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Malaysia: SUHAKAM calls for review of ISA replacement law

The newly-proposed security law to replace the Internal Security Act must be reviewed to ensure it is in line with human rights principles, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia said.

The newly-proposed security law to replace the Internal Security Act must be reviewed to ensure it is in line with human rights principles, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia said.

Malaysia: SUHAKAM calls for review of ISA replacement law

Suhakam Chairman, Tan Sri Hasmy Agam

The newly-proposed security law to replace the Internal Security Act (ISA) must be reviewed to ensure it is in line with human rights principles, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said.

Suhakam said that the Bill did not provide for judicial oversight in the extension of the detention period for up to 28 days and expressed concerns over the power it gave police to deny detainees immediate access to legal representation.

It added that the power to intercept communications under Clause 4(6) should be exercised through a court order rather than by the police, as it could “infringe personal liberty and the right to privacy”.

“The provisions in the Bill as well as the amendments to the other relevant laws must strike a balance between national security and fundamental liberties and human rights,” Suhakam Chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said in a statement.

“The Commission looks forward to further and continuing engagements with the government agencies… to ensure that obsolete and irrelevant laws are abolished and replaced by laws that are consistent with universally accepted human rights principles,” he added.

Hasmy noted that certain provisions in the Bill were consistent with Suhakam’s recommendations from its 2003 report, including that suspects either be released or charged with specified security offences after having been detained for up to 28 days.

He also said that Suhakam will continue to monitor the implementation of the new law to ensure that it complies with international human rights principles and norms.

The ISA replacement law, tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on 10 April, removes the government’s option to detain individuals without trial and provides a maximum detention of 28 days for investigation purposes.

Under the ISA, an individual believed to have committed a security offence can be detained for up to two years without trial, on orders from the Home Minister.

Date: 16 April 2012

Source: The Malaysian Insider

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