Friday 6 April 2012

Anti-ISA group to protest at Parliament on Monday

An Anti-Internal Security Act (ISA) NGO will be protesting against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at Parliament House on Monday morning, for failing to abolish the draconian law in March as promised.

NONEGerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (left) also demanded that the government hold public consultation on any new laws, including the two new laws that would replace ISA.

“There was supposed to be public consultation on these two new laws, but I don’t think any public consultation has been done, either with the lawyers of the Bar Council, or NGOs like ourselves.

“Therefore it is almost impossible now for these laws to be tabled (in Parliament), never mind abolishing ISA,” he said, pointing out that there are only two parliamentary sittings left for the current session.

Najib had announced that the ISA and the Emergency Ordinance (EO) would be abolished during his Malaysia Day eve speech on Sept 15 last year, and told the Parliament on Oct 3 that the motion would be tabled in March this year to allow time for replacement laws to be drafted.

However, no details have been forthcoming to date.

In his memorandum to the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) this morning, Syed Ibrahim also said any new laws should not contain any elements of detention without trial.

He also demanded that Kamunting Detention Camp, where ISA detainees are held, to be closed and gazetted as a national heritage site or museum, similar to Robben Island, South Africa where apartheid-era political prisoners were held, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela.

In addition, he asked the commission to pressure the authorities to establish a ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’, to “serve justice to every ISA detainee and those responsible”, and that the detainees and their families should be compensated for their suffering caused by the ISA.

Syed Ibrahim also demanded that the government respect human rights in its anti-terrorism efforts.

Ratify covenant, gov’t urged

Therefore, it should sign and ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishments.

NONESuhakam commissioner Detta Samen (left in photo), who received the memo, agreed to bring GMI’s demands to the relevant authorities and noted that the commission too has not been consulted on any replacement laws.

He reiterated the commission’s position that no person should be detained without “a fair and proper trial”.

“As long as we go along this path of having draconian laws, it may be difficult for us to attain the status of a developed nation.

“We may have tall buildings. We may have twin towers. But as long as our human rights record is not good, then it is very difficult for people to give us due respect,” Detta said.

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