The people will not be so easily duped into supporting the perpetrators of injustice and oppression, said Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, in reminding new Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to keep to his word in freeing 13 ISA detainees.
Anwar was addressing a large crowd of about 5,000, who were eagerly anticipating him in the rain, and showed avid interest until the ceremah session ended at midnight.
Anwar told the people that as long as the new premier does not abolished the Internal Security Act, the government could arrest anyone at will.
“Yesterday this men were terrorists, and today they say they are innocent... the tradition started with Hussein Onn when he came into power but a couple of years later after the release, he launched another round of arrests. Same goes to Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) but more were detained thereafter,” he said.
The ISA release, which during the ceramah, Anwar implied to be a publicity stunt, was announced by Najib in his first address as the prime minister.
Other key leaders who spoke at the rally last night were Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak, Pas spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz and Selangor senior executive councillor Teresa Kok.
Kok slammed her ISA arrest
While Kok condemned the injustice afflicted upon her during her one-week ISA arrest for unknown reasons, Azizan reassured the people that the Pas-government has brought plenty of progress to the the state.
Azizan, who was referring to criticism from several quarters accusing his state government of not bringing improvement after being in power for more than a year, said that in July they would be launching a megaproject to develop Kedah into a hydrocarbon hub.
The project which is said to amount to a whopping RM83 billion, is aimed at prospering the state's oil-refining mechanisms.
Later, speaking to reporters, Anwar said: “We expected the move, which was no doubt also was done to coincide with the by-election, but as I stated we want the total abolition of the ISA”.
“We welcome the move, but let’s not be fooled, today they are freed and tomorrow they are detained once more,” he said.
Asked whether it affected Pakatan's chances in the by-elections, Anwar said that the announcement does not affect the campaign.
ISA should be abolished immediately
“The promise to review the act has been there for the last 30 years, at the time when the communists surrendered. The act was meant to be used against militant communists but the moment that matter was resolved, by right it should have been revoked.
“So now, I don't see the rational behind the need for a study, you don't study a case for 30 years. What we need to do is to immediately repeal the act, while I support any measures to be tough against possibilities of violence and perpetrators of violence,” he said.
He also brushed aside a swing of votes to the BN, as the release of Hindraf leaders might be a factor in affecting the sentiments of the Indian community which makes up 29 percent of voters in Bukit Selambau.
“I don't think they (the BN government) can delude the Indian voters into thinking that everything is over because in the first place they should not have been arrested. Yesterday, they were terrorists, under then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (but) today they are no longer a threat to the national security,” he said.