Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In support of the abolishment of ISA Act.

My view on the current debate on ISA is quite straight forward. I support the idea of the Government abolishing the ISA Act altogether and start from scratch. But the abolishment is based on diffrerent set of circumstances compared to the opposition's arguments.

No one, including pro-ISA groups can deny that the mere mention of the word ISA is so contentious & has gained such negative connotation out there.

Thus, to me abolishing the Act altogether is not only the sensible thing to do but the best political decision by Barisan Nasional!

Why?

Well let's ask ourselves what is it that we want? To me, we should be interested in:

(1) the police retain some kind of power for preemptive / preventive detention for a specified time frame but the new Act must specifically define the types of people who can be detained preemptively, confining them strictly to terrorists and those who could potentialy harm the country's security physically. This is the most contentious issue. A lot of people think there is too much loophole in the present Act that gives unbridled powers to the Government to detain all kind of people including opposition. The initial detention should be reduced to 14 days.


(2) Subsequent power to decide on indefinite detention must be effectively checked & balanced. It cannot be concentrated solely in the hands of one person. Perhaps, the decision to detain indefinitely can be done by a committee of those eminent persons appointed by the Agong. After all, it is His Majesty's nation that we are trying to protect!

Having said that, changing the name "Akta ISA" to "Akta Keganasan" or "Akta Anti-Pengganas" or something else on those lines, the Government will not compromise on the above because it is the contents of the Act that matter, not how we name the Act.

Pro-ISA groups should not be putting too much premium on retaining the word ISA? Afterall it is just a word! Practicality and common sense should prevail over feeling of overzealousness!

Try to imagine and appreciate the unprecedented political mileage the government will get out of this.

Anyway, I am convinced that this is the only way to put to rest, once and for all, the highly controversial issue of ISA from dividing the nation further. At the end of the day, both sides of the debate can walk away with some kind concessions palatable to their stakeholders.


I will be the last person to say that we must do away with ISA-spirited laws. The nation still need them. We, as a nation, are too fanatical about certain sensitive issues. In normal situation, that is fine. But things can change fast for the worse, if those issues are seen from religious and racial prism.

Regards,

DARD

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.

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