No to ISA and EO!

By Writestreet

It has been 49 years since the Internal Security Act was enacted. People as young as 15 and have been detained under this law seen by many as a blatant violation of human rights. Some are detained for no concrete or rational reason at all.

Then there are those detained under the lesser known Emergency Ordinance (EO).

The two laws have so many similarities.

  • Both allow detention without trial and detention at the mercy of government officials.
  • The EO also allows for detention without trial that can be renewed indefinitely every two years, after the first 60 days of detention.
  • ISA has over 100 detainees, while EO has over 700.
  • EO was enacted in 1969 as a temporary measure to respond to the May 13 race riots. This was amended in 1989 (during the Mahathir administration) where courts were stripped of the right to review the merits of the EO detainees.
  • Detainees can be re-arrested for the same offence.
  • They are taken on “roadshows” – to different magistrates to get successive remand orders to continue detaining the suspect. The detainees are held in communicado.
  • For ISA detainees, the hometown is Kamunting, Perak, and for EO detainees it is Simpang Renggam, Johor.
  • It has become a convenient tool for those in power.

Former Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Noh Oma said in June 2004:

If there is insufficient evidence, but the police believe they are involved, then they will be detained under the Public [Emergency] Ordinance.”

Ivy Josiah, Commission Member of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police, Kuala Lumpur, said in July 7, 2005:

“The EO is a lazy way for the police to lock up criminal suspects. The police are not properly equipped and trained. It’s a combination of laziness, lack of supervision, and shoddy investigations.”