The Rule of Law must prevail and the Federal Constitution must be honoured, respected and upheld
Joe Fernandez | April 6, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has urged Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to immediately table the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota), and six other proposed legislation on fighting terrorism, before a Bipartisan Parliamentary Select Committee on Terrorism.
She recalled that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition had in the past abused the repealed Internal Security Act (ISA), meant to fight communism terrorism, by targeting legitimate opposition.
“The Government needs to justify that it sincerely believes in fighting terrorism,” said Nurul who is also a PKR vice-president. “It has to prove that it’s not bent on creating more mechanisms to persecute the opposition, under the guise of fighting terrorism.”
“The bulldozing through of Pota will be a cause for rejection of the Act by Malaysians.”
She warned that the Rule of Law must prevail and the Federal Constitution must be honoured, respected and upheld as pledged by all MPs when being sworn in.
Already, she pointed out, the BN Government in Putrajaya was abusing the Sedition Act against the opposition alliance. Almost all Members of Parliament that have been detained under the Sedition Act were from the opposition alliance, she stressed, underlining that the prosecution was not just selective but bordering on persecution.
The Najib government, she noted, has a track record of reintroducing repressive measures under re-branded laws, such as restrictions on the freedom of assembly under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (parts of which were subsequently declared unconstitutional).
“Najib’s insincere commitment to repeal the Sedition Act (which he has since retracted) has been undermined by its repeated subsequent use against democratic dissent and defenders of civil liberties up to the present day,” she said.
Also, long periods of detention without trial of suspected terrorists, she said, points to intelligence failure by the authorities. “If an individual needs to be detained in such a manner while investigations proceed (or not), it implies that prior intelligence gathering efforts have been inadequate.”