PETALING JAYA, 26 June 2009: Gerakan has reiterated its position that detention without trial is unjust and has called for the Internal Security Act (ISA) to be replaced.
“It (the ISA) is an outdated law. It is unfair to the detainees to be detained without trial,” Gerakan deputy president Datuk Chang Ko Youn said in a phone interview today.
In its place, he said, Gerakan is suggesting an Anti Terrorism Act instead.
Chang, who is also Gerakan’s human rights and law bureau chairperson, said the Anti-Terrorism Act would deal specifically with terrorist threats.
“The ISA has been conveniently applied to people who were not involved in security matters,” he noted.
Yesterday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein announced in Parliament that the ministry would table amendments to the ISA, which allows for indefinite detention without trial, in the next parliamentary sitting.
Among others, Hishammuddin said the government was looking at limiting the ISA’s initial detention period from 60 to 28 days. It would also consider restricting the number of extension orders the Home Minister could issue.
Chang said pending an Anti-Terrorism Act, the ISA should be overhauled extensively to include a detainee’s right to judicial review, apart from shortening the initial length of detention to 28 days.
Judicial review was not among the proposed amendments Hishammuddin announced.
Chang said ISA detainees should be allowed to apply for judicial review with regard to their detention.
He added that “full and frank disclosure of all facts relating to the arrest and detention” should be made available to the court so that judges could make an informed decision.
Chang Ko YounAdditionally, Chang said the detainees should either be charged in court or released upon the expiry of their 28-day detention period.
“We are convinced that preventive detention is no longer needed and the way forward is to have pre-charge detention,” said Chang.
He said Gerakan would submit a memorandum for a total review of the ISA to the Home Ministry, and seek a meeting with Hishammuddin soon.
Gerakan has previously already called for the ISA’s repeal during its national delegates conference in October 2008. On 23 April 2009, Penang Gerakan also reiterated its stand against the ISA during a forum organised by Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA.
Reviewing the ISA was one of the moves promised by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in his inaugural speech on 3 April.