“When you're left wounded on Afganistan's plains and
the women come out to cut up what remains, Just roll to your rifle
and blow out your brains,
And go to your God like a soldier”
General Douglas MacArthur"
“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”
“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.” “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.
“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .” “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.
“Nobody ever defended, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
The Soldier stood and faced God
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as bright as his brass
"Step forward you Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't
Because those of us who carry guns
Can't always be a saint."
I've had to work on Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep.
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep,
The Soldier squared his shoulders and said
And I never passed a cry for help
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here,
Lord, It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."
There was silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burden well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."
Who ordered Operation Lalang – the police or Mahathir? Who stood to gain or lose the most?
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Aliran : Nobody would believe that Mahathir was not the mastermind of the Operation Lalang arrests. By P Ramakrishnan.
How does former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad get into the news? My last article “Mahathir, the peddler of lies” exposed him as someone not speaking the truth.
But his views got published anyway! Malaysiakini and Free Malaysia Today gave him good coverage!
news portals, however, didn’t carry my article. I suppose I spoke the
truth, and it hurt Mahathir! Nevertheless, it was carried by Aliran and
received 12,772 hits in less than two days. Many would vehemently
dispute Mahathir’s claim he did not order Operation Lalang in 1987.
According to him, that decision was made by the police. From the point of probability, would you believe him? Let’s ask some simple questions to arrive at the truth!
the police act unilaterally on an issue that was bound to have a
massive impact on the nation and cause political repercussions beyond
Malaysia’s borders? Would the police undertake an action that would have
serious implications for a serving prime minister? Would they act on
their own? Would they dare?
It would hardly be possible! It’s even unthinkable! The police come
under the home minister. And the home minister then was Mahathir. Would
he have brooked their insolence? You don’t “play, play” with Mahathir!
before Operation Lalang was launched, the detention papers had to be
signed – that is only logical! Who signed these detention papers? They
were signed by none other than the home minister. Who was the home
minister then? It was Mahathir!
So Operation Lalang must have been
premeditated and well-planned. Those to be detained had to be
identified. It involved the inspector general of police and the home
minister working hand-in-hand to execute Operation Lalang. To be sure,
it couldn’t have taken place without Mahathir’s acquiescence.
Lalang involved the detention of 106 (or more) patriotic Malaysians who
had never resorted to actions that would threaten national security or
jeopardise national unity. They had never advocated armed struggle. They
functioned within democratic parameters.
they were detained, beginning on 27 October 1987 with the first batch
of 19 detentions which increased to 106 (or more) eventually.
Shockingly, it was such a huge number of detentions during a time of
peace. It was mind-boggling! It was unbelievable!
did not pose any danger to the country but, it was generally believed,
they were certainly a real threat to Mahathir and his hold on power.
They exposed his shortcomings and abuse of power. That eroded his
political standing and stature. That he could not tolerate! He was under
threat and he had to consolidate his power by all means!
insane to blame these critics as a threat to national security. How
could a small group of academics, social activists, prominent members of
NGOs, women, religious leaders, educationists, unionists and a La Salle
brother mount an action that would threaten the security of the nation?
How could they topple a duly elected government when there was no
general election pending at the time?
All the same, they were all
detained together with politicians and MPs. There was no need for
justification. There was no need to convince the people at large. The
ISA took care of it! You didn’t have to be transparent; you didn’t have
to be accountable. You did as you please under the ISA!
those who deserved to be detained were spared simply because it was a
selective detention. The provocateurs were from Umno and the chief
culprit was the then Umno youth leader Najib Razak.
Malays turned up at a mass rally at the TPCA Stadium in Jalan Raja Muda
in Kuala Lumpur on 17 October 1987 – 10 days before Operation Lalang –
with banners displaying slogans such as “May 13 has begun” and “Soak it
[keris] with Chinese blood”.
this criminal intimidation? It was a blatant call to go after the
non-Malays, particularly the Chinese. Did anyone of the 106 or more
detainees ever call for blood to be shed? Did they go on a rampage in
working up their supporters into a frenzy of hatred?
were plastered all over the country urging Umno members to come to KL
for a mammoth rally, which was expected to involve half a million Umno
members. They were keeping the cauldron on the boil, very likely to
inflame racial tensions that could erupt into ethnic clashes with
serious consequences for the nation.
But Najib was not detained!
took place on 27 October 1987 became world news. It stunned the
international community. It affected the image of Malaysia as a
When so much was at stake – and the
repercussions were many – do you think this action would have been left
entirely to the discretion of the police? It is absurd! No one will
believe that lie!
Before the onslaught against these activists, it
was a known fact that Umno was split down the middle. Tengku Razaleigh
Hamzah and Musa Hitam joined forces to take on Mahathir. They stood a
very good chance of unseating Mahathir as president of Umno. That would
have meant the end for Mahathir in Umno politics!
What went wrong?
was widely speculated that Najib, the Umno youth leader who had thrown
his lot with Razaleigh and Musa, betrayed them at the last moment by
switching sides to support Mahathir. That was how Mahathir’s skin was
saved! To win party elections, we need betrayals and traitors, and these
were allegedly up for sale for cash and promises and available to the
There was also the case of some Umno dissidents
from Razaleigh’s camp going to court to challenge the irregularities in
the conduct of the Umno elections. With this thing hanging over
Mahathir’s head, he was a very worried man!
So we come back to the central question: Who initiated Operation Lalang? Was it the police or Mahathir? Que
bono (Latin for who benefits)? Who stood to lose the most? Would it
have made any difference to the inspector general or to his force?
it have made all the difference to Mahathir if there was no Operation
Lalang? Certainly, it would have. In less than four months, in February
1988, Umno was declared an illegal society by the court.
parliamentary convention, Mahathir would have had to resign as prime
minister. He would then be party-less and powerless. He would be without
a base. He would be no better than an ordinary citizen with no power to
Without Operation Lalang, Mahathir would not have
been in control. He would not have been in a position to compel the
Registrar of Societies to register Umno Baru (New Umno) over the weekend
and be back in the saddle of power.
And Mahathir was back in power, riding rough-shod over all that was considered sacrosanct in a democracy! So who ordered Operation Lalang? What do you think?
for me, I’ll go along with Bapa Malaysia – our beloved Tunku Abdul
Rahman’s observation. While the justification given was that the
crackdown was necessary to defuse racial tensions at the time, the Tunku
put it bluntly:
Umno was facing a
break-up. The Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s hold on the party
appeared critical when election rigging was alleged to have given him a
very narrow victory against Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
case alleging irregularities brought by Umno members was pending in
court. If the judgment went against him, he would have no choice but to
step down. So he had to find a way out of his predicament. A national
crisis had to be created to bring Umno together as a united force to
fight a common enemy – and the imaginary enemy in this case was the
Chinese community … Overnight, Malaysia has become a police state …
would believe that Mahathir was not the mastermind of the Operation
Lalang arrests to consolidate his power position in Umno. Simply put, he