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Najib’s caring government

By Thursday April 9th, 2009 No Comments

DATUK Seri Najib Razak elaborating on his announcement, on his first day as prime minister, that 13 Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees would be released from the Kamunting detention centre. (Source: Najib: Release of 13 shows we care, New Straits Times, 5 April 2009)

In his 3 April inaugural address, Najib said the decisions were “timely, as we move to enhance the confidence of our citizens in those entrusted with maintaining peace, law and order, while recognising the need to remain vigilant of the very real security threats we continue to face as a young nation.”

The ISA allows for indefinite detention without trial by the government, and has been used against political opponents in the years since it was enacted in 1960.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, who said the proposed “comprehensive review” of the ISA was to find the best approach to handling the question of national security to maintain public order. (Source: ISA Review To Find Best Approach – Syed Hamid, Bernama, 4 April 2009)

While some quarters are calling on the new premier to abolish the ISA altogether, Najib has said nothing about repealing the ISA.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, when asked what he thought about the release of the 13 ISA detainees. (Source: Najib: Release of ISA detainees done in interest of people, The Star, 5 April 2009)

Mahathir entered office in 1981. Under his administration, 106 individuals were detained under the ISA under Operasi Lalang in 1987.

Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, who called Najib’s actions a “sweetening goodwill” gesture designed to accrue votes for the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the three by-elections of Bukit Selambau, Bukit Gantang and Batang Ai. (Source: GMI: ISA release a by-elections tactic, Malaysiakini, 4 April 2009)

Syed Ibrahim maintained that the releases were merely “political collateral” when 40 people remain detained under the ISA. He called for the release of all detainees. Syed Ibrahim also described Najib’s pledge to review the draconian law as mere rhetoric, pointing out that the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) had proposed back in 2003 that the ISA be abolished.

Source : The Nut Graph

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