I hate to have to depend entirely on Malaysiakini.com to read news on Malaysia when I am overseas. But really, one has no choice.Today when I clicked on the website, who was my former employer, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that ex-ISA detainee Abdul Malek Hussein is richer (in words only, for now) by RM2.5 million.
What a boon! What great news also for all the human rights activists and the anti-ISA movement (gerakan mansuh ISA) for continuously championing this cause!
I am reminded again how cruel the ISA Act can be. Malek was “stripped naked in an air-conditioned room, blindfolded during interrogation, physically assaulted up to 60 times, beaten until he was unconscious, forced to drink urine and subjected to sexual abuse. He saw Rahim punching him at his chin in the interrogation room when his blindfold accidentally dropped”.
Those days when I sit with him in the coffee shops having “teh tarik”, he was still cautious about who could be watching him. The ISA follows you like a ghost or a curse even, especially the things that happen to Malek.
Which was why…I often referred to it as a “draconian”Act, especially in my reports. But during my time, the word “draconian” was not allowed in a story. I can’t remember exactly what the reason was, but it generally has to do with being “objective”.
Anyway, I am glad to see the word “draconian” describing the ISA Act now being used in Malaysiakini news stories. Times do change for the better!
Not everyone believes that Malek will get his money, especially Ronnie Liu who says he hasn’t been compensated yet for winning RM21,220 on July 11 last year for injuries suffered at the hands of riot police in 1995 during a squatter demolition exercise in Kampung Taman Aman, Petaling Jaya.
Well, if the government can’t pay RM21,220…it would be a miracle if they can make good that RM2.5 million now promised to Malek.
Anyway, all I am interested is: if Malek and Ronnie get their “durian runtuh” (windfall), will they part some of their money to the ISA cause – the are many, many more in there, and who knows what kind of abuses they had been through – emotional and mental torture being the worst kind?
You see, ISA is not just a law. It is a state of mind.