Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesdays With Bapak

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.
Unforgivable.
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.

30 comments:

Aditiajaya said...

I have been following your Tuesdays with Bapak from the very start but never left a comment before this. Peminat setia-bisu, one may call me. Well, that's going to change. I have started a new blog to join dots with yours and make a picture of a better, fuller Malaysia.

Ana and I agree that a book on Pak Samad by his own daughter is overdue. But looks like you are starting a whole new chapter here, about the possibility of cleaning/clearing your Bapak's name.

Go, we are urging you on. Sue the government if that's what it takes.

At the very least, an apology from those responsible for depriving him of his family and his family of him, and for the LIE in capital letters.

Thank you, may the Force be with you.

Ayah said...

Eid Mubarak...

I wonder whether your father had ever spoke about what he had experienced back then and his thoughts about his experience. I haven't come across any of that.

I read Dua Wajah, but I think that the final product was a sanitized version.

Please convey my regards to him...

The Ancient Mariner said...

I am all for justice, even if its going to take 100 years, better late than never. I can still see the smirk on King Gaz face on TV.

We should not consign this collateral damage as just another unfortunate incident in the country's history.

meandbaby said...

I was commenting on the same topic with my mother the other day when it was announced in the news. I told my mother that if your father would have brought this up to the court wonder how they would handle it. Lucky for the guy to win the case..and sad enough to know that there are many more who is still suffering from wrong detention.

p/s maybe your father tersedak masa I sebut nama dia to my mother that nite.

alliedmartster said...

Yes Kak! I am happy for this man too, but he will never see the money! There will be appeal after appeal!
But, thats my opinion.

I cannot express the disappointment I have reading about your dads case. What more, to lose 5 years of one's life because of his integrity?
The ISA must go. Detention of suspects must stop. Innocent until proven guilty remember?
I read in Dato AKJ's comment that Pak Lah did use the ISA against a Nuclear parts supplier when he came to power. . .I suppose someone forgot about that too?
Malaysians mudah lupa!
Lets do our best to help get rid of all injustice in this country. If no one else wants to do this, then what kind of country do welive in!

QueenB said...

Dear Nuraina, May that case be a watershed that will bring a sea change, Insya Allah

Mat Salo said...

Nuraina.. What they did to your father, to Pak Samani and of course, the effect it had on their families (you!) - were not only unthinkable, but a travesty. For this reason alone I will NEVER support a party or leaders that condones such behavior. My grand uncle PS, was also once branded as "kominih" together with my grandpa too and was for a time incarcerated ...

Two or three decades back is never too long ago. I know in your mind it's 'only yesterday', so perhaps it's time to seek justice. A lesson must be imparted here.. if not we're not any better than the US who's grappling with things like 'collateral damage'. OK to kill civilians for 'the greater good' kononnya...

Sue their ass!

Basree Rakijan said...

Sdra Nuraina

Bersempena dengan Syawal yang mulia ini saya mengambil kesempatan mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya Maaf dan Zahir batin kepada sdra sekeluarga.

Terima kasih kerana telah memberi kesempatan kepada saya dan pelawat-pelawat blog sdra untuk sama-sama mengulas dan memberi pendapat di sini.

Sesungguhnya kesempatan ini telah sama-sama memperkaya minda kita semua dan menjadikan kita lebih dewasa.

Terima kasih daripada
Basree Rakijan

Anonymous said...

Ina,
Do u have recent info of Hj Samani? Wuld like to visit him at his Klang home,...somewhere in Meru I believe. Have lost touch with him after at Syed Kechik fling.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

aditiajaya:

Welcome to the blogosphere!
I have gone to your new blog and am looking forward to more from you!

Actually, i wrote about Bapak not having cleared his name, not because we want to sue the government...
just that we are so amazed at how we never thought all this (what Malik did and the High Court award) as ever possible.

Truth be told.... i don;t think it matters now to Bapak. Events in his life after his release have probably been a vindication of and for him.
thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate it.
And thank you for visiting.

Wasallam

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Ayah,

No...my father has never publicly spoken about his experience.
But he has told us of his ISA tales..
No.... you wouldnt want the ISA to be used on you or anyone.

But...Bapak was an "old hand" so to speak as that was his third time.
Still...his detention did leave a mark.
For a very long time, perhaps until today, Bapak doesn't like closed areas. For instance, he likes the living room, the dining room, his room to be "open"...


i will, Insyallah, kirin your salam.

Thank you.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

captain: indeed. I do too. but )there is always a but), i think time does "heal"...in a way.
and Bapak is old already.

thank you, captain.

meandbaby: oooh.... padan lah Bapak tersedak2!..
thank you..

tony (alliedmarster): i do hope not.
i wish malek all the best!

QueenB: I do hope so too!

MatSalo: oh yes.. a travesty. i know what your uncle's family must have gone through.
thanks, Mat salo for visiting.

basree: selamat hari raya. dan ribuan terima kasih.

anon@2:39pm: I do have the address.
let me emial you the details.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

Ok, my apology for this comment has nothing to do with today’s TWB. Just to thank you, Pn nuraina, as it was a pleasure meeting you. And aunty Maria, for the lovely lunch and coffee, and hey, last but certainly not least, uncle Roslaini. This great man is just totally out of this world, outer than dr sheikh. He got us all in stitches practically each and every time he opens up his mouth! Nice knowing you, sir.

Zawi said...

Nuraina,
King Ghaz had the cheek to say that he wont be writing his autobiography because he doesnt owe anybody an apology. Not even after what he did to your father, Dolah Kok Lanas and Pak Samani to name a few?
He should be given a taste of his own medicine while he is still alive.

Dhahran Sea said...

Berbuku rasa bila dengar cerita the culprits, the like of Gaz Sepeie & Co., got away with it... itulah, even some of us who profess to be Muslims (and setengah tu dah sampai tiga empat kali pegi haji & umrah) "mudah lupa" or "saja2 lupa" di dunia ni, BUT, "Someone" with the record books tak akan lupa... so jawablah kat sana nanti & good luck to them!
Of course time does heal... but "parut" on the anak cucu susah nak hilang, I'm sure? Salam to your dad.

mekyam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mekyam said...

kerp: and hey, last but certainly not least, uncle Roslaini. ... He got us all in stitches practically each and every time he opens up his mouth!

Ah, so Abg Ani is a card eh? Thanks for that inside snippet, kerpie.

That must be the secret of the seri on Kak Maria's lovely face. ;D

zaitgha said...

Nuraina,

i can only imagine how all of you must had felt during those years...but like you said time does heal...as for me i can forgive but can never forget, my weakness and also my strength according to my dad...

again, your TWB humbled me and thank you...

mekyam said...

Dear Ena,

Actually they stole more than five years of your father's life. At the very least they stole five years out of the lives of your mother, you and your siblings and your father's siblings.

Ghaz will go down in history as a b*st*rd - I don't think he made any meaningful contribution to the nation in all the years he was in the cabinet. When he was foreign minister this b*st*rd was just living it up. I remember a friend of my late Dad calling him that "ugly monster with the ridiculous neckerchief". Seemed his signature thing was a scarf around his neck - lame!

Dear Zawi, baguslah dia tak nak tulis memoirs dia. Sapa nak beli.

Btw Ena, I think all those yg dimangsakan oleh ISA (if they are no longer able, then their immediate family members who, by extension, were also victims) should do a class-action suit against the goverment.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

pn Nuraina, tumpang lalu...

mekyam dearest,

for goodness sake, you've got to meet him. its a must-do thing for some mind-blowing experience!

uncle roslaini is one wise man with good advice and will tickle your ribs at the same time. it was an honour to have met him yesterday for the first time and i'm making extra sure it wont be the last.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

kerp: it was our pleasure. thanks for joining us yesterday.
see u again next tuesday.

zawi: iye, ke? hmmm...apa nak di kato, ek?
You know, Zawi...I have learnt many things in this short life of mine...
one of them is retribution. in fact, in this short life of mine, i have witnessed that "punishment" on people yang sememang nya terang2 berdosa menganiaya orang yang tak bersalah.
so... Allah is great!

Dhahran: I so agree with you.
thank you, and I will kirim your salam..Insyallah.
Take care.

