Thursday, 16 April 2009

Low Turnout at Abolish ISA Forum

My citizen journalism coursemate, Lucia Lai told to me not to be discourage with the lack of participants in this forum. She added if there were 50 people attending, it was considered a good crowd size. Well, I was thinking, a hot topic like ISA and there is no crowd? Serious?

Fellow CJ Lim Boo Seng and I volunteered to video the forum with the intention to save it in YouTube so that the general public can access to it.

The forum was very informative and there was an update on the remaining detainees in Kamunting, for me it was a eye opener, I did not know there were so many still imprisoned, I believe there are still 27 detainees all together. Some detainees jail terms have been extended to 2010, an addition 2 more years from the supposed to be 6 year jail term.

This was the first time I heard of these detainees’ names, the only one I recognized was Anwar Ibrahim, no more. But GMI memorized all these names, age, family and every single detail. This showed how diligently GMI followed the progression of the detainees.

In  my video clip, I have captured the details of most of the detainees. It is sad to know that they are still inside and longing to come out to be with their family. We were also informed that the ISA has destroyed many families and especially the children of the detainees.

If you viewed the video, you will come across an Indian man who was labelled as “Foreign Intelligence” aka “James Bond” but apparently he was only a mechanic. He was detained for a period of time and suffered “mental trauma” until he was paralyzed. We were told that he was released from ISA detention a few years back.

Another sad case was a detainee was unable to see his dying daughter before she passed on. It was a case of “documentation” that caused the delay of the temporary release of the detainee. Apparently, if the release was done 48 hours earlier, he would have been able to say goodbye to his daughter. It must devastating for him.

Nevertheless, there has been a lot of effort on the part of SUARAM and GMI to organize this event and even the rooms were sponsored by the state government.

But I guess both organizations need to come up with a better way to get participation from the public. Apparently, the Abolish ISA supporters are everywhere it seems, but wants to be low profile according to GMI.

But with only about 25 people (including press, Gerakan, SUARAM, GMI, DCM2, CJ and SB) attending, it barely calls it a forum, isn’t?

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