Only Karpal made a statement earlier today, calling the repeal of the ISA as 'the breath of fresh air'.
The Opposition bench was taken by surprise, actually. They were the ones shouting around for the ISA to be abolished. They were the ones who had been telling the whole world about how 'draconian' the law was.
Even the NGOs were tight lips about it. Where is Ambiga who led the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9? Where are the patrons of 'strip the ISA', including a few members of the Bar Council? Aren't they happy that they are now 'free' to do anything - organising more street demos, badmouthing the nation and government, and belittling the judiciary and our democracy?
Najib's announcement on Thursday was not meant to please the Opposition. In fact, many strong upholders of the ISA were disappointed. Some BN leaders, pro-govt journalists and members of the ruling party were also shocked at the bold move.
Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein regarded the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960 as a journey of the country's transformation (here), and efforts to modify existing laws was necessary to keep abreast with changing times and to safeguard the people's interest and national security.
In a commentary 'Making Way for Civil Liberty', the Star newspaper says "...Together, this exercise at democratisation is the biggest and most significant change in the country since independence and advances personal freedom and civil liberties for citizens. Clearly, Najib has decided that the time is long overdue for combating communism and racial and religious extremism to make way for personal liberties and civil rights."
Many have forgotten that Najib, in his first speech as the premier in 1999, had avowed his intention to review the ISA which was also not favored by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The abolition of the Internal Security and Banishment Acts is part of a journey which started two years ago and not because of the opposition's pressure tactics. And the Opposition's claim that the announcement was meant to lure voters in the next national poll, is also unfounded.
The process started when the prime minister announced that he was looking at the ISA in a holistic way. And as such, he has fulfilled part of what he had promised in the Political Transformation Programme.
The people can judge for themselves the courage needed in doing something unexpected, which was not leaked, politicised or exploited over the past two years. The opposition can claim anything but they too have to mirror themselves with regard to their promises during the 2008 general election.
The Opposition, NGOs and the rakyat must also be aware that the government in all honesty and goodwill have also met key stakeholders to address the issues involved and how to move forward, which is a brilliant thing to do provided.
Many countries have altered or changed their domestic security laws in the wake of 9/11 and ours too will have to be redefined to meet greater challenges posed by a new kind of threats to the nation.
So, if the Opposition and NGOs are not pleased, please be kindly reminded that it was not meant to please them at all!
In my opinion, the dissent by some quarters, including from the pro-ISA camp, is normal. When the ISA was introduced 51 years ago, it sent shocks and shivers to many too but it began to gain support when it started to give positive impact in dealing with the insurgency and other threatening elements to the national security.