DAP support and solidarity with the six reformasi ISA detainees in their anniversary hunger strike to demand open trial or release

Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Tuesday): The hunger strike planned by the  six reformasi ISA detainees beginning tomorrow at the Kamunting detention centre  on the anniversary of their detention without trial  to demand open trial or release deserves the support and solidarity of all right-thinking and justice-loving Malaysians.  

The September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States and national abhorrence of terrorism can be no excuse for the use of detention-without-trial laws like the Internal Security Act to suppress legitimate political dissent.

A year after the ISA arrests, the government had failed to produce one iota of evidence to substantiate its allegations that the “reformasi six” had planned to use explosives and weapons including bombs, grenade launchers, molotov cocktails and ball bearings in violent street demonstrations to topple the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr.  Mahathir Mohamad. 

In fact, the flimsiness of the government allegations against the reformasi six is borne out by the fact that a year after the detention,  the government could not even issue a White Paper to justify the ISA arrests - unlike Operation Lalang when a White Paper was issued within five months although such White Papers were invariably “White-Wash Papers”.  In the case of the ISA detention of the reformasi six, the goverrnment could not even produce a “White-Wash Paper”!  

As the DAP had declared from April 10 last year, when the first ISA arrests were made, the reformasi six -  Mohamad Ezam Mohamad Nor, Hishamuddin Rais, Chua Tian Chang, Saari Sungib, Badrulamin Bahron and Lokman Noor Adam - should be charged in open court and given a public trial or they should be released immediately unconditionally. 

The launching of the hunger strike by the reformasi six tomorrow on the anniversary of the ISA detention reminds me of a similar anniversary hunger strike by Operation Lalang detainees on October 27, 1988 where I was one of the 17 ISA detainees in Kamunting detention centre who took part in a  week-long hunger strike or puasa sunat (for Muslims)  to protest against our  continued detention,  hightlight the  rejection of the government distortions and fabrications in the White Paper on Operation Lalang and to reaffirm  our commitment to the cause of freedom, justice and democracy.  

The other 16 Operation Lalang detainees who took part in the week-long hunger strike/puasa sunat from October 27 to November 3, 1988 were Karpal Singh, P. Patto, Lim Guan Eng, Lau Dak Kee, Mohd Sabu, Mohd Nasir Hashim, Ariokia Das, Kua Kia Soong, Kamaruzaman Ismail, Sebil John Joseet, Tuang Pik King, Yusuf Hussein, Tengku Shukri Zainal, Zainuddin Abdullah, Philip Cheong and Mohd Yunus Lebai Ali.  


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman