Saturday, June 7, 2008

Motion to free YB Kota Alam Shah

On the last day of the Selangor Legislative Assembly sitting, I was appointed to sit in the Committee of Privileges based on Standing Order 70. I also had the privilege of supporting the motion brought by YB Lau Weng San of Kampung Tunku that is a motion to free the ISA detainees including YB Kota Alam Shah immediately.

I was close to tears when I heard the accounts of YB Kota Damansara and YB Hulu Klang. They were previously detained under ISA too. The torture they had to endure while being arrested, the shame they went through and we were also told that some detainees were sodomised with wood.

When I had my chance to speak, I could not go on speaking without first apologising publicly to YB Kota Damansara and YB Hulu Klang. I had to apologise for believing and trusting the leadership of BN for many years and I seriously believed THEN that ISA was good and it was for the safety of our country. I was so blinded.

I spoke of the negative effects of ISA on the families of the detainees. I am in close contact with the wife of YB Kota Alam Shah and I was told that the school grades of the children have dropped significantly ever since their father was arrested. They used to obtain 80% and above in their exams but now they could only obtain 70% and below.

One of his kids celebrated his 9th birthday at an orphanage. Their father could not be there. The kids were suddenly made 'orphans'. I was also told that the children have become very aggressive and violent ever since their father's arrest. One wrong word uttered between them while playing, one would rise in anger and according to their mother, she has never seen this anger in her children before. This is how deep the hurt, anger and frustration penned up within their children. Sometimes they would ask their mom, "When is papa coming home?".

No one can underestimate the role of a father in a family. Now his wife has to raise the kids on her own, manage his law firm and the new service centre on her own. This is no easy task to be put on the shoulders of one woman. They have not received any new case in his law firm for 5 months now and their finances have been severely affected. At night, she could not sleep and would struggle to find strength to face the next day.

In my opinion, our nation's biggest threat is corruption and not people who would speak up for their rights. In my speech, I urged the federal government to address corruption if they were really serious about protecting this nation. What purpose is there in having the Twin Towers, a man in space, this corridor and that corridor if the basic rights of the people are not given priority? I stood to condemn ISA. For every detainee suffering in the camp, there are four to five more people at home who are suffering and bearing the cruelty of ISA. As long as ISA is not abolished, Malaysia can only dream of becoming a 'cemerlang, terbilang and gemilang' nation.

You can read more about this motion from Nik Nazmi's blog.