Monday, January 02, 2006

Veteran Malay journalist calls for ISA's repeal

Trilingual veteran Malay-language journalist Said Zahari unequivocally calls for the repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) in his forthcoming memoir Dalam Ribuan Mimpi Gelisah - Memoir Said Zahari.

Said, 77, was himself detained without trial under the ISA-like law Preservation of Public Security Ordinance (PPSO) for 17 years in Singapore. The Singapore-born Said was a former editor of the then independent Utusan Melayu. After leading a journalists' and workers' strike in Kuala Lumpur to oppose the takeover of the newspaper in 1961 by Umno, he was expelled back to Singapore and declared persona non grata by Malaya's first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

On 2 February 1962, at the age of 37, he was detained by PM Lee Kuan Yew's PAP government under the PPSO together with more than 100 opposition leaders, student activisits, trade unionists and journalists in Operation Cold Store. He was only released in August 1979 when he was already 54 years old.