ISA stays, no amendmentsPosted: May 15, 2008
KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 ─ The government reiterated yesterday that the Internal Security Act (ISA) has to be retained, not for any political purpose but as a preventive measure to curb and handle activities threatening national security.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said that as such the government had decided to retain the ISA in toto without any change despite pressure from certain quarters including the Opposition.
Records show that the ISA had been used to contain threats posed by militant terrorism, falsification of Malaysian travel documents, smuggling by illegal immigrants, spying by foreign agents operating in Malaysia, and racial extremism.
Syed Hamid said detention under the ISA was not aimed at penalising but to rehabilitate the detainee.
He also said that the ISA was not a draconian law because it did not deny the detainee his or her fundamental rights.
Full article here.
After what has been said on the ground, the government still does not get the public sentiment. And this in conjunction with Bloggers For Human Rights Day too. So this piece is going to be dedicated to Human Rights in Malaysia. The way I see it to be.
I understand the need for a law to curb whatever threats we may have in the country that could bring to national security problems. And I know that that was the reason for having the ISA in the first place. ISA stands for Internal Security Act, so obviously, it is supposed to maintain national security.
That’s all well and fine until the act in itself is being abused by certain quarters. It’s when the powers-that-be abuse this act, and use it at their own leisure that makes the ISA so unjust.
How can Syed Hamid Albar say that the ISA does not deny its detainees their fundamental rights? At the very least, everyone would have their right to a fair and just trial. At the very least, the common law of “innocent till proven guilty” should apply to everyone, including those under ISA detention.
The ISA has been so blatantly abused by the government that it is no more a law that is there to protect the people. It is a law that allows the government to detain the people. It is a law that makes victims of the people. How is a law like that supposed to retain harmony and peace?
They have now not only decided to keep the ISA, but they’ve also said that there are to be no changes to the current act. Meaning that the detainees will continue to sit in the Kamunting Detention Camp indefinitely, and any other person they decide is “a threat to national security” will be put into the Detention Camp as well. And all of these people will never see the light of a fair trial.
If these detainees are really guilty of what they are being accused of, show us the proof. if you don’t have any, go find some. And when you do, go to court. Let the judiciary decide if they’re really a threat to national security.
You can’t say that the ISA gives the detainees their fundamental rights, if they don’t even have the right to be innocent. Even murderers get court time, and even then, they need to proven guilty.
Give them their rights back. Don’t just claim ISA, and end of story.
All of them deserve, at the very least, a chance to prove themselves. And by denying them a trial, it means nothing less than shutting them out.
IF the ISA is truly for national security, show it to us. Otherwise, we will continue to fight for the repeal of this draconian act. Because the ISA is not protecting the people, it is protecting the powers-that-be, at the expense of the people.
I’m not the only one to blog on the ISA in conjuction with Bloggers For Human Rights. At one short glance, I have already identified two: Susan Loone and another anonymous person, ahmadacoolduda. This shows that the ISA is indeed a serious issue when it comes to Human Rights in Malaysia. It’s about time the government learns to see eye-to-eye with its people.
UPDATE: This is what I found on Kak Ton’s blog:
KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 (Bernama) — Dismissing the notion that the Internal Security Act (ISA) is cruel, the inspector-general of police says it is still needed to safeguard national security.
Tan Sri Musa Hassan also rejected charges by some quarters that detainees held under the ISA were given no opportunity to defend themselves in court.
“ISA detainees can still obtain their defence by providing evidence in court.
“There is an advisory panel which re-evaluates cases of ISA detainees.
If the panel says the detainees do not threaten the country’s security, we will free them,” said Musa, adding that members of the panel were former judges.
Go here to read the whole post.
Obviously, the IGP has not been using his brain very much. Either that, or the entire system is screwed. How can they say that these people need to PROVE their innocence? Absolute madness.