PM Najib’s announcement to repeal ISA and 3 emergency declarations can be a genuine democratisation effort-which is what he want us to believe, and also a politicking ploy, as most people familiar with the BN’s politicking would rather be cautious about. Before this `reform’ the same PM had announced the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms-only to wipe off much of the shine by refusing to allow the reforms to come before the 13th General Elections! So: if the ISA repeal were to come after 13th GE then all the people would still be holding their breath if they were to be the `lucky’ ones to feel the effect of ISA as the last batch? Also the timing of the repeals may leave the BN to hold detention without trial power all the time seamlessly! What they will do is to repeal ISA after the succession laws are introduced. Another way is to repeal ISA but keep Emergency Ordinance till the new laws are gazetted. In any case Malaysia will still not see a day where detention without trial can be away!
The new laws are expected to retain the detention without trial power-only some amendment to its most abusive features eg the initial detention period. The provision that only violent persons will be targetted is no different from previous pretension by BN that there were never political detainees in Malaysia-only violent ones. So Bersih was and still considered prone to violence. So if the `violent’ ones as defined by the BN is still the standard then we may still be not improving one bit despite the change of name of the law!
Now this can be the politicking bit which many are worrying about. It could be another PSC type publicity stunt.
What should Najib do if he want to show his sincerity? Simple: promise to hold 13th GE after PSC recommendations are adopted to benefit the elections.
And there are a load of repressive laws that need to be repealed-not just ISA. If he has the will like Gorbachev he will see through the Malaysian version of Glasknost and Perestroika (transparency and restruturing) -and not allowed the party’s hindrance to stop his mission and vision. But Najib is not Gorby, as he is so popularly known throughout the world.