There have been a lot of discussions on the relevance of ISA to our country's well being. Of course, a lot of the so-called concerned citizens have been vehemently against the ISA and they have articulated their views vociferously. There have also been justifications from those in power about the need to retain the Act. In this instance I'm not trying to support one view or the other but I'm trying to understand how the Act in its current form is being applied.
From my limited understanding, the Act was enacted by the British to counter the threat of the communists and terrorists. Given the real problems faced at that point in time, my feeling was that even the so-called concerned citizens of the day grudgingly concur with the decision then. I think, initially, that was how the Act was used. As time goes by, the government of the day find the Act a convenient tool to silence its critics. However, they still have the "decency" of adhering to the spirit of the Act. That is why when they decided to detain the two Dollahs and Pak Samad in the 70's they made sure these people are first labeled communists or their sympathizers.
Later on, such as in the Ops Lallang, the need to restrict the use of the Act on communists seemed to have been done away with. Now, any "threat to the country's well being" can justify one to be detained under the Act. That is why, now, we have document forgers and believers of deviant sects of Islam under ISA detention. With RPK in, we now have another ISAble offence i.e. ridiculing Islam.
I'm no lawyer. Neither am I an expert in Islam. I'm just a Muslim trying to practice the religion to the best of my ability but I have many unanswered questions.
- Who gives this Minister the authority to decide that someone or something ridicules Islam?
- What are the standards being used to say that a statement or an act ridicules Islam?
- Has he got a religious qualification? Has he gone to study Islam in Al-Azhar or Medinah or even Malaya university? Has he even gone to a pondok?
- I thought all religious matters should be referred to the proper religious authorities who are answerable to the Kings and Agong. How come in this case, somebody without religious authority is taking decisions to protect Islam?
It is my opinion that the act of using ISA on RPK is in itself ridiculing Islam. We are giving a message that Islam is so shallow that we have to resort to detaining people who ridicule it without trial. To make it worse, Islam itself requires that those who are deemed to have commit a crime must be charge in an open court.
Before I end, I must state in no uncertain terms this writing in no way proves that I am in total agreement with what has been written by RPK. In many instances I feel that RPK purposely put himself in grey areas of the law. I would not like to speculate on his motives for taking such a stand but that should not preclude him from being accorded the right of defense.
I would also like to point out that all these are happening in the Blessed month of Ramadhan. So to those who are hiding behind the veil of religion, I hope you take this into consideration and seek God's guidance in your actions.