Putrajaya’s Transformasi Nasional (TN50) plan, aimed at empowering Malaysia’s youths, would be meaningless if there are continued attempts to curb youth intellectuals through intimidation, said Kuala Terengganu MP Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad.
Raja Kamarul Bahrin said the most glaring example of such intimidation was the repeated arrest of former Universiti Malaya student Siti Noor Aishah Atam under preventive detention laws and the use of 40 armed personnel to arrest her.He said that while Putrajaya was engaging in youth empowerment propaganda through TN50, they are applying “excessive force” to make an example out of would-be dissidents.
“The propaganda and intimidation is complemented with attractive promises. This is the coupling of techniques by the authorities to weaken the youths.
“Siti Noor Aishah is a ‘soft target’ for the authorities (as part of a move to compel) youths to cower and debilitate their efforts to have their rights acknowledge,” said Raja Kamarul Bahrin in a statement today.
TN50 is Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s latest policy centrepiece, aimed at collecting opinions from 1.5 million youths on their vision for Malaysia in 2050, which will be distilled and used to formulate the TN50 policy document.
Siti Noor Aishah was arrested in March 26 last year for allegedly possessing 12 books associated with terrorist groups or acts, a violation of Section 130JB of the Penal Code. At the time, she was pursuing a Master’s in Islamic Studies.
In September last year, she was acquitted by the High Court which ruled that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case. She was immediately arrested under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca), which allowed detention without trial for up to 60 days.
Up to this point, she had already been incarcerated for nine months. Following her release from Poca detention, she was fitted with an electronic monitoring device.
She was arrested again when she made an appearance at the Kuala Lumpur High Court last Thursday. This time, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) was applied.
The law allowed the police to detain anyone for up to 28 days and the detention period cannot be subject to judicial oversight.
Siti Noor Aishah is currently being held at the Kajang prison.
Critics have pointed out that none of the books Siti Noor Aishah was accused of possessing were banned and were publicly available.