Updated: Mon, 30 Sep 2013 06:35:44 GMT | By Agence France-Presse

Malaysia PM defends tough measures as protesters rail

Malaysia's prime minister has defended a proposal to bring back detention without trial, as protesters on Monday accused him of breaking a vow to do away with draconian laws.


Around 30 activists, rights lawyers, and members of the public staged a protest march to parliament in Kuala Lumpur over the government's bid to amend a 1959 crime-prevention act.

The change would allow police to hold suspects for years without charge, critics say.

Prime Minister Najib Razak's government has justified the move by saying police need a stronger hand to deal with a wave of violent crime that has erupted in recent months.

Speaking during an overseas trip, Najib said the amendment was aimed at fighting organised crime and would not be abused to squelch political challenges.

"We will make sure that no one will be victimised," the national news agency Bernama quoted Najib saying.

Activists and the opposition, however, accuse Najib of reneging on an earlier promise to move away from decades of authoritarian rule.

"We were absolutely taken for a ride," election-reform activist Ambiga Sreenevasan said of Najib's earlier pledges.

"I don't buy this talk about crime, because we have enough legislation to fight it."

Under public pressure for reform, Najib in 2011 abolished the tough Internal Security Act and the Emergency Ordinance (EO).

Both had allowed detention without trial, and critics say they were abused by the 56-year-old ruling coalition to silence dissent.

"I have no confidence they won't abuse it, because this is what they've done before," Ambiga told reporters of the proposed amendments.

Malaysians have been shocked by a recent surge in gun violence.

Police and security officials blame the violence on criminals they say were freed when the EO was scrapped, and have pushed for reinstatement of preventive-detention powers.

Police-reform advocates, however, have said existing legislation is adequate and that the recent events have exposed glaring shortcomings in the police force's ability to protect the public.

18Comments
Sep 30, 2013 3:24AM
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Treat Malaysians like a fool and animal. This is the only country in the world where the government can just impose any kind of law and every citizens must abide to it with trying to cast a vote to know if the citizens agree to it or not. Nobody has ever wanted to investigate about the money been lavished during the GE13, the RM 500 given to all BN supporters and other under ground money been stolen too, rather the petrol price was increased and we all have to accept and pay for it and now a very stupid and unreasonable law has been introduced and we all have to accept it. MALAYSIA is one of the most corrupt nation. Put all the corrupt governments to JAIL and see if our country won't be a better place. We aim to be in the 1st world by 2020 but still acting like a fool. Sick country.
Sep 30, 2013 2:50AM
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you think we should show out displeasure by going to the street. he tell the world one thing and do the reverse at the backyard - hypocrite right?
Sep 30, 2013 2:59AM
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how do you think dog m was up there for 22 years?

 

get more registered voter in sabah and tranformer the bumi there to peninsula, right?

more seats won in sabah so to have more seat won for BN.

 

who was apdal then and now being one of the vp in Umno, thanks to dog m.

 

promise to the nation to abolished ISA and only to restore to rename it -

whats the difference between a dog and a bitch and a pig and a swine???

Sep 30, 2013 6:28AM
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Geng " Arm Nor" has done it again.... Its leaders are involved in masterminding murder, corruption and abuse of power. Introducing suppressive law will not help prevent crime which are committed by them but only to assist them in gaining more political mileage and con****ver their opposition. By the way, their geng members are all above the law and they are the "untouchables" as they have geng members in the police force, military and even judiciary system.  
Sep 30, 2013 4:20AM
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So, this was Najib's plan all along... hmm very very devious. Very insidious indeed.
Sep 30, 2013 3:40PM
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Hi , to all Malaysians, it's time to organize a massive People's Power on the coming visit of Great Democrat President Obama to Malaysia, to show how our Greatest Actor (PM ) on Earth, flip-flop on his words, thoughts & actions to its people & International Communities. Heard comments from some of the Over sea Parliamentarians that it's time to rise & stand up to the Evil's forces at work. Enough Is Enough. Wake up all Malaysians. It's Now Or Never ! 
Sep 30, 2013 5:47PM
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To my dearest PM, please stand as a man of integrity and turn away from the whims and fancies of past PM DR.M....when Dr M first started his premiership, his promise "leadership by example" was well received and promised a brighter future...but then his example of ISA and bumi.....ship seems to have left an example to you too.
Will you be the first to steer Malaysia to a more democratic rule? Will you be the first to establish fair and honest elections?....or will we Malaysians be seeing the return of MAhathirealism through his fast upcoming son Mukriz....We are not blind and we are not stupid....we are the 3rd generation of Freed Malaysians and we have better exposure to the truth.
Before we allow this to happen, we will want to see fresh new blood to rule the country even now we see a promising future in Khairy.
ENOUGH OF FAMILY PRIME MINISTERS......time to move on!!!!!!
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