In his first address to the nation as prime minister, Najib Abdul Razak said the government has freed 13 Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees and lifted the ban on two opposition publications.
“I would like to announce that the government has decided with immediate effect to remove the temporary ban on two news publications, release 13 detainees from ISA detention, and conduct a comprehensive review of the Internal Security Act,” he said in his first act after taking office today.
“These decisions are timely as we move to enhance the confidence of our citizens in those entrusted with maintaining peace, law and order,” he said.
In his eight-minute speech which was telecast live by RTM 1, the new premier also pledged to “provide strong leadership” to lift the country out of the economic crisis.
Immediately after Najib’s address, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar announced the names of the 13 ISA detainees to be freed.
They include two of the Hindraf 5 – V Ganabatirau and R Kenghadharan – both of whom have been incarcerated for 15 months.
The others released are eight members of the Darul Islam movement and three foreigners.
The Home Ministry, as of December last year, said it was holding 46 people under the ISA, the majority of whom belong to militant groups like the Jemaah Islamiah and the Darul Islam movement.
Ban lifted on Suara Keadilan, Harakah
Najib did not mention the names of the two publications which had the ban on them lifted, but it was clear he was referring to PKR’s Suara Keadilan and PAS’ Harakah.
The two party organs were slapped with a three-month suspension by the Home Ministry last week for breaching their permit regulations.
Najib was sworn in as the country’s sixth prime minister this morning and has vowed to initiate reforms.
In an immediate reaction, MIC president S Samy Vellu welcomed the released of the two Hindraf men.
“We thank the government and PM Najib for releasing two ISA detainees associated with the banned Hindraf movement. I hope that they will release the rest of them quickly as it will make the Indian community happy.”
Source : Malaysiakini