Mahathir emphasises striking a balance in updating legislation
0 month ago, 03-Dec-2019
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad answering a question during the Dewan Rakyat sitting. – Bernama file photo
KUALA LUMPUR: The government is updating selected pieces of legislation with the aim of striking a balance between safeguarding the rights, interests and security of the country and basic human rights and the principles of justice the people desire, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
The prime minister said that as such, the government exercises utmost caution in amending or abolishing such laws.
Thishas to be done only after a thorough and careful study so that the country can be governed well and prosperity is enjoyed by all, he said during the Ministers Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat.
Dr Mahathir was replying to a question fromDatuk Seri Dr R. Santhara Kumar (PH-Segamat) who wanted to know the status of the amendment/abolition of certain acts regarded asdraconianas per the promiseofthe Pakatan Harapan in its election manifesto.
The Prime Minister said that as promised in the Pakatan Harapan election manifesto,the government has identified several laws which needto be reviewed, amended or abolished.
These are the Sedition Act 1948,Prevention of Crime Act 1959,Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984,Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, and National Security Council Act 2016.
This clearly shows that the government hasnot ignored the promisemade. Ithastaken action to scrutinise the provisions of these laws before deciding on whether to amend or abolish them, he said.
He added that as a government which fully supports the rule of law, amending or abolishing an act must be carefully carried out after considering the original principal of the act when it was formulated and passed to safeguard the rights, interests and security of the people.
For instance, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, which is better known as SOSMA, was drawn up and passed with the aim of addressing subversive elements and actions which jeopardise public order.
The Home Ministry, especially the Royal Malaysia Police, feels thatSOSMA is still needed to maintain public order, ensure security and curb criminal activities in the country, he said.
However,Dr Mahathir said, there is still room for it to be abused for vested interests, thus causing anxiety among the peopleand, as a responsible government, it has to take this intoaccount without neglecting the countrys security needs.
Replying to a supplementary question fromSanthara on the governments stand on people who were duped into donating to an organisation which sponsored terrorist groups, the Prime Minister said it was up to the police to determine this.
Sometimes, the authorities do not have strong evidence, for instance, when someone finds himself having taken photographs with another person who is later identified as a terrorist, when he does not know the person, or he gives a donation ofRM200or RM300 (without knowing that it is connected to terrorist groups).
It is up to the police to differentiate between baseless accusations and those which clearly threatens national security. In fact, the government has reviewed the laws where we need to separate minor crimes and those which threaten national security, he said. – Bernama