[TheNutGraph.com] The BN's ISA dilemma
~ By Shanon Shah
HOME Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein announced in August 2009 that amendments to the Internal Security Act (ISA) would be tabled during the following October Parliament sitting. This was just after the massive anti-ISA protest in Kuala Lumpur. That amendment, however, never materialised.
Hishammuddin then said in December 2009 that the ISA amendments would be tabled during the current March-April 2010 Parliament sitting. But on 19 March, Hishammuddin again postponed the parliamentary amendment.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) government's overtures to review the ISA began as soon as Datuk Seri Najib Razak assumed the premiership in April 2009. Immediately upon being sworn in, Najib released 13 ISA detainees, including two Hindraf political prisoners arrested in December 2007 and several Jemaah Islamiyah members. Najib promised that he would not wield the ISA, which allows for indefinite detention without trial, arbitrarily. A month later, his administration released another batch of ISA detainees, including the remaining Hindraf prisoners of conscience.
According to former detainee, academic and activist Dr Kua Kia Soong, this is not the first time the BN has suggested reviewing the ISA. But if it does table the amendments in Parliament, it will be the closest the BN has ever come to living up to its promise.
Realistically, though, what specific amendments can Malaysians expect the BN to make? What amendments do BN Members of Parliament (MPs) themselves want? And will these amendments make the Act less susceptible to abuse?
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