Thursday, January 25, 2018

Ops Lalang - Culprits unknown?

Anwar Ibrahim has spoken in court on who was or were to be blamed for Ops Lalang.

Mind you, Mahathir had on a number of occasions pointed his finger at the then-IGP, Mohd Haniff Omar (now a Tun) as the man who initiated Ops Lalang.

But I believe we can agree on one thing, namely, that the police (or IGP) took action ONLY to prevent whatever bad was going to happen, to wit, the cause or agitators of the very acrimonious situation between UMNO Malays and Chinese supporters of vernacular education that preceded and then led to the activation of Ops Lalang.

Mohd Haniff Omar 

Anwar was recently in a court case in which Maria Chin Abdulllah is suing Jamal for allegedly slandering her and Bersih during a press conference outside the Putra World Trade Centre on Sept 28, 2016. In giving his recollection of Ops Lalang, Anwar said the real reason for police action was “The tensions caused by MCA and Umno Youth then ...".

Anwar who was then an Umno VP and Education Minister, said the current PM Najib who was then UMNO Youth Chief and Lee Kim Sai who was then Boss of MCA Youth and also Labour Minister, were the two culprits.

Anwar has been absolutely right about the racial near-conflagration that would have been ignited because of fiery speeches by both Najib and Kim Sai, though I wonder why out of the 106 people being detained under Ops Lalang (including LKS, son LGE, the late Karpal Singh, Chandra Muzaffar, etc), neither Najib nor Kim Sai were? How did they get away scot-free?

I believe strongly that the PM-then, Mahathir, should explain kaukau why some people were teflon-ised? Anwar was then the Education Minister and needn't clarify why Najib and Kim Sai were not detained.

Hang Tuah the Najib 

Bruce Lee the Kim Sai 

However, what had led to those racial fiery exchanges between Najib and Lee Kim Sai? Shouldn't this be far more important? Unless we know the cause that led to two quarrelsome duo shouting at each other, we wouldn't know how to bring about peace.

But alas, Anwar did not venture beyond what he had said in court. He missed an important part of the Ops Lalang saga in not explaining what had really led Najib and Kim Sai into a dangerous tiff.

The Straits Times of Singapore kindly obliged by recently publishing what happened, in its review of Mahathir's track record as a former PM in Ops Lalang, and his usual "it wasn't me" (that was, if he didn't first say he had forgotten).

Extracts of the Straits Times Singapore is as follows:

Many, however, believed that the mass arrests, soon followed by the closure of three newspapers, were masterminded by then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to shore up support within Malay party Umno. [...]

Ops Lalang took place after the Education Ministry appointed 100 senior assistants and supervisors at Chinese vernacular schools, prompting a 2,000-strong demonstration on Oct 11, 1987, involving political parties DAP and the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) as well as the United Chinese School Committees' Association of Malaysia.

Wonder who was then the Education Minister? Wakakaka. Memang Melayu mudah lupa.

The youth wing of Umno led by Mr Najib Razak, who is now Prime Minister, held a counter-protest, calling for the resignation of MCA deputy president Lee Kim Sai.

It is alleged Dr Mahathir approved Ops Lalang after narrowly defending his presidency in Umno.

A day after the arrests, the Home Ministry withdrew the printing licences of four newspapers - The Star and Sunday Star, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Watan. The newspapers regained their licences in 1988.

Lim Kit Siang blogged/recorded in his website his Speech at the public forum “Operation Lalang — 20 Years Today” held in Pay Fong Chinese Independent Secondary School Hall, Malacca on Saturday, 27th October 2007 at 8 pm, extracts as follows:

The 1987 Ops Lalang mass ISA detentions was not only a black day for human rights in Malaysia, it also marked the most relentless assault on democracy in Malaysia and we are still paying the consequences of that assault — which stemmed from the fight for political survival of the then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad who was faced with the greatest challenge to his power position from within Umno.

One upshot of Mahathir’s battle for his political life 20 years ago was the Operation Lalang and 106 ISA detainees and another was the subversion of the doctrine of the separation of powers, with Parliament and the judiciary subordinated as subservient organs of the Prime Minister.

The seeds for the 1988 judiciary crisis over the arbitrary and unconstitutional sacking of Tun Saleh Abas as Lord President and Datuk George Seah and the late Tan Sri Wan Suleman Pawanteh as Supreme Court judges were sown at this period.

Even before the Operation Lalang, there were moves by Mahathir to subjugate the judiciary and I had publicly spoken up against a proposal to move a substantive motion in Parliament to censure the then High Court judge, the late Justice Harun Hashim, as a lesson to all judges to toe the Executive line.

Today, Malaysia is still paying a heavy price for the fateful decisions taken 20 years ago to undermine the democratic fundamentals in the country as represented by the doctrine of the separation of powers.

