Saturday, August 15

Two bills tabled as pre-emptive measure against terrorism

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia tabled two bills in Parliament as a pre-emptive move to shield the country from terror threats, knowing that 75 Malaysians have been lured so far to join the militant IS group in the Middle East.

These are the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2015 and the Special Measures against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Bill 2015.

The Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2015, an improvement over the abolished Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960, aims to prevent any terrorist from setting foot in the country.

The bill has specific provisions not to make arrests by virtue of ‘political belief or political activity’, thus negating any claim by the opposition that the bill is a reincarnation of the ISA.

It has to be noted that after the abolition of the ISA, the authorities had to face the threats from militants and radical groups by using punitive laws, that is after the acts have been committed.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi explained during the bill’s first reading in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that, among others, the bill provides for the police to arrest suspected terrorists without a warrant.

He also said that a Prevention of Terrorism Board would be established and that the board would have the power to issue an order for detention of up to two years or a restriction order whereby the individual shall be subject to police supervision over a five-year period.

The board can extend the detention for a two-year period and the restriction for a five-year period.

The Special Measures against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Bill 2015 provides for special measures to deal with suspected terrorists in foreign countries.

The two bills come in the wake of Parliament’s approval of a White Paper on combating the IS tabled on Nov 26 last year.

Other bills which were tabled on the same day included the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012; Prevention of Crime Act 1959 and the Prisons Act 1995.

In the fourth week of its sitting, the Dewan Rakyat also saw the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 (Amendment) Bill 2014 being tabled for second reading by Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya. — Bernama