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Encyclopedia > Internal Security Act (Malaysia)

The Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) is a preventive detention law in force in Malaysia. Any person may be detained by the police for up to 60 days without trial for an act which allegedly threatens the security of the country or any part thereof. After 60 days, one may be further detained for a period of two years each, to be approved by the Minister of Home Affairs, thus permitting indefinite detention without trial. In 1989, the powers of the Minister under the legislation was made immune to judicial review by virtue of amendments to the Act, only allowing the courts to examine and review technical matters pertaining to the ISA arrest. 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Since 1960 when the Act was enacted, thousands of people including trade unionists, student leaders, labour activists, political activists, religious groups, academicians, NGO activists have been arrested under the ISA. Many political activists in the past have been detained for more than a decade. 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ...


The ISA has been consistently used against people who criticise the government and defend human rights. Known as the "white terror", it has been the most feared and despised, yet convenient tool for the state to suppress opposition and open debate. The Act is an instrument maintained by the ruling government to control public life and civil society.

Contents


Legislation

Relevant sections of the legislation are as follows:


Section 73(1) Internal Security Act 1960: "Any police officer may without warrant arrest and detain pending enquiries any person in respect of whom he has reason to believe that there are grounds which would justify his detention under section 8; and that he has acted or is about to act or is likely to act in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof."


Sect 8. Power to order detention or restriction of persons. "(i) If the Minister is satisfied that the detention of any person is necessary with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to the maintenance of essential services therein or the economic life thereof, he may make an order (hereinafter referred to as a detention order) directing that that person be detained for any period not exceeding two years."


Detention

First 60 days

A person detained under the ISA during the first 60 days is held incommunicado, with no access to the outside world. Furthermore, lawyers and family members are not allowed access to the detainee during this initial period. If a two-year detention order is signed, the detainee is carted off to the Kamunting Detention Centre to serve his or her two-year term, during which family members are allowed to visit. Otherwise, the detainee may be released.


Torture

Torture is reportedly a major part of an ISA detainee's daily life. Former detainees have testified to being subjected to severe physical and psychological torture that include one or more of the following: physical assault, forced nudity, sleep deprivation, round-the-clock interrogation, death threats, threats of bodily harm to family members, including threats of rape and bodily harm to their children. Also, detainees are confined in individual and acutely small cells with no light and air, in what is believed to be secret holding cells. These interrogation techniques and acts of torture are designed to humiliate and frighten detainees into revealing their weaknesses and breaking down their defences.


Release

Although the government may release detainees unconditionally, in some cases, it has required those being released to make a public "confession" on television and radio. [1]


Criticism

Due to the alleged draconian nature of the ISA, several human rights organisations and opposition political parties have strongly criticised the act and called for its repeal. Foreign governments, notably that of the United States, have also pressured the government to repeal the act.


Domestic

Several opposition parties, including the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) have spoken out against the ISA. Many of them have leaders or prominent members who were held under the ISA, such as Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh and Lim Guan Eng of the DAP, and Anwar Ibrahim of the PKR. Democratic Action Party (DAP) logo The Democratic Action Party (DAP, Parti Tindakan Demokratik in Malay) is Malaysias largest secular and Socialist opposition party. ... This article is about the Peoples Justice Party of Malaysia. ... Lim Kit Siang Lim Kit Siang (b. ... Karpal Singh Ram Singh or simply Karpal Singh is a Malaysian politican and a lawyer by profession. ... Lim Guan Eng (Chinese : 林冠英) is the Secretary-General of DAP Malaysia. ... Anwar Ibrahim has been touring the lecture circuit around the world since his release in 2004. ...


However, several politicians from the Barisan Nasional coalition, including its largest component party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO or Umno), that has governed Malaysia since independence have also criticised the ISA. The fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, went on the record in 1988 to state "If we want to save Malaysia and Umno, Dr Mahathir (then Prime Minister) must be removed. He uses draconian laws such as the Internal Security Act to silence his critics." The year before, he had also stated "Laws such as the Internal Security Act have no place in modern Malaysia. It is a draconian and barbaric law." In 2003 when he became Prime Minister, however, Abdullah called the ISA "a necessary law," and argued "We have never misused the Internal Security Act. All those detained under the Internal Security Act are proven threats to society." Barisan Nasional (National Front or BN) is a political coalition in Malaysia. ... UMNO Flag The United Malays National Organisation, or UMNO, (Malay: Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu), is the largest political party in Malaysia and a founding member of the Barisan Nasional coalition, which has ruled the country uninterruptedly since its independence. ... The Prime Minister of Malaysia is the indirectly elected head of government of Malaysia. ... Dato Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi (born November 26, 1939) is the current prime minister of Malaysia, succeeding Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad. ... Mahathir bin Mohamad (born July 10, 1925) was the Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003. ...


Foreign

The United States government has criticised the Malaysian government for implementing the ISA several times, most recently in 2001, when President George W. Bush said "The Internal Security Act is a draconian law. No country should any longer have laws that allow for detention without trial." In 2004, however, Bush reversed his stance and claimed "We cannot simply classify Malaysia’s Internal Security Act as a draconian law." 2001: A Space Odyssey. ... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


See also

In the wake of World War II, a number of countries around the world introduced legislation that severely curtailed the rights of known or suspected communists. ... Operation Lalang (or in English, Weeding Operation; also referred to as Ops Lallang) was carried out on 27 October 1987 by the Malaysian police to crackdown on opposition leaders and social activists. ...

Notes and references

  1. Tan, Chee Koon & Vasil, Raj (ed., 1984). Without Fear or Favour, p. 27. Eastern Universities Press. ISBN 967-908-051-X.

Other references

  • Chow, Kum Hor (Nov. 6, 2005). "9/11 changed Hu's view of ISA". New Sunday Times, p. 8–9.
  • Kamaruddin, Raja Petra (Oct. 31, 2005). "A taste of one’s own medicine". Malaysia Today.
  • Kamaruddin, Raja Petra (Nov. 4, 2005). "The true meaning of political doublespeak". Malaysia Today.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Internal Security Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (368 words)
The regulations allowed the police to arrest anybody suspected of having acted or being likely to act in a way that would threaten security without evidence or warrant, hold them incommunicado for investigation and detaining them indefinitely without the detainee ever being charged with a crime or tried in a court of law.
However, a new Internal Security Act (ISA) was passed in its place with much of the same powers.
1998, Malaysia: Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim arrested for being a threat to national security by organizing massive demonstration after being fired from his position.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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