KUALA LUMPUR, (July 1) — The repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1948 has had an impact on the Malaysian security forces’ efforts in combating militant activities in the country.
Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told the Dewan Negara today that without ISA, it was difficult for the security forces to take appropriate action against individuals suspected of being involved in militant activities.
Under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 or SOSMA, which replaced the ISA, individuals detained under the Act can only be remanded for 28 days and have to be charged in court after this period.
“And only after they have been convicted by the court, can the individuals involved be jailed. But in the movement (militancy), it is not easy to provide proof that is acceptable to the court,” Wan Junaidi said in reply to a question from Senator Noriah Mahat.
Noriah wanted to know the reason for the existence of militant groups in this country and the holistic approach taken by the government with the cooperation of other countries in stemming the militancy threat.
Wan Junaidi noted that 12 Malaysians were detained for their involvement in militant activities and had been charged in court.
“Eight were, however, released due to the lack of evidence. Only four cases are still on trial. So, this is among the effects of the abolishment of the much-feared ISA but unfortunately, our country is under threat without the ISA,” he said.
Wan Junaidi said among the other factors were the desire of some individuals to help their friends fight against what was purportedly for the sake of Islam, the wish to die as martyrs and seeing the involvement in such militant activities as the easiest and fastest way to go to heaven.
To the original question from Noriah, he said the authorities had arrested 108 individuals of different nationalities since 2010 until now for their involvement in militant activities.
He said various measures had been taken through the police in curbing such activities, including investigating the activities of groups that aroused suspicion and monitoring of individuals who had been involved in militant groups before.
The deputy minister said the ministry also conducted a series of rehabilitation programmes for the detainees and their family members, besides establishing close cooperation and exchange of intelligence information with foreign security agencies, especially in the Asean countries.
To a supplementary question from Senator Datuk Dr Firdaus Abdullah on whether the ISA should be brought back, he said as the Act had already been abolished, the government should move forward by taking various initiatives to stem militant activities.
“We have to live with the current situation and the existing law. What is left for us to do is to improve our intelligence personnel and raise further their capabilities, besides enhancing cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies,” he said. — BERNAMA