I have already blogged on Finally the TRUTH that lies behind Ops Lalang in which the following are ONLY extracts of what Dr Kua Kia Soong had written (you can read it in full by going to the provided link):

Dr Mahathir has tried in vain to wriggle out of the responsibility for Operation Lalang. Now he is attempting to put the blame for the sacking of Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and three other Supreme Court judges on the Agung.

As I have pointed out often enough, these two outrages against Malaysian democracy in 1987 and 1988 respectively are inextricably linked.

I am surprised that the opportunist politicians and crypto-Mahathiristas in Pakatan Harapan and the lawyers who were outraged in 1988 have so quickly forgotten recent Malaysian history or have lost their tongues. Let me remind them of Lord Denning’s words:

“Silence is not an option when things are ill done.”

We know that 1987 was a time during Dr Mahathir’s term when he was faced with the biggest threat to his rule, with Team B under Tengku Razaleigh challenging the results of the Umno elections. A Supreme Court decision in Team B’s favour would have meant the end of Mahathir’s grasp on power ......... 
etc etc etc.

And Dr Kua Kia Soong, as a detained victim of Ops Lalang who suffered kaukau, can have the final word:

Dr Kua, Tun Saleh Abas, Mahathir 

Operation Lalang in October 1987 was the worst assault on Malaysian civil society in recent Malaysian history.

As in the pattern of Internal Security Act (ISA) detentions many times previously by the Alliance and then the BN government, the mass arrests and detentions without trial of innocent Malaysian dissidents in 1987 was an attempt to create a climate of terror as a backdrop for then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s other agenda.

It was the prelude to the sacking of the Lord President and the suspension of five Supreme Court judges who were about to judge the case brought up by Team B of Umno, challenging the party election results.

Geoffrey Robertson QC, a leading British barrister said, “…the Tribunal Report recommending the sacking of Tun Salleh Abas is among the most despicable documents in modern legal history”.

The reality was that if the highest court in the land had judged in favour of Team B in 1988, it would have been the end of Mahathir’s prime ministership.

Thus, survival was Mahathir’s main agenda and we, the victims of Ops Lalang, were just the pawns in his game.

Did the human rights of innocent Malaysians matter to him? Does he need to apologise and show remorse now that he claims to have seen the light and become a born-again democrat?

Thus, the story of Ops Lalang was alleged to have been an UMNO internal party problem, foisted on the Malaysian public as a necessary police dragnet operations to prevent racial riots, ...

... which was caused by an issue of a Malay Education Minister perceived (rightly or wrongly) as trying to debilitate the standards and existence of Chinese vernacular education by appointing 100 senior assistants and supervisors who were not trained in Chinese (not Chinese educated) to Chinese vernacular schools.

106 innocent people were detained and incarcerated by police, some for several years.

Not one of those responsible (Najib, Lee Kim Sai) or alleged to be responsible (Mahathir, Anwar Ibrahim) for the cause of near-conflagrative racial acrimony was detained - it's was another mysterious happening in Malaysia since 1981.


  1. “Silence is not an option when things are ill done.” -Lord Deming.

    Yes, there is also a conspiracy of silence in Malaysia over what the US Attorney General has called the Most Serious Case of Kleptocracy it has ever investigated.
    Mysteriously, not one person has been detained in Malaysia. The events were only 4 years ago, but Malaysians Mudah Lupah. Either that or Kuat Makan Dedak.

    1. as always, the most pro Mahathir acolyte Monsterball would be quick to distract from the post discussion by bringing in a non Thread issue. Monsterball must have makan lots of dedak to always defend his idol or paymaster.

    2. Ops Lallang was 31 years ago.
      I long ago already hold Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim responsible for their part in it... but I have moved on.
      I don't live in the past. In fact, nobody and no country can live in the past.
      It is the current and future evils which must be stopped.

      Silence is not an option when things are ill done

    3. Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it - George Santayana

      And those who now will vote for Mahathir obviously are those who haven't learn from the past, and worse like you, trying to hide it

    4. Priority lah... Betul ke?

      Monsterball's quick is timely when he've also zoomed in into the real catch.

      The larger key issue of yr point SHOULD be;

      “Silence is not an option when things are ill done.” -Lord Deming.

      The search of who's the real culprit of operation lalang, a 30 yrs old debacle, is just a cover!

      In this regard, u r using the same old trick of dog-vs-dog-collar argument of mom!

      Cukup pandai for a second!

      Siapa tu, 'have makan lots of dedak to always defend his idol or paymaster.' is clear as a summer sky lah.

    5. are you the one using tricks to cover mahathir's follies?

      yes, cukup pandai for a second and stop eating dedak

    6. Show me my tricks that u have uncovered le!

      Bolih tak?

  2. Forget abt history tho important, concentrate on geography la.

  3. Only a bigot doesn't change even after being given new evidence. Wakakakakaka...