Friday, March 19, 2010

ISA: Changes have to be done together with related laws - Home Minister Hishammuddin

The Cabinet decided yesterday that amendments to the Internal Security Act (ISA) could not be on a stand alone basis.

Instead, changese to the controversial law must be done together with other preventive laws linked to public order and safety, said Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (below).

NONEHe said the Cabinet in principle agreed to have the ISA amended on the issue, among others, of detention period, rights and treatment of ISA detainees, the powers of the Home Minister, detention without trial and on the issue that it was being abused for political interests.

"In the interest of the people, the Home Ministry and Attorney-General's Chambers will review all these matters and the Malaysian Bar has also agreed to cooperate in the review," he said reported by Bernama.

Hishammuddin said that also present at the Cabinet deliberations on proposed amendments to the ISA prepared by the Home Ministry were the ministry's secretary-general Mahmood Adam and Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail.

Hishammuddin said the preventive laws related were the Prevention of Crime Act 1959, Section 27 of the Police Act 1960 (relating to staging of assemblies without a permit), Banishment Act 1959 (Revised 1972), Restricted Residence Act 1933, Dangerous Drugs Act (Special Preventive Measures) 1985 and Emergency Ordinance (Public Order and Crime Preventyion) 1969.

"These acts actually have been under scrutiny by the Home Ministry and the AG's Cambers and whether they will be amended or abolished are being deliberated," he said.

The final deliberations would be discussed with the Malaysian Bar, the ministeradded.

He further said that whether the necessary amendments could be tabled in the current Parliament session.

Whatever the case may be, the ministry would be transparent in the matter and keep the stakeholders regularly updated, he said.

No justification to abolish the ISA

At a function in Kuala Lumpur later yesterday, Hishammudin said that at a consensus gathering on amendments to the ISA, not a single person - including members of the opposition - could provide justification why the ISA should be abolished.

"Even the United States has its Patriot Act and recently Thailand has also used such an act (ISA).

"But in areas of contention, like the detention period, it can be reduced. That is why instead of abolishing the law we plan to make amendments," he said at a dinner dialogue with members of non-governmental organisations and young professionals that was organised by Puteri Umno.

Also present were Umno Information chief Ahmad Maslan and Puteri Umno head Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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