Sep 29, 2008

KL Pressed to Repeal ISA

PROTEST groups and individuals are stepping up pressure on the Malaysian government to repeal harsh internal security laws, echoing the widespread outcry that marked the recent arrests under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Last Saturday marked one of the largest protests that have taken place in recent months, as more than 2,000 Malaysians from all walks of life staged a peaceful march through the streets of Kuala Lumpur.

Organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), as well as rights groups Suaram and the Abolish ISA Movement, they called for the removal of the ISA, which allows for detention without trial. They also wanted the release of 65 detainees.

Hindraf coordinator R.S. Thanenthiran said the ISA - first drafted half a century ago to fight communism - was outdated. 'If somebody has committed a crime, then they must be tried in an open court,' he told The Straits Times.

Next up, the group intends to keep up the pressure by gathering 10,000 supporters at Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's traditional open house in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday - the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

They are also planning to attend his open house in his Penang constituency of Kepala Batas on the second day of Hari Raya. Earlier this month, the authorities detained three people under the ISA: a reporter and a lawmaker who were later released, as well as prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, who was sentenced to a two-year detention order in the notorious Kamunting detention centre.

Full Report HERE

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