Malaysia: Draconian Laws to Continue


Certain draconian laws will still be enforced in Malaysia, but only on issues of national security, public order, and race relations says Gobind Singh Deo (pic).

The Communications and Multimedia Minister clarified that the moratorium (suspension) that is being lifted on several laws, namely the Prevention of Crime Act (Amendment) 2017 (Poca), Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota), Sedition Act 1948 and Security Offences Special Measures Act (Sosma) is limited to incidents that threaten national security, public order, and race relations.

“We are still in the process of amending these laws and we will announce it once we have a new framework,” he said. Gobind said that the Cabinet has considered all arguments, and that the decision to uplift the suspension was made “in respect of national security, public order, and race relations”.

Earlier in March this year, the then-opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition included in their manifesto to abolish the Sedition Act and Poca laws. It also promised that “draconian provisions (parts)” of laws such as Pota and Sosma would be abolished.

Social reform group Aliran has objected to Sosma, Poca and Pota as such laws allow detention without trial, much like the dreaded ISA (Internal Security Act) which was repealed and replaced with Sosma.

“Detention without trial laws can be used against a person for any alleged reason, which may also be ‘fake’ or false. The victim cannot even challenge the alleged reasons used to justify the arrest, detention or restrictions through a judicial review,” said Aliran in an article in September.

On Sunday (Dec 2), Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the moratorium (suspension) was being lifted to handle the recent riots that took place at a Hindu temple on Nov 26 and 27, due to disagreements over relocation of the temple.

There were damages to vehicles and property, and several people were injured as a result of the riot. Among those injured was fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, 24, who was beaten by rioters while responding to a fire at the site.

Earlier, on Nov 13, Muhyiddin said the government is still studying preventive security laws (that allow for detention without trial), and “hopes” to be able to amend or repeal them. Referring to Sosma, Poca and Pota. he said “special technical committees” had been set up to look into all the proposals and feedback gathered from various stakeholders.

Source: Star  
Photo: Star

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Seth Imran

A cigarette in one hand; a cup of coffee in another.