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Security bill introduced to Malaysian parliament

(Xinhua)

08:29, April 11, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 (Xinhua) -- A new law to replace the controversial Internal Security Act was introduced for the first reading at the Malaysian parliament on Tuesday as part of a civil liberty reform the government promised last year.

The Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill bars police from arresting individuals solely for their political ideology and mandates all security offenses to be tried at the court.

It allows detention without warrant for 24 hours for investigation purposes and an extension of no more than 28 days with permission from a court.

The new law however grants public prosecutor rights to enter any premises and wiretap.

It also allow public prosecutor to apply for the acquitted to remain in prison until all appeals are disposed of.

The bill would be the first of two new and more liberal legislation to replace the Internal Security Act, which was previously used to detain many terror suspects and dissidents for an extended period.

Responding to public outcry, prime minister Najib Razak announced last year major overhaul to a series of security policies that were deemed outdated including the Internal Security Act and lifted emergency ordinances imposed during riots in the past.

The reforms were seen as part of his campaign ahead of polls to win back voters lost to the opposition in the 2008 election when the governing coalition, the National Front suffered the worst blow in history by losing five states and a two-third parliamentary majority.

Home minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters at the parliament that the government would propose more amendments and replacement to the existing security laws.

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