IHRC representatives met with Syed Ibrahim, chairman of the Abolish ISA Movement in Malaysia. The good news was that the detention without trial has been reduced from 60 days to 28 days. After 28 days the authorities have to either charge or release the individual.
However, the police can appeal against the decision to release and the individual has to stay in custody until the appeal is resolved. Like the UK, Malaysia uses electronic tags to ensure that individuals abide by the strict conditions imposed on them. The police can deny legal access for the first 48 hours of custody, but the suspect still has the right to remain silent. The law is very similar to control orders, in some cases, the Minister of Home Affairs decides when the suspect can be released. It is almost as if they modelled it on the British model.
There is not much of a campaign against the law, currently, there is no briefing on the law and the IHRC representatives were not sure what campaigning has been done. Massoud Shadjareh suggested a short briefing on the law, especially in the run-up to the elections. Using the briefing as a tool to educate people about the law as well as a lobbying aid. Politicians want to get elected and it will be much more difficult after the politicians are elected for them to sign up to the anti-ISA statement. Massoud Shadjareh also said that the issue should be bought up in the context.
Photo left to right: Javad Sharbaf, Imam Muhammad al-Asi, Syed Ibrahim Alhabshi, Massoud Shadjareh, Arzu Merali, Norlaila Othman