Friday 16 September 2011

Reactions to Najib’s proposed changes

Civil society movements and politicians give their immediate reaction to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s pledge to have functional and inclusive democracy.

Balik Pulau MP Yusmadi Yusoff:

ISA is about detention. If the PM is really concerned and sincere, it should also include the release of ISA detainees. It is an issue of dignity and freedom of the person. Najib (Tun) Razak should announce the immediate release of ISA detainees. In his capacity as the PM, he can order the Home Ministry to do so.

There should be a gesture of sincerity. As a lawyer who have dealt with ISA detainees, I know the effects of the ISA on the person. It is very draconian. For me, the hope of the families is to please bring back the victims. That’s the best gift of Hari Malaysia. I hope the prime minister will do it by tomorrow.

I also feel that Najib is merely making a calculated move (to repeal the ISA) to serve BN’s own political interest. It has nothing to do with someone’s freedom. I applaud his move to abolish the ISA but the ball is now in his court.

Bersih 2.0 chairman S Ambiga:

The Bar Council and other NGOs have been fighting for this (repealing the ISA) for so long.

However, some reforms did not go far enough like the PPPA (Printing Presses and Publications Act) as licensing is still required for publications and this is contradictory to freedom of the press.

The statement that street protests will not be allowed also does not accord with freedom of assembly. I hope these can be discussed further. The next step is important and I think Suhakam should be consulted.

Abolish ISA Movement secretary E Nalini:

I am very happy to hear the news that the ISA has been repealed. It is a victory for the people who have been demanding for its repeal all these years. The ISA should have gone a long time ago.

However, I am concerned about the fate of those who are currently held in detention under the ISA. The government must release them if there is no evidence against them.
all these reforms (Najib has mentioned) must come with a proper time-line so that all the promises will materialise.

Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights representative, Edmund Bon:

While I welcome the repeal of the ISA, immediate action must be taken to ensure all the promises made are fulfilled.

It was a progressive move of the government to repeal the ISA… but it is also the result of the actions of the people and organisations that fought for the repeal of the draconian laws.

We must also remember the immense suffering of all those who have been detained under all these draconian laws. These detainees must be given compensations.

CIJ executive director Masjaliza Hamzah:

PM Najib’s decision to amend the PPPA clause so that (the printing) licence does not have to be renewed is a small concession. The Home Minister still has sole power to issue licences to whom, and decide the conditions for the licence.

The Home Minister’s decision still cannot be challenged in court. This small concession unfortunately is not going to transform Malaysia.

To transform the media landscape, the PM needs to repeal the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), the Official Secrets Act (OSA), sedition and criminal defamation (laws), as well as amend a host of other laws that restrict media freedom.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub:

I hope a motion will be presented (to abolish the ISA) in the coming parliamentary session. However, Najib should be given time to walk the talk. I welcome the raft of long awaited reforms announced by the PM.

DAP vice-chairman M Kulasegaran:

Najib should table a motion to repeal the ISA on the first day of the October parliamentary sitting to prove his sincerity on the matter.
The government should also look into revising other laws that can be used to stifle lawful dissent.

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar:

It is noteworthy that Najib had realised that lawful dissent does not equate with disloyalty to the nation.
I hope Malaysians will not suffer the wrath of another draconian legislation in any other guise in the future.

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