SEVERAL Barisan and opposition MPs have voiced their uneasiness over what they felt were vague terms in the amendments to the Penal Code to curb terrorism.
For example, one amendment stated that a terrorist act could be a “prejudice to national security or public safety.”
“These words are too unclear. What do we mean by national security?” Chang See Ten (BN - Gelang Patah) asked, adding that the term might be open to different interpretations.
He cited an example that political activities by opposition parties could also be seen as detrimental to national security.
“As legislators, we must be careful that the laws we draft today will not be abused by those in power in future,” he said when debating the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill.
Chow Kon Yeow (DAP - Tanjong) said the vague definition of terrorism could lead to innocent people being victims.
Datuk Ruhanie Ahmad (BN - Parit Sulong) cautioned that Malaysia should not merely try to be “trendy” in its action to punish terrorists.
There must be no fear in being labelled anti-US, he said, adding that the superpower’s fight against terrorism could be just another mechanism to expand neo-colonialism.
Husam Musa (PAS – Kubang Kerian) said the amendment should not jeopardise basic human rights nor should it “be used by others to oppress our own people.”
In winding up, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said that the Government was not an instrument for foreign nations.
“Not even one statement by our leaders has ever reflected that we have bowed to them,” he said, adding that Malaysia had made its stand very clear with regards to terrorism activities.
Dr Rais said a judge would be able to evaluate when a case was brought to court.
“It will not be an executive decision but a judge’s decision. In any event, all cases are judged based on evidence and this law is not exempted from this requirement,” he said.