Pakatan: ISA replacement ‘old wine in new bottle’

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, The Malaysian Insider

Repealing the Internal Security Act (ISA) would be pointless if its replacement law will still include detention without trial, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have argued.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday the ISA substitute will continue to provide for such arbitrary detention.

He cited countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and Australia as examples of governments that exercised detention without trial in the fight against terrorism, naming the US’s Patriot Act as well as the UK and Australia’s Anti-Terrorism Acts.

“This is a shameful attempt at inserting ‘old wine into new bottle’,” Nurul Izzah Anwar told The Malaysian Insider.

“This announcement confirms many fears we have had regarding the prime minister’s political will in implementing his reform pledges to the Malaysian public on September 15, 2011, changes are merely rebranding exercises.”

The PKR vice-president charged that Barisan Nasional would only accord Malaysians limited civil, political and human rights, with disregard to the Federal Constitution.

Another PKR leader, Datuk Kamarul Baharin, said Hishammuddin’s announcement proved the government was not earnest in reforming the archaic laws.

“Like old wine in a new bottle. What’s the point then? Najib is not sincere in abolishing the laws.

“There should be no such thing as detention without trial. Every person should be accorded to a fair hearing, innocent until proven guilty,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

The Teluk Kemang MP said if PR were in power, they would make sure the replacement laws were actual reforms and not “half-baked” attempts at rebranding the current legislation.