PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) has stuck by his previous assertion that he wanted to abolish the Internal Security Act (ISA) during the time of Operasi Lalang.
The former prime minister, in an interview with an online news portal recently, said that it was the police who insisted on retaining the ISA, and proceeded to arrest 106 people under the law in 1987.
"I didn't agree with it. I asked the police to accept that we must abolish the ISA (Internal Security Act).
"The police didn't agree. I, bound by the security advice from the police, could not go against them," Dr Mahathir said.
He added that the then Inspector-General of Police, Tun Hanif Omar, told him that a prime minister should listen to the IGP's advice on national security issues.
"He said that. And in truth, I did not fight against the police because I depend on them. Security is the work of the police.
"So if he says we need to catch this person, then go ahead. But as long as I can release them as soon as possible," Dr Mahathir said.
Nevertheless, the former premier stood by the police action against Opposition and Barisan Nasional politicians, academics and leaders of NGOs as well as shutting down three newspapers.
He said these actions were done to stem rising tensions in the country.
Dr Mahathir did not manage to abolish the ISA act by the time he retired as the prime minister at the end of 2003.
The act was finally abolished by current Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in 2012.
However, Dr Mahathir listed the repeal of ISA as one of the main reasons why he had withdrawn his support for Najib's government in August 2014.