PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad must make a full public apology to all those detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) during Ops Lalang, said activist Kua Kia Soong (pic).
Kua, who was one of the people detained in the 1987 operation, hit out at the former Prime Minister’s claim that Ops Lalang was not his doing but that of the police.
“Mahathir has overlooked something that is so elementary to the ISA, namely, that it is the Home Minister (ie. Mahathir at the time) who signed the two-year detention order after the first 60 days of solitary confinement,” Kua, who is the adviser of human rights group Suaram, said in a statement.
Kua’s statement comes as a coalition of civil society organisations including Suaram plans to commemorate the upcoming 30th anniversary of Ops Lalang.
On Oct 27, 1987, 106 people, including Opposition and Barisan Nasional politicians, academics and leaders of non-government organisations, were nabbed under the ISA.
The licences of three newspapers – The Star, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Watan (which has ceased publication) – were also withdrawn during Ops Lalang.
The Star only resumed publication in March the following year.
“Ever since his forced retirement as Prime Minister, Mahathir has been trying in vain to claim that Ops Lalang was not his doing but that of the police.
“This attempt at whitewashing his record seems all the more urgent since he has joined the Opposition,” said Kua, referring to Dr Mahathir’s current position as Pakatan Harapan chairman.
Most of those detained during Ops Lalang were released within 60 days, but 40, including the DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng, were held for two years.
Kua noted that ISA detainees including himself, Kit Siang and Guan Eng, had issued a statement on the first anniversary of their detention condemning Ops Lalang as an outrage for all freedom-loving and democratic minded Malaysians.
In a separate posting on his Facebook page yesterday, Kua challenged Pakatan Harapan leaders to come forward in defence of Dr Mahathir on the matter.
“If there are any Pakatan Harapan leaders who say Dr Mahathir was not responsible for Ops Lalang, please step forward,” Kua wrote.