I believe Malaysians still remember Ops Lalang that saw 106 politicians from both ruling and Opposition parties being kept at bay in October and November 1987. The Home Ministry and Bukit Aman were fast to keep the situation under control. Otherwise, the recur of 1969 communal riots would not be contained.
Although the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was against the use of ISA, the police felt it was necessary to carry out such pre-emptive measures. And it really proved effective. Bukit Aman even refused a permit for Umno to hold a 1 November rally of 500,000 members in support of the government policies.
I was in Kampung Baru with other members of the Media when the Malays - at the height of their incense - marched to protest efforts by some quarters to promote Chinese language, culture and education, and other issues such as a proposed development on the Chinese cemetery and the failure of the MCA's Deposit-Taking Cooperative.
Not only the DAP rode on the issue but MCA - led by its deputy president Lee Kim Sai - and some newspapers too were lashing out at the government and the Malays. In the end, apart from the 106 detained, the Home Ministry also revoked the printing permits for The Star, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Watan.
Now, in attending to possible security threat poised by the July 9 Bersih rally, I think the Home Ministry should also act fast before it explodes. Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar must discuss another pre-emptive action to tackle it. Should the rally takes place, its consequences could be more damaging than that of 1987.
We should be wary of our university students' involvement. In 1987, they were racially separated over the issue, and their racial sentiments could fly even higher this time.
No doubt that Pas is supporting Bersih this time around - in 1987 they were accusing the churches for mass conversions of the Malays - we cannot discount on any possibility, especially when Perkasa, which is led by Ibrahim Ali who was in 1987 formed the 'Group of 106' will be at a confrontative encounter.
Anybody who holds the Home Minister portfolio should not expect to be popular but instead to be remembered as being most effective and powerful. As a deputy minister then, Tan Sri Megat Junid Megat Ayub was known for his 'enforcing power' and he survived in politics.
Bersih is not only tearing apart the racial harmony we are just about to enjoy under the 1Malaysia concept but is also preying on domestic politics and this is already turning away potential foreign investors.
Although the police have already reprimanded some, they should take in the lead organisers of the planned rally. The Seditious Act is applicable here in order to remand them without having to resort to the ISA package.
The whole nation is now in jeopardy. While Bersih 2.0 destabilises the nation, our citizens (notably in the urban areas) are viewing it as yet another weakness of the government in guaranteeing them of a harmonious and peaceful living.
The Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture too should play its role here. Apart from using its electronic media to remind the people not to take part in any Bersih rally, it is only proper to fully-utilise its 'non-functional' Jabatan Penerangan again by launching a massive anti-Bersih campaign in the rural areas.
For Hisham, its time to act, bro. Put out the fire before it burns all of us!