Repalce Internal Security Act with Anti-Terrorism Act
DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw reiterates that the Internal Security Act (ISA) should be repealed, to be replaced with Anti-Terrorism Act.
ISA was promulgated in 1960 to fight the Communists. But, they laid down arms in 1989.
On 25.12.2009, Dr Tan takes note of the statement by the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein that the amendment to the ISA will be tabled and debated at the next Dewan Rakyat meeting in March 2010.
It is necessary to study various laws that deal with terrorists. Just as other countries, Malaysia may be faced with suicide bombings and other acts. We have to be vigilant. For instance, although there are measures to watch the parliament, these have to be stepped up. There is no room for complacency.
The Home Minister mentions the ministry's law review technical committee that has also carried out a comparative study between ISA and other similar Acts in other countries, including the United States’ Patriot Act 2001 & Homeland Security Act 2002, Australia (Terrorism Act 2005), United Kingdom (Terrorism Act 2000), Singapore (Internal Security Act 1963), Israel’s Emergency Powers (Detention) Law and Sri Lanka’s Prevention Of Terrorism Act 1982.
UK introduced the Emergency Ordinance in Malaya; this had been replaced by ISA. Legally, our country is still under emergency. UK has been dealing with Emergency in Northern Ireland for years. Despite efforts at peace settlement, there are occasional outbreaks of violence in that territory.
Hisham says today that he is providing enough time for all, including opposition MPs, to discuss issues pertaining to the ISA.
“It will also allow Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to hold briefing sessions on the proposed changes and gather feedback from the public,” he added.
He repeats the five main issues over the Act: the powers of the minister; duration of detention; the rights of and treatment given to the detainees; public perception that the enforcement of the Act was purely for political purposes; and detention without trial.
The Home Ministry might have six meetings with representatives of the various groups to discuss the proposed amendments. Hisham should have further discussions including with ex-ISA detainees. Some of us have been detained under ISA. But we pose no risk to the security of the country.
It is important that we have adequate laws to prevent terrorist harming the country. But, the ISA has often been abused. We should put a stop to it.
Dr Tan Seng Giaw