There is a line in the hit political satire series “Yes, Minister” where the pompous Sir Humphrey explains the real reason for the archaic Official Secrets Act in the UK: “The Official Secrets Act is not to protect secrets, it is to protect officials.”
Well, they say truth is stranger than fiction but sometimes satire has a ring of truth to it.
And the way the Keadilan webmaster Nathaniel Tan was arrested – including the cat-and-mouse game the cops played with his lawyers – reminds me of another group of on-screen characters: the Keystone Cops.
I have never met Nat before but, for the life of me, I can’t imagine what secret he might have revealed that could so endanger the security of our nation. I wonder what ol’ Humphrey would have made of it.
So, come on guys, have a heart, let Nat go…
And while you are at it, free all those ISA detainees in Kamunting unconditionally – there are close to a hundred of them, some of them in detention for almost six years – or charge them in court. They have suffered enough.
And don’t forget all those others detained without trial – including migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees held in immigration detention camps. Release them or charge them in court and allow them full legal representation. And for God’s sake, stop caning these poor people.
Show us you have some sense of decency and fair play, some respect for basic rights.
Otherwise, some people might think that Nat’s detention is, among other things, the opening shot in a larger crackdown against bloggers ahead of the coming general election. Not good at all for a government purportedly promoting a moderate approach to Islam.