What price freedom from restricted residence?

Posted on October 10, 2011


Last count, there were 32 responses to my ‘UMNO’s new election bankers’ post.

Allen Tan and Delilah hit the nail square on the head.

Apologies for this late post. Was in Kuantan for  the Himpunan Hijau.


Last Wednesday, in Parliament, while debating the bill to repeal the Restricted Residence Act, 1933, Najib stated that the government had ‘decided to abolish the 1933 Act because the law is outdated and no longer relevant to the current situation’, and went on to talk about  how, in the present era of mobile broadband and smart phones, the restricted residence orders had become ineffective.

Was Najib being absolutely candid about the situation leading to this repeal, or were there other considerations?

Malaysiakini reports that Najib went on to say that the government had embarked on this journey ‘not because of any pressure… the test (is) whether we deliver on the promise or not….Other parties can recklessly or unashamedly admit that this is their idea or opinion They are not government mandated by the majority of the people to honour what was promised.

What promise?

And to whom?

And were there any promises made in return?

That same Malaysiakini report quotes Kerismudin as saying, in relation to the release orders, then already signed, relating to the 125 individuals who were going to immediately benefit from the law that would later be repealed, that the ‘groundwork was done much earlier… this was not something we plucked from the air’ .

What, precisely, did this groundwork entail?

Last Thursday, at a meeting with a senior civil servant where others were also present, this person said that the 125 persons to be released and the 200 others who would have the unserved restricted residence orders cancelled following upon the repeal of the restricted residence law are all known big-time criminals with enough evidence to put them all away for a long, long time.

Trouble is, they wont go down alone.

They’ll also take with them practically half the cabinet, scores of senior civil servants and many top cops.

So restricted residence was never a punishment or a deterrent.

At most, an inconvenience.

Otherwise, it was business as usual.

So why, asked the civil servant, the hurry to repeal this Act and free these top dog hoodlums, yet there is not the same rush with the ISA where most of those detained are not criminally tainted?

The answer, he said, was in the promise that Najib spoke of.

The 325 known cash-rich criminals, whose business interests are each, in their own right, the ‘goose that lays the golden egg’, have promised to provide UMNO with cash for the 13th GE, in return for their new-found unfettered freedom.

I asked if these hoodlums had already made good on their promise of cash for the elections.

The civil servant said he was not sure.

Then how, I asked, was UMNO going to ensure these crooks would deliver on their promise?

He referred me to the following report in Bernama.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Royal Malaysian Police has been directed to monitor all 125 Restricted Residence Act (RRA) detainees released today.

Inspector-general of police Ismail Omar said this would ensure that the detainees did not conduct activities that could threaten public order.

“We hope that they will not do commit anything criminal, especially gambling,” he told reporters after launching the book ‘Crimson Over Borneo – Untold Police Stories and Communist Cessation of the Sarawak Communist Insurgency’ by Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud in Kuching today.

Ismail was confident that the released detainees could change their ways and contribute to national development.

All detainees under the act were released today following the announcement of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak when tabling the motion to repeal it in parliament yesterday.

125 towkay besar from the underworld, previously the subject of restricted residence orders, are now walking around scot-free.

Malaysia boleh, kan!