KUALA LUMPUR: The Prime Minister was as good as his word. The 78-year-old Restricted Residence Act and the 52-year-old Banishment Bill are about to go.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tabled the Restricted Residence (Repeal) Bill and Banishment (Repeal) Bill for first reading at Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
The second reading for both Bills is expected to take place during the current Dewan meeting and with support from both sides obvious, the two laws are likely to be history when this meeting ends in 33 days.
Clause 2 in both Bills state that they will not have a retrospective effect.
The Restricted Residence (Repeal) Bill states that it shall not affect any order, action or proceedings taken prior to the date of its enforcement.
Any order that is still in force after the Bill comes into effect or any pending action will be discontinued.
The Banishment (Repeal) Bill states that its abolition shall not affect any warrant, order, direction or detention made under the Act before it comes into operation.
This means that those freed once the law is gazetted would have no redress to sue the Government for detaining them.
Earlier, Najib told Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi (BN-Kapit) during question time that the Government would take into consideration the individual rights and civil liberties as well as the safety of the public when enacting two new security laws to replace them.
“The civil servants firmly support the Government’s move to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) and we will consider providing a balance between individual rights and civil liberties, including the safeguarding of public order in the new Acts .”
Najib said the time frame for the new legislation would be announced later.
“I hope the Opposition will not take credit from the announcement. I have mentioned about it (reforms) since 2009. It was not done due to pressure from Pakatan Rakyat.
“The time frame will also be announced later as there are matters that need to be addressed,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai)
At the Parliament lobby later, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the abolition of both Acts was a genuine transformation and not mere rhetoric and politics.
“This proves the Prime Minister’s commitment towards transformation,” he said.
Asked how many people were affected by both laws, Hishammuddin said this would be made known when Najib tables the Bill for second reading tomorrow.
On the ISA, he denied the Opposition’s claims that the Government was not prepared to abolish it in March as announced earlier.
Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz said the abolition of ISA and the implementation of two new security laws must be done simultaneously to prevent a lacuna in the law.
“Both the new laws must come into effect the same day ISA is abolished.”
Source : The Star