Gerakan leaders attend forum on ISA

(NST) GEORGE TOWN: Several state Gerakan leaders made a surprise appearance at the Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) Consultation forum "Internal Security Act: What Next?" here yesterday.

The four present were state Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan, secretary Ong Thean Lye, assistant secretary Goh Kheng Sneah and party Youth committee member Dr Thor Teong Gee.

The forum was aimed at gathering public opinion on the abolition of ISA.

Dr Teng reiterated Gerakan's strong stand against ISA, especially detention without trial, saying that it could be misused, citing the cases of blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin and Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng.

Dr Teng said Gerakan also believed that the country needed a new act to cope with the rising events of terrorism.

"We strongly believe there should be an anti-terrorism act to deal with terrorists.

"In the transitional period before the new act is enacted, ISA must be reviewed to allow judicial intervention and the review of all cases."

Dr Teng added that Gerakan was in the process of submitting a memorandum to the Federal Government through its human rights bureau.

At the forum, GMI president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said that both Selangor and Perak state governments had tabled and approved motions to abolish the ISA, but Penang and Kedah had yet to make a decision.

He added that as of this month, there were 27 ISA detainees still at the Kamunting detention centre, but noted a reduction since 2007, when there were 70 detainees there.

Syed Ibrahim also said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's move to release 13 ISA detainees was a populist one.