KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 (Bernama) — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM ), Friday urged the government to consult relevant stakeholders, including the police and security forces, on the proposed counter-terrorism legislation and amendments to existing laws in combating terrorism.
Its chairman, Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, said that given the urgency of the matter and the short timeframe, SUHAKAM reiterated its position that any new measure should be accompanied by appropriate safeguards to protect human rights.
“The commission supports the passage of a proposed anti-terror bill, subject to recommendations which may address concerns about the bill’s impact on human rights,” he said in a statement.
Hasmy was commenting on the approval by the Dewan Rakyat of a White Paper tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Wednesday on combating the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) militant group, now engaged in terror activities in Iraq and Syria.
Najib, when tabling the motion, said the government proposed to enact a new law to eradicate the involvement of Malaysians in militancy and terrorism. The bill is to be tabled at the next sitting of the Dewan Rakyat, in 2015.
Hasmy said: “While we acknowledge the pressing need in ensuring that our national security agencies have the necessary powers to protect national security, any limitations to human rights must be kept to a minimum, unambiguous, legitimate and proportionate.
“The commission would like to state that an anti-terror law should only be used for its purpose as it would be discredited if the powers were used incorrectly or abused by the authorities.
“In addition, anti-terrorism provisions must be clearly defined in Malaysian laws, and drafted in adherence to international human rights standards to be effective,” he said in the statement.
SUHAKAM was of the view that amendments to existing laws should aim to prevent radicalisation, strengthen the existing terrorism prevention and investigation measures, and provide control in order to disrupt all forms of terrorist activities, he said.
“The commission also notes that such laws and amendments must be correct in substance, particularly as the Malaysian authorities have identified 39 Malaysian militants in Syria to date,” he added.