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Sunday September 21, 2008

Internal Security Act to stay for now, says Syed Hamid

JOHOR BARU: The Internal Security Act will not be reviewed or repealed for now, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

He said such preventive laws were still needed for the people to live in peace and security.

However, he said a review could take place “when the time was right.”

The statement comes in spite of the chorus of calls from various parties, including many Cabinet ministers, who want the ISA to be reviewed, carefully used or abolished.

The Bar Council, at an extraordinary general meeting yesterday, unanimously passed a resolution which, among others, called for a repeal of the ISA.

Speaking to reporters after breaking fast at the state police headquarters here yesterday, Syed Hamid said: “We have no plans to do away with the ISA.”

Asked about the various ministers speaking out against the Act, he said they were entitled to their “own views.”

“We discussed the ISA at the last Cabinet meeting and the intent and what it is used for,” he said.

Yesterday, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim became the latest Cabinet member to call for a review of the ISA.

He said there were parts of the Act which did not meet humanitarian aspects and those could be the ones to undergo a “cautious review.”

“This is the principle we have been subscribing to all along,” Dr Rais told reporters in Kuala Klawang, Negri Sembilan.

In Malacca, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen called on the Government to review the appropriateness of the ISA in light of the current scenario and to ensure its proper use to safeguard national security.

Ng, speaking at the Malacca MCA convention, said the rakyat desired security for the country but at the same time wanted to ensure that their freedom was not curtailed.

Education Minister and Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hisham-muddin Tun Hussein, however, said that he was against repealing the ISA but would accept some fine-tuning.

“If some sensationalise and touch on sensitive issues and this worries people, then laws like this could save us,” he said.


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