After four years of defending Umno’s continuing repression of free speech and free assembly, Hishammuddin Hussein Onn put on his best statesman-like manners when taking leave of his hot seat at the home ministry. On his farewell visit to the ministry, he spoke about healing wounds and building a nation — in contrast to the hardline actions by his ministry and the police to suppress freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and attempts to further muzzle the press.
Some highlights of his term:
• Defending the cow’s head protest by Muslims in Shah Alam – August 2009 | Video
• Zunar arrested under sedition, raids without warrant to seize copies of his cartoon books – Sept 2010
• Banned Kim Quek’s book The March to Putrajaya, calling it an attempt to public anger and hatred – Sept 2010
• Banned people from wearing Bersih’s yellow T-shirts, with arrests of at least 250 people – June 2011
• Declaring Bersih illegal under the Societies Act even though it is not a society – June 2011
High Court judge Rohana Daud
• Tried to bully the press with a media council, to be headed by him and information minister Rais Yatim | Malaysian media making a rod for its own back
• Arrested, then re-arrested, under the Emergency Ordinance six members of Parti Socialis, including Dr Michael Jayakumar Devaraj, MP for Sungei Siput, and 24 others travelling to a Berish event – July 2011
• Seemingly condoned the beating up of the press and seizure of equipment while covering the Bersih rally in April 2012 | Journalists submit petition to PM’s office
Sweet words with no humanity.
This is what he said today at his farewell to the home ministry:
Disappointments or otherwise, we have to look at the country as whole and cannot [look] at cases or incidents in isolation because the responsibility of each ministry is the interest of the nation and public.
to Home Ministry staff
You do what is right and what is right if it is based on the majority, if it is based on what is good for the nation and there is consensus amongst the top ten (leaders in the ministry) that we have created. Do it. Do it without fear or favour… Don’t have to be apologetic in our actions. Maybe many outside do not understand the burden and responsibility we have bear. At times, we have to make decision of life and death
In other words, no apology for repression.
Tomorrow, he takes over at Mindef. So far, thank goodness, the military only fights foreigners. But there are billions in lucrative arms contracts waiting to be signed and sealed.