Written by Anak Bangsa Malaysia, CPI Asia

INTERNAL SECURITY ACT, 1960 (Act 82) is an Act to provide for the internal security of Malaysia, preventive detention, the prevention of subversion, the suppression of organised violence against persons and property in specified areas of Malaysia, and for matters incidental thereto. [West Malaysia – 1st August. 1960; East Malaysia – 16th September 1963.]

“WHEREAS action has been taken and further action is threatened by a substantial body of persons both inside and outside Malaysia –

(1) To cause, and to cause a substantial number of citizens to fear, organized violence against persons and property; and

(2) To procure the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of the lawful Government of Malaysia by law established;

AND WHEREAS the action taken and threatened is prejudicial to the security of Malaysia;

AND WHEREAS Parliament considers it necessary to stop or prevent that action;”


  •  The Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) is a preventive detention law in force in Malaysia.
  • Any person may be detained by the police for up to 60 days without trial for an act which allegedly prejudices the security of the country.
  • After 60 days, one may be further detained for a period of two years each, to be approved by the Minister of Home Affairs, thus making indefinite detention without trial.
  • In 1989, the powers of the Minister under the legislation were made immune to judicial review by virtue of amendments to the Act. Now, only the courts are ‘allowed’ to examine and review technical matters pertaining to the ISA arrest.