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Civil society coalition to hold forum on 30th anniversary of Ops Lalang

  • Nation
  • Friday, 13 Oct 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: A coalition of civil society organisations including Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) will be organising a programme in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of Ops Lalang.

The programme aims to raise awareness among the public, especially youth, about the operation which saw the arrest of 106 Opposition and Barisan Nasional politicians, academics and leaders of NGOs under the Internal Security Act (ISA) on Oct 27, 1987.

The programme is scheduled to be held on Oct 28 and 29 at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) here.

Its itinerary includes a sharing session by Ops Lalang victims and family members, and a public forum entitled "Operasi Lalang 1987: My Side of History".

Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy (pic) said other than detainees, the organising committee also sent an official invitation to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to become a panel speaker at the forum slated for Oct 29.

Dr Mahathir, who was the Home Minister from 1986 to 1999, had penned the detention orders.

“We are trying to get Dr Mahathir and the senior officials who were active during Ops Lalang.

“We hope they will say ‘yes’ and turn up so they can tell their side of the story,” he told reporters at the KLSCAH here Friday.

Suaram coordinator Amir Abd Hadi said the committee is also planning to invite former Inspector-General of Police Tun Hanif Omar to join the panel.

“Our intention is not to attack them, but we want to know their side of the story as to why they decided to detain 106 people without trial at that time,” he added.

National laureate A. Samad Said said the programme also serves as a reminder that society does not want a repeat of Ops Lalang, or other similar operations under different codenames.

“We will not forget. We do not want such a torturous incident to happen again,” he said.

Most of those detained during Ops Lalang in 1987 were released within 60 days, but 40, including veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang and his son Lim Guan Eng (now the Penang Chief Minister), several PAS leaders and activists were held for two years.

Three newspapers – The Star, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Watan (which has ceased publication) – also saw their publishing licence being revoked.

The Star only resumed publication in March the following year.

The 30th anniversary programme is co-organised by Suaram, the Civil Rights Committee of KLSCAH, the Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy, and KLSCAH Youth.