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'M'sia govt will not revive ISA'

Publication Date : 13-01-2014

 

The Malaysian government has said it will not revive the abolished Internal Security Act (ISA) despite calls to do so in order to counter extremist acts.

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government instead will look to amend or draw up new laws to counter such security threats.

"What were said by several leaders including the Inspector General of Police can be considered but it is not easy to revive the ISA," Zahid was quoted as saying in a report by the Bernama national news agency on Saturday.

He added that Prime Minister Najib Razak had taken all views into account when making the decision.

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Khalid Ismail, country's federal police chief were among those calling for the ISA to be revived, after it was abolished in 2012 out of public pressure for greater civil freedoms.

In its place, stronger crime prevention and anti-terrorism laws have been introduced. But these laws are no less controversial for allowing detention without trial, human rights groups and lawyers have said.

Calls to revive the ISA, notorious for allowing detention without trial, has come about after a Selangor Islamic authority raid on a Christian bible group to seize hundreds of Malay and native language bibles on January 2 sparked widespread outrage among civil society and non-Muslim groups.

Mahathir had suggested reviving the ISA to control extremist groups issuing statements that touched on the sensitivities of other religions or hurt the feelings of others.

"For extremists like this group, we need the ISA," he had said on a government television talk show on January 9.

Khalid had backed up Mahathir's suggestion by saying the ISA enabled the police provide better public security.

 

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