in Malaysia and Indonesia that used to publish my writings prior to this.
Below is the shortened and edited version of the said writing that appeared in the New Straits Times on Tuesday 20 September 2011.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 02.37 PM
Repeal of ISA: Focus on replacement laws
MUHAMMAD SYUKRI SALLEH, Penang
THE repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the eve of Malaysia Day was welcomed by many.
It was especially welcomed by those who suffered under the law; people who were either arrested and jailed, as many of my friends in the mid-1990s were, or those like me, who had been warned and threatened with arrest and detention under the act.
One interesting thing was the response of pro-government supporters and backers of the opposition. The statements and attitudes of some of them were naive.
Not many of those in the pro-government and opposition camps showed curiosity about the laws that are going to replace the ISA, although they are more pertinent to our future.
We should be anxious about how the new laws will ensure a balance between avoiding oppression and safeguarding the security of Malaysia and Malaysians.
Everyone should focus on this and contribute to this now.