Bapak never got to clear his name. Nor did he ever set out to seek justice. And I don't remember any hint of an apology from those responsible for his nearly five years of incarceration.
When he was arrested in 1976 and then detained under the Internal Security Act until 1981, we knew it was political.
The charges framed against him were incredible. That he was a communist mastermind and a subversive element who was using the newspaper to further the communist agenda and was therefore, a threat to national security.
Which means he had cadres doing his bidding for the Malayan Communist Party?
Can you imagine anyone being charged with that now? That is so laughable.
Back then, it was different. No laughing matter.
I remember how horrifying the C-word was then.
Anyone who was labelled a communist might as well have been slapped with the death sentence.
We knew the government had inflicted a great injustice on Bapak, and on us . We knew his detention was part of a grander Umno scheme and political intrigue.
We knew the charges were lies and that his detention without trial was not right, unfair and unjust. We knew that.
We also knew that he was put through intense and severe interrogation that led to his confession that, yes, he was a communist and an agent of the MCP.
But what we did not know was that it was possible for us to have done something -- like seek redress in a court of law -- for the physical and mental torture he was subjected to and/or the illegality of the detention.
I suppose in those days, it was unimaginable to sue the government over ISA detention.
After all, Bapak's arrest and detention was provided for under the law.
We did not even imagine that that could be challenged.
ISA was a frightening and most feared piece of draconian legislation so much so that people did not come close to thinking that taking the government to court was possible.
Obviously, we were not alone. No lawyer came forth with such a notion or suggestion. So, it was never an option.
But if we had known then what we know now, I believe we would have sought legal counsel to do whatever it would take to have my father released and to have his name cleared.
The first time I thought that it was possible was when someone (an ISA detainee or his representative) filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus some time in the early 80s. I can't remember details of the case, though.
But the case came about much later after Bapak was released.
I remember thinking : "Couldn't we have done that?"
In this regard, I feel deeply for Samani Mohd Amin who was arrested and detained at the same time as Bapak.
Samani or Uncle Samani, as we call him, was, I believe, a news editor with Berita Harian.
The charges framed against him were clearly trumped-up and false.
He had to be detained to prove that "hey...yep. That's part of Samad's communist network in the newspaper".
How sad for Uncle Samani and what a cruel blow to his young family.
The government had destroyed an innocent man.
Uncle Samani emerged from detention, after his release, a broken and bitter man.
I am writing this after reading of the RM2.5million award granted to ex-ISA detainee Abdul Malik Hussin by the High Court last week.
To me, it is so heartening. I am deeply happy for Abdul Malik and his family.
I am glad that he had taken his case to court.
I remember reading about his detention and how he was tortured.
It was disgusting.
Never for a moment did I doubt his recollection of what he had gone through.
I am hopeful that the outcome of Abdul Malik's case will signal positive changes in how ISA detainees are treated, and more importantly, in how the government invoke or use the ISA, or any other piece of legislation, against the citizens of this country.