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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Anti-Saturday, Pro-Saturday

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Today, Saturday August 1st 2009 will be an interesting day, Walski thinks.

For starters, it’s his wedding anniversary. Which also happens to be Alliedmartster’s anniversary. So, to Tony and Audra, happy 11th!

More interesting, however, will be 2 polar opposite rallies: one by the Abolish ISA Movement (or better known as GMI – Gerakan Mansuh ISA), and a Pro-ISA rally by Pewaris. On the same day.

Image taken from The Star, hosting by Photobucket The police made it even more interesting by jamming up traffic in KL yesterday, setting up roadblocks at strategic (read: causes most traffic jam pain) entry points to the city. More likely than not, KL traffic will be a total bitch later today. Walski didn’t experience the Friday madness (fortunately) as he was out of town and only returned in the afternoon, straight from the airport.

Walski really wonders what the point is in setting up these roadblocks – what, is there a particular “look” that they look out for? Does someone who’s anti-ISA fit a particular profile?

Like God, the Malaysian police sometimes work in mysterious ways…

But having both the GMI and the Pewaris-sponsored rallies on the same day conjures some interesting questions in Walski’s mind.

For example: Which group would be bigger? 
(the pro & anti all out on the same day, in the full post)

Now personally, Walski is against the Malaysian Internal Security Act, which allows for indefinite detention without trial. And most people he knows are against it, or at the very least, think that the ISA should undergo a serious overhaul.

What will be interesting to see is just how many people the Pewaris folks can conjure. It will also be interesting to see what demographics of folks are conjured. However, from what has been written and reported, Walski thinks he can guess.

On the other hand, GMI has its support from across all cultural demographics.

So, between the two: Pro, or Anti?

Incidentally, apart from the ISA, there is another law that should be repealed as well, and has been highlighted recently by Writestreet (Walski’s new fave investigative reporting blog) – and that piece of legislature is the Emergency Ordinance, otherwise known as the EO.

While equally heinous (if not more), the EO is also “preventive” in nature, and allows for detention without trial, indefinitely, and denies the accused access to legal counsel. It’s used in cases where there is suspicion, but not enough evidence.

ISA has gotten more airtime, but the EO is also another piece of legislature that no longer has a place in this day and age – if you’re gonna accuse someone of something, there better be evidence. Incarcerating someone purely on the grounds of “suspicion”… well, that’s what all the best Banana Republics do. In our case, Banana Constitutional Monarchy.

In either case, Walski’s stand is the same – they both gotta go.

But for today, the focus will be upon the ISA. Both the Pro, and the Anti folks will be out on the streets of KL. And “stern action” has been promised by the government against either side.

Walski sincerely hopes no untoward incidents will happen – except for the tear gas and water cannons, which no “peaceful” demonstration is complete without in Malaysia. The police, and the Ministry of Insecure Internals, have repeatedly issued warned against both sides - “demonstrations” have no place in Malaysia. Walski dreads the day when we may even need a police permit to gather at the malls…

But dear IGP and Minister – if peaceful demonstrations have no place in Malaysia (because you’ll ensure that they won’t be peaceful), neither do the ISA or the EO.

Quid pro quo?

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