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History made by repealing ISA (detention without trial) and lifting of media controls

In History, Malaysia on September 16, 2011 at 3:06 am

Came home last night / this morning (it’s nearly 2.30am now), to discover via Google News that history is being made.

Malaysia can finally stand up and be counted as a progressive country. Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak, announced last night the decision to abolish decades-old British laws that allows citizens to be detained without trial. In addition, he also promised to repeal media control laws whereby licenses of mainstream publications had to be renewed yearly. Don’t know the details of his speech. But it finally feels good to be Malaysian. And I had to write something!

To put this in context, do not forget the Arab Spring where citizens in nearly 10 Middle East countries had to go through countless beatings and tortures by illegitimate regimes. With the exception of Egypt, the rest required civil wars before anything substantial was achieved.

Yet Malaysia did not have to suffer as others did. And we achieved something last night because one man was willing to stand on principle.

As we prepare for our 48th Malaysia Day, we may have just found a real leader who is able to bring real change, and not just act on self-interest like the others. All these years, our politicians (those in power anyway) ignored the simple principle that everyone is entitled to a fair trial. Yet, they kept getting re-elected.

Najib, however, was not elected as Prime Minister. He was the Deputy who took over mid-stream in 2009. And now he has made history, only after 2 years in office. If he keeps this up, I might just enjoy blogging again. And, hopefully document our progress.

One more thing, the gossiping class says that all this is posturing, especially since we are entering the final year before the next general election. Well, of course they could be right. Much depends on when these Colonial-era suppression laws are abolished. If it is before the next General Election, then it is pretty obvious cynicism has had it’s day and it’s time we look forward to a better Malaysia.

So, Happy Malaysia Day to all and let’s have more of these. Proud to be Malaysian.

More details at Bloomberg, Aljazeera and Bernama.