Malaysia to repeal tough security law

2011-09-15 21:15

kalahari.com

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia will repeal a controversial 51-year-old law allowing detention without trial and ease other legislation blamed for curbing civil liberties, Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Thursday.

Bowing to a key opposition demand as speculation over snap polls mounts, Najib said the abolition of the tough Internal Security Act (Isa) and other changes were aimed at finding a balance between security and democratic rights.

"I am happy to announce on this historic night that the Isa will be completely repealed," Najib said in a nationally televised speech.

"The changes are aimed at having a modern, mature and functioning democracy which will continue to preserve public order, ensure greater civil liberty and maintain racial harmony."

Najib took office in 2009 promising changes to Isa. But Thursday's announcement came as a surprise as government officials had recently indicated the act was only set for a comprehensive revision.

Two new laws

Najib added that two new laws would be drafted to ensure multi-racial, Muslim-majority Malaysia can "deal with subversive elements, terrorists and criminal acts".

He said any new legislation would ensure detentions can only be carried out by court order and that future periods of detention without trial would be shorter than in the past.

However, he said actions against suspected terrorists would still come under the powers of the home minister.

The Isa allows an individual to be held virtually indefinitely for acts considered a threat to national security or to prevent such acts.

Thousands of people have been detained under the Isa over the past five decades, typically those suspected of Islamic militancy and government critics.

Najib, who had been expected to make some sort of bold move with elections due by 2013 and his public support sagging amid a resurgence by the political opposition, said he would also review other laws "that are no longer relevant".

New act regarding the press

This will include repealing the Publications and Printing Presses Act and replacing it with new legislation.

The current act leaves the press vulnerable to licence revocation, and has resulted in a print and broadcast media landscape lacking real opposition voices, although several plucky online news portals have stepped into the void.

The government will also review an act which requires police permission to stage public gatherings, which has been blamed for stifling freedom of assembly.

Najib's government was widely criticised for forcefully quashing a July rally by the opposition and civil society groups for electoral reform.

The ruling coalition now headed by Najib has governed Malaysia since its 1957 independence from Britain.

Read more on:    malaysia
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Goodwood - 12:40 PM
    Road name: N7 Vanguard Drive Southbound
    DELAYS approaching Voortrekker Road
  • Wednesday Montague Gardens - 12:35 PM
    Road name: Montague Drive
    ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - EXPECT DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300

Keep it together Text. Email. Social. With all the different ways to...

From R2499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is always easier to look out and see what needs changing. Looking in is a lot harder... Today you may need to look at what...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.