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by fathilullail
on 11/4/12
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Statement from the Office of Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Leader of Opposition | #DSAI #Malaysia

I welcome the new law, The Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill, tabled for first reading today to replace the long-standing and repressive ISA (Internal Security Act).

The Bill intends to remove the government’s right to detain persons without trial, and at the same time limiting any detention for investigations to 28 days.

We celebrate this move, to end a history of detaining people for their political beliefs. I have been, as many of my colleagues in PKR and Pakatan Rakyat, detained under the ISA. It must not be forgotten that Malaysia’s civil society, led by movements like GMI (Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA – Abolish ISA Movement) and SUARAM, have long opposed the ISA.

There is nothing just in the home minister ordering individuals being incarcerated for two years without trial, especially when those jailed are his political opponents.

The end of ISA has been long overdue. The damage it has done over the decades to thousands of Malaysians and their families will remain a scar. The world should not forget the lives ISA has ruined.

While we commend Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, we have reservations about the new Bill. We share the position of the Bar Council as stated in their Memorandum dated 19 July 2010 (Its view that there is adequate legislation to combat terrorism and, where necessary, the existing legislation could be strengthened alongside improved safeguards and oversight mechanisms. The Bar has restated their position today in lieu of the Bill tabling, and I too share their apprehension.

Further, before this Bill introduction,the opposition coalition has already pledged to abolish the ISA when its win in the impending general election.

And second, Najib and his administration have only now moved to abolish the ISA due to the insistent and persistent objections to it by the Pakatan Rakyat. Our ability to force the government’s hands was reinforced by Pakatan Rakyat gains in the general election in 2008.

This is not the end, this is only the beginning.

Najib has to repeal the remaining repressive laws, and there are various. I and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat ask Najib to continue from here and repeal or amend all oppressive laws, among others governing print & publications, students participation in politics, unions, assembly and overseas voting.

I repeat, Najib must seek to end all repressive laws, and with no reservations immediately.