Is the ISA a necessary evil? It is not evil by itself but made evil if leaders abused it to silent their critics and political opponents.
The oppositions wanted the ISA removed for different reason, not so much to protect our civil liberty, but more to serve its own political agenda. Using the ISA to go to the streets was only an excuse. The real reason behind it is to paint a picture of solidarity of the group and to constantly remind the people that Pakatan is united when it is not.If you are so popular why the need to go to the streets every now and then.
So, don't be fooled that they actually wanted the ISA repelled to protect you and I. They wanted it because they want to turn this nation to be in a state of upheaval and topple a duly elected government.
Interesting article from the Nutgraph below.
Why Malaysia needs the ISA
By Wong Chin Huat
NO, your eyes do not fool you. Nor have I been visited by Special Branch officers and “turned over”.
I was at the Petaling Jaya Civic Centre car park Sunday night, 7 Dec 2008, attending the weekly anti-Internal Security Act (ISA) gathering. A passionate speaker lamented that there were so few Malaysians there because they were afraid of the ISA. He was also disappointed that corrupt governments can be overthrown once and again by demonstrating crowds in Bangkok, but not in Kuala Lumpur.
The gentleman could not be more wrong if he thought the causality works only in one direction — that the ISA causes people to shun demonstrations. It actually works both ways — the ISA also exists because of some people's fear of demonstrations and all other forms of political expression.
Also, one could not be more wrong to think that the ISA is merely an evil tool of the Barisan Nasional (BN) to control citizens. It is not a complete falsehood when BN politicians claim that the people want the ISA since they support a ruling coalition that desires the ISA.
The ISA is here because it has served a purpose to a sizeable segment, probably the majority, of Malaysians. What purpose is that? Having a strong government.
(Corrected) Without the ISA and all other draconian laws, a government cannot be strong in an autonomous sense — it can only persuade and not coerce people to support it.
But why would people want a strong government? Because we are fundamentally a Hobbesian nation.
Thomas Hobbes (source: wikipedia.org)
Thomas Hobbes, the 17th century conservative British philosopher, believed that human beings living in the state of nature were living in a state of war, their lives short and brutish. Incidentally, it was Hobbes who invented the concept of the social contract.
Driven by our selfish desire to compete for resources, we would pose threats to each other in the absence of government. Therefore, it is justifiable for a government to be absolute and disregard consent because the people cannot be trusted.
Push the Hobbesian logic to the extreme, and you will believe that even a bad government is better than no government. If only Hobbes was Asian, he would assure us that the government is always benevolent.
Most of us are Hobbesian because we do not believe that a multi-ethnic society can remain peaceful if the citizens are free. We are insecure with our differences.
Some of us wish for the differences to be eliminated through assimilation, with everyone professing one faith, speaking one language, observing one custom, or inter-marrying for common posterity.
And there are bound to be some among us who feel hurt when a “sensitive issue” is raised. The issue could be the constitutional “special position of Malays and natives of any of the states of Sabah and Sarawak”. Or it could be the extra-constitutional issues of bumiputeraism, Islam, the Malay language, the Malay rulers, or Chinese and Tamil schools.
And feeling hurt gives us a strong reason to ask others to shut up. So, we wave the keris, stage demonstrations, point fingers at other's noses, tear people's pictures up or even threaten to burn down buildings. The message is simple — stop this or you will incite ethnic riots.
Preventing ethnic riots 101
How do you prevent an ethnic riot? The government's answer is simple — crack down with the ISA.
In other words, the ISA and the authoritarian state that it protects is the lesser evil compared to looting and irrational mass killings. And since the ISA is here, everyone expects the state to use it against others who hurt their feelings. For many, the ISA is actually legitimate insofar as it is impartially used.
That is the reason why a government defending the ISA has been supported by more than half of the Malaysian electorate. It's like an insurance premium paid to hedge the risk of a disaster.Read more..