PUTRAJAYA, 19 Aug 2009: The government hopes to amend several acts, including the controversial Internal Security Act (ISA), described as outdated, at the next Parliament sitting in October, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said here today.
Among other acts to be amended include the Police Act, the Multimedia and Communications Act, the Restrictive Residence Ordinance and Public Security Act.
The minister said this after a high-powered meeting attended by two other ministers, Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, and a host of representatives from other relevant government agencies, at the Home Ministry here.
The other two ministers were Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.
Hishammuddin (Courtesy of theSun) Hishammuddin said the coordination committee on the ISA and media control among the three ministries would meet again next week to finetune their proposals.
“Then we would meet all the relevant people to explain the amendments. Hopefully, at the next Parliament sitting in October, we would table all the amendments to all the acts for first reading.
“If this is on schedule, then we would debate the amendments at the Parliament sitting after the next, which would be at the end of the year,” he said.
The committee, apart from wanting to reduce the 60-day detention period under the ISA, also wants acts amended to allow for public assembly at selected locations, without prior police permit.
“We also discussed how to increase cooperation between the authorities like the Multimedia Commission and the police to curb lies and allegations spread over the internet,” Hishammuddin added.
“While we respect the freedom of speech and expression, we must also safeguard the interest of the majority at large … we need to come up with a new way for this.”
He said the ISA would be amended in a way to safeguard the nation, taking into account national security and the threat of terrorism.
“We are also thinking of reducing the 60-day detention period. The public should know that this act had been overly politicised although it is relevant for national security,” he added.
Asked if the ISA would be renamed, Hishammuddin said the committee had yet to decide on that.
He also reiterated that the government would not filter or censor the internet, but ensure only credible information was spread through the new media. — Bernama