Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2018, 13:56 GMT

Malaysia must scrap repressive new security law

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 12 April 2012
Cite as Amnesty International, Malaysia must scrap repressive new security law, 12 April 2012, available at: [accessed 16 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Malaysian authorities should withdraw a proposed new security law that continues to deny key human rights, Amnesty International has said.

If approved without key changes, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act which would replace the Internal Security Act (ISA), will allow police to detain suspects incommunicado for 48 hours, increasing the risk of torture.

The law also permits detention for up to 28 or 29 days without charge or access to the courts.

"This new Act merely replaces one oppressive regime with another," said Donna Guest, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Programme.

"It allows for violations of human rights such as freedom from arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, the right to privacy and to a fair trial."

The new Act allows the authorities to detain people and intercept communications without court approval and on the sole basis of "belief" or "consideration" that people may be involved in security-related offences.

Accused people are also denied full access to "sensitive information".

"Malaysia must withdraw this proposed law and repeal all emergency legislation," said Guest.

"Instead, the authorities should rely on existing provisions in the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code to tackle terrorism and other serious crimes.

A draconian act first introduced in 1960, the ISA was used to imprison critics of the government and opposition politicians as well as suspected militants.

In September 2011, Amnesty International welcomed Prime Minister Najib Razak's announcement of his intention to repeal the ISA and replace it with new security legislation.

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