It has come to the sinking knowledge that it has collectively lost most of its control over the Malaysian public.
Dictatorship governments severely detest the loss of control.
And thus, they resort to their favourite tactic to regain that control - fear-mongering.
For many years, the Internal Security Act or more popularly known as the ISA, has been bandied about to intimidate political opponents and challengers under the guise of 'national security'.
This time, the threat is Islamic terrorism.
Make no mistake - I am not a fan of terrorists by a long shot. For the most part I believe they are ignorant cowards who are manipulated by those smarter than them.
I am all for putting them away behind bars or deporting them if they have genuine intentions of bringing harm to the public.
But not when they are the collective figment of the government's imagination. And believe you me, this imagination has been spinning on overdrive.
It caught my attention when a report claimed that Middle East, African and local undergrads were ‘spreading religious views in campuses’.
In George Town, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said vice-chancellors of all public and private universities and colleges will meet the IGP and Higher Education Ministry officials on the matter.
The meeting would also look into the form of cooperation between police and the universities to curb the unhealthy trend which could affect national security.
“We view Musa’s statement seriously. We don’t want the matter to escalate into a problem which can threaten national security,” he said at a press conference after opening the St George’s Girls’ School International Students’ Conference 2010 at Universiti Sains Malaysia here.
This article, which I obtained from the NST deliberately mentions 'national security' twice for emphasis.
The phrase national security has always been the excuse for maintaining one particular draconian bit of law: the Internal Security Act.
It appears that I am not the only one concerned. Haris Ibrahim of The People's Parliament believes the government has cried wolf (or terrorism, in this case) once too many.
He asks, "The immediate question on my mind is where is all this ‘terrorist smear campaigning’ leading up to? Are we looking at a foundation being laid for an Ops Lalang repeat?"
Unfortunately, that is exactly what I unhappily anticipate.