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Monday, September 19, 2011

Would the ISA be reborn under two new laws?

Sulaiman Kamal | 12:35 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Opposition leaders feels that the the Internal Security Act's repeal would only result in two new laws with no change in sight.
PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Rakyat welcomed repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA), but  was  wary of the two new laws that will take the Act’s place.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said he supported the repeal of the ISA, but wanted to know what the two new security laws would entail.
“We welcome whatever announcement that … (goes for) the repeal of the ISA. We welcome (Prime Minister) Najib Tun Razak’s step in doing so.”

“But we need to be cautious, because the cancellation (of that law)… Najib will introduce two news laws, and we don’t know what they are,” Anwar said in a press conference at PKR’s headquarters here.
On Thursday, Najib announced in a televised speech that the ISA, along with three Emergency proclamations, would be abolished.
He said that the Act would be replaced by two anti-terrorism laws to suit today’s security climate, in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
However, the premier did not elaborate on the exact nature of these laws, leaving many to speculate on their respective powers.
A two-time ISA detainee himself, Anwar said that there was a possibility that the ISA could be reborn under the two new laws.
“The principle of the ISA is a writ of habeus corpus… the right for an accused to appear in court, is denied. If there is a new law that suggests the same principles, the name may be different, but the meaning is still the ISA,” he said.
Anwar said that the ISA was initially drafted by the federal government during the 60s to combat the communist terrorist threat.
However, the PKR supremo said that its original function has been misused to target the government’s political opponents.
Detained in 1974 and later on in 1998, Anwar claimed that he was not looking for compensation over his arrests in the past. “I went through that, (I have) no regrets,” he said.
In an unrelated matter, the Opposition Leader said that Pakatan Rakyat was looking into the allegation that Bangladeshi nationals were being made citizens, and subsequently given voting rights.
“We are looking for further confirmation, because that statement was a valid statement made on the Bangladeshi government website,” he said.
A statement posted on the NGO Affairs Bureau of the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office website said that PM Sheikh Hasina met with her Malaysian counterpart last year.
They allegedly discussed various issues, including the legalisation of foreign Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia.
The website also added that some of these workers, after given citizeship, were given voters’ rights.
“This is strange, because there are many in Malaysia who find it difficult to register (as voters), need a special campaign, and all sorts of administration problems that make it difficult for people to register.”
“But Bangladeshis can be given the ability (to vote),” he said, adding that he was looking to “friends” confirm if the allegations were indeed true.
On the other hand, Anwar accepted the possibility that the Bangladeshi website may have been hacked, but reasoned that if it had, an accompanying statement would have been released by now.

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