PUTRAJAYA: The move to release Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees is proof that the government is not repressive, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
“The government has the best interest of the people at heart,” he said when commenting on his announcement on Friday to release 13 ISA detainees while also promising to review the ISA.
When pointed out that some viewed it as a populist move, Najib said:
“If we don’t release them, they will say the government is repressive. If we release them, they will say we are populist. “So which is which?” he said to reporters during a press conference at his Sri Satria residence on Saturday.
Najib said what he did was for the best interest of the people and the nation. He also would not comment on whether there would be further releases.
Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was at the press conference, was also asked what he thought about the release.
“I think it is a good move. I don’t know if you remember, but when I became Prime Minister I released 21 people who were held under ISA.
“So I thought it was good for me, so it must be good for Najib too,” Dr Mahathir said.
Najib also denied that there would be a post created for Dr Mahathir when he was asked about the impending Cabinet line-up announcement.
“No, we are free to engage. Tun is ever willing to help out whenever his advice is sought. He is free to give advice,” Najib said.
Dr Mahathir said that he was ready to help the party and the government and that his intention to campaign for Barisan Nasional during the by-elections was proof of this.
“Positions are not necessary. But if we want to work together and I am given a chance to consult, I am ready to help.”
Without giving away the date of the announcement for the new Cabinet, Najib said that talk about a smaller Cabinet was something the media created and that he was still thinking about the line-up.
Source : The Star