KUALA LUMPUR, 8 April 2009: Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said there is no need for a public hearing before carrying out a review of the Internal Security Act (ISA).
He said that he personally believed that there had already been enough debates and discussions on the matter and materials collected on the ISA so far.
“So it is up to the (Home) Ministry to collect all these data and try to look into the areas (in the ISA) that need to be reviewed,” he told Bernama in an interview at his residence in Bukit Damansara, here today.
In conducting a review of the ISA, Syed Hamid believed that the government could also look into having consultations and discussions with parties such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to get their views on act.
“But I do not think there is a need for a public hearing,” he said.
He said there was already the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia’s (Suhakam) Report of the Public Inquiry into the Conditions of Detention under the ISA 1960, suggesting that that the report could be used as a basis when undertaking a review of the ISA.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in his maiden speech to the nation had announced that the government would be conducting a comprehensive review of the Internal Security Act.
Syed Hamid said some of the recommendations in the Suhakam report had already been implemented by the government.
He said in the context of the ISA, the public was interested in a “check and balance” in the power of the police and the executive.
“So we have to go back to the public…generally they (the public) are objecting to the implementation (aspect) rather than the law (itself),” he said.
He said what the public wanted was that when an arrest was made under the ISA, the authorities must show that the person arrested was a threat to public security.
“Also I think there is a need to define…how and in what circumstances you consider someone to be a threat to national security.
“However, I don’t think the answer is to abolish (the ISA),” he said. — Bernama