Delay in Abolishing ISA undermines Reform Process

SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA (SUARAM)
&
GERAKAN MANSUHKAN ISA

Press Statement: 4 October 2011

Delay in Abolishing ISA undermines Reform Process

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) and Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) are of the view that the delay announced by the government to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) is a cause to concern. We believe that the delay announced undermines the reform process as being a mere political gimmick for the upcoming general election. We are also perplexed to learn that the government failed to conduct reasonable study and stakeholder consultation prior to the announcement of this historic and important political change.

We would also like to remind the Prime Minister that over the past few decades, thousands of people were detained without trial under the ISA not for what they did or said but based on anonymous and often false accusations from third parties. People been locked up not for the crimes they have not proved in a court of law and thousands were left to anguish in secret detention cells around the country indefinitely.

SUARAM and GMI also views the announcement on the two new Acts to replace the Internal Security Act as another concern as we stress our protest that all security laws must not allow for detention without trial and the safeguards of rights and fundamental liberties to be protected. The view on the definition of terrorism and public order is also another concern as we learn from many jurisdictions that the term terrorist were liberally interpreted to criminalise legitimate dissent and protest activities and groups. The similar is said on public interest protection mechanism as we recall the recent ban on Bersih 2.0 as an example of arbitrary ban on a legitimate people’s initiative on free and fair election.

SUARAM and GMI also would like to point out that in the past Malaysia have legislated to include terrorism-related offences in the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code in 2006. By virtue of the Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2003, a new Chapter VII A entitled “Offences Relating To Terrorism” was inserted and this came into force on 6th March 2007. Similarly, by virtue of the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Act 2006, a new Chapter XIIA entitled “Ancillary Investigative Powers In Relation To Terrorism Offences” was inserted and came into force on 6 March 2007. Malaysia also passed legislation dealing with anti-terrorism financing in the form of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (Act 613).

We view that the two new legislation’s as proposed by the Prime Minister must take into account the body of security laws in existence and the protection of fundamental liberties before it chooses to add new security laws and its impact on fundamental liberties.

As such, SUARAM and GMI calls upon the Prime Minister to affect a moratorium on the Internal Security law and release all the detainees pending the total recall. We also call upon the government to stop legislating laws which allows detention without trial and to deal the
terrorism issues with the existence laws.

Released by,

Nalini.E

GMI Secretariat &Coordinator SUARAM