Zai: I have never forgotten that and never will.
thank you, zai for visiting.

Mekyam: i hope you don't mind. I had to delete a paragraph which could put me in trouble. Or could not. You said something about using pawangs and witch doctors to hex rivals adn enemies...

anyway...that class action suit seems a possibility.

thanks again..

mekyam said...

Oh gosh! Ena, I didn't realize. My apologies.

You did right deleting the para. I was repeating crazy stone-age gossip (heard yonks ago when I eavesdropped grownups talking), something I should have mentioned to you in private, if at all.

Hi&Lo said...

Nuraina,

I remember very clearly the time of Pak Samad's arrest together with other Dollahs and others. I recall Singapore also made simultaneous swoop. For all the diatribes against Singapore, Umno had and has always work in cahoots with the republic.

Take comfort in 'blessed are the persecuted for righteousness sake.' God of justice and mercy is not blind that He cannot see, nor deaf He cannot hear our pangs. He restrains His anger, which is part of His power. But once He unleashes His wrath, the punishment is more than meted out.

There are times we need to take actions to prevent a similar recurrence to other people. But at other times, we leave the vengeance in His hands. As you had said no one can escape retributions.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

mekyam: oh, don't apologise Mekyam, dear.
funny thing.... i did not immediately delete that paragraph. i was so tempted to let it through. i was thinking hard about whether that para constituted libel. and hoping that i could agree within myself that it was not so i could let it through. i wanted to let it through.
such a wicked wicked thought.
actually, i have heard of that piece of stone-age gossip too. but couldn't confirm the story.
sigh..(shrug shoulders)....
having said that...personally, i think it's true. haha.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Hi&Lo: oh..there was serious collaboration. but i can't say whether it is the way things are and have been between Umno and Singapore.
I can say that there was between Ghaz and LKY to do in Bapak for their own individual end.
Ambition on the Malaysian side and settling old scores on the Singapore side.

thank u, again, H&L.
God bless!

MaryKate said...

Dear Ena, sorry to hear about your father and I can only imagine the pain he and his family went through.Its amazing how ISA is misused for political gains or agenda, if only the authorities can channel the same effort and time to nab big time criminals-who are really of danger to the society, eg. rampant snatch thieves and many died due to this, missing children dead like Nurin (yesterday another girl aged 10 went missing while going to pasar malam to by VCD),etc.

People like us are always living in fear for ourselves and more so for our children. Better mobilise the money, effort on security and safety of our country.

dragonstar said...

Dark days for the Samad family and for Malaysia as a whole. I remember as a junior staffer on NST at the time how we ground our teeth with impotence and despair. What a coincidence: first the Singapore PM (old political rival) names Pak Samad in a laughable plot then the Malaysian Govt picks him up under ISA. Who was leading whom - and why?

Anonymous said...

ina,
appreciate email to smdmy@yahoo.co.uk for deatils of Pak Samani.
Salam.

mutalib saifuddin said...

hello, mdm ena,

1stly, eid mubarak.

actually i did wonder MANY TIMES why your Bapak was incarcerated.

one said salah dia, another said it was political. i'm confused.

And more than once. And in 1976 (the last), why only after Tun Razak passed away. Is it a political conspiracy? Oh ya, i am aware too, 'ambitious' action may have led into the incarceration...

luckily when the power transferred to Dr. M (even only as deputy then), he was released.

Dr. Kamal Shah said...

Kamal jugak tak dapat lagi pergi ke rumah selepas itu kerana ada Polis yang menghalang. Susah betul bila jadi target politik. Aruah abah dan Bpk Tan Sri Samad Ismail berkawan rapat, sama2 JAWA, dan sama2 orang perjuangan dari Singapura. Walaupun berlainan parti di Semenanjung ini hubungan mereka tetap baik malah Bpk lah yang memohon agar STP Spore supaya menghantar Abah ke Kuala Lumpur, berkhidmat bersama di STP Jalan Pudu hinggalah berpindah ke Jalan Riong. Byk kisah suka duka mereka dalam perjuangan. Dan saya masih memegang amanah perjuangan tersebut...