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Friday September 23, 2011

PM: New laws will be explained for full understanding of efforts

KUALA LUMPUR: The two new laws to replace the Internal Security Act will be presented to the public in detail for their full understanding of the Government's political transformation efforts, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

He said he had promised to review the ISA when he took office two years ago, so last week's announcement of the Act being repealed was a fulfilment of that promise.

“It is not to meet the Opposition's demands,” he said at the Hari Raya open house hosted by Umno Youth and the Wanita and Puteri movements.

In his Malaysia Day message on Sept 15, Najib had announced the abolition of the ISA which was drawn up about five decades ago.

The Act will be replaced by two new laws to deal with terror and subversive activities.

He explained that the changes, which also touched on several other laws, were part of an initiative towards the country's political transformation.

Najib, who is also Umno president, called on the rakyat to not be afraid of the changes spearheaded by Umno and Barisan Nasional.

“Let us not be afraid of changes as the catalysts for it are Umno and Barisan.

“Umno and its alliances, be it during the years of Perikatan and now under Barisan, have always practised forward-thinking and that is one of our keys to success.

“Let us continue to embrace these practices so we can continue to be strong for the people,” he said.

Due to such forward thinking, he said there was no bloodshed in the country's move towards independence and it had tackled the communist threat by winning the hearts and minds of the people.

Najib lauded the fallen victims of the Bukit Kepong tragedy, saying they were heroes who had contributed to the country.

“If there are those who deny their contributions, let Umno be the one which upholds their integrity and looks after their welfare,” he said.

Later, he presented plaques and letters of appreciation to family members of 16 policemen who were killed in the Bukit Kepong tragedy.

Meanwhile, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said the new Acts to replace the ISA and other legislation should include legal safeguards to protect the rights of detainees.

The new laws, he said, should be clear on the detention period, suspects' access to counsel and opportunities for judicial review.

He said the Government, in drawing up the laws, should also ensure a suspect's detention period would be shorter than the 60 days under the ISA.

“The suspect must be allowed access to a lawyer and be entitled to judicial review or legal recourse.

“If all of these are in place, I believe the public can openly accept the new laws,” he said at the open house.

He said even if the new Acts allowed for detention without trial, it should be “preventive detention”.

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