GMI seeks Pakatan help to abolish 'draconian' laws

The Abolish ISA movement (GMI) today urged Pakatan Rakyat MPs to be more insistent in Parliament to support the abolition of the trio of acts it deems draconian, the Internal Security Act (ISA), Emergency Ordinance (EO) and Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA).

The group, represented by its chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (left) and senior committee members, today handed over to Pakatan parliamentarians a five-point memorandum soliciting their support in a press conference at the parliament lobby earlier this afternoon.

He said he hoped they would remained steadfast in the mission to abolish the ISA, EO and DDA.

"These acts which have abused, repressed and tortured the rakyat must not be retained and glorified, instead, they should be abolished immediately," he added.

In the document, the group proposed several recommendations with which they hope the Pakatan parliamentarians will be able to assist them. The proposals are:

1) To urge the Malaysian government to abolish the ISA, EO and DDA.

2) To utilise proper laws as provided for in the Penal Code for indictments in cases such as counterfeiting, falsification of passports and terrorist offences, for which currently the ISA and similar laws are being used to arrest those accused.

3) To close down detention centres like Kamunting and Simpang Renggam which are used to house those detained without trial.

4) Free or indict all detainees held without trial in an open and independent court.

5) To urge the federal government to pay compensation to detainees whose freedom had been taken away from them without trial in an open court.

The memorandum was received on behalf of the Pakatan parliamentarians by Johari Abdul (Sungai Petani), while other Pakatan MPs Sivarasa Rasiah (Subang), Salahuddin Ayub (Kubang Kerian) and Er Teck Hwa (Bakri) looked on.

'Abolish, not amend'

Syed Ibrahim stressed that despite the government's recently-announced willingness to amend the acts, the group still thinks that the best solution is to abolish and not amend those acts.

This he said, is in line with recommendations from Suhakam and international human rights bodies like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

"Our view is that the ISA is beyond repair and needs to be abolished," said Sivarasa (left), concurring with the GMI chairperson.

This, he added, is because they do not have much faith in any attempts to amend the ISA, because the government is not being transparent on the matter and is not considering feedback from stakeholders.

"We know that the BN government will amend the act, but the way it is being done is not according to proper and accepted procedures.

"The act will be suddenly given to the House for discussion (without proper time to study it ) and it will be passed by the BN's majority. This makes a mockery of the parliamentary process.

"Why don't they give copies of the amendments to MPs and all interested parties for them to discuss in an open forum?," he asked.

However, the Pakatan representatives indicate that they are not averse to enacting laws to tackle dangers to national security like terrorism.

"We are prepared to discuss about preventive laws for national security, but first the ISA must be abolished," said Johari.

Malaysiakini · 23.06.2010

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