15 September 2011

Repealing Internal Security Act

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced today that the government would repeal the Internal Security Act to ensure a modern, mature and functioning democracy.

The 51-year-old law allows almost indefinite detention without trial for acts that are considered to be a threat to national security or to prevent such acts.

Critics say that the law has been abused by the government to silence dissent.

The Emergency Ordinance, which allows suspects to be detained without charge for up to two years, will also be repealed.

Two new laws will be introduced for preventive detention, to be used in cases of terrorism and to ensure that basic human rights are protected.  Under the proposed new laws, detentions can be extended only by the courts, shifting the power of detention from the executive to the judiciary, unless it concerns terrorism.

The government said that it had decided once and for all that no laws would be enacted allowing for individuals to be arrested (or more importantly, detained) for having different ideologies.

Will Singapore follow suit and repeal its Internal Security Act too?

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This post was updated.