Malaysia's terror bill: Necessities and Criticisms

Malaysia's terror bill: Necessities and Criticisms


Anti-terrorism legislation constitute various types of laws passed with the objective to defeat terrorism. The Malaysian government have passed a controversial anti-terror bill in the lower house, which followed by a long debate of more than 12 hours in the parliament. The prevention of terrorism bill 2015 (POTA) was first tabled in the house of Representatives last week before being present for a second reading in parliament on April 6' morning. The government has pushed for POTA as a means to crack down terror threat in Malaysia. But critics are of the view that the law is violating human rights. Under this legislation, suspects can be held without trial for up to two years with multiple extensions allowed after that. Will the implementation of this bill prove to be a useful device or a futile measures for innocents to be put on trial?


1. Terrorism causes destruction to a great extent. Terrorist attacks on one's own native land signifies that the law enforcement and national security agencies require more additional tools and greater coordination to protect the residents at their homeland.

2. The government is likely to propose a new criminal code offence that would criminalize terrorism promotion programmes. This new proposal would provide the additional tool to security agencies scrutinizing terror activities.

3. Free speech and encouraging propaganda will be separately restricted. The New anti-terror legislation would provide the courts with the authority to order the takedown of terrorist propaganda.

4. This legislation would also enable the information sharing related to national security, across federal departments and agencies, to ensure that authorities can better identify with those linked with terrorist or having such intentions.

5. The new legislation would also help in disrupting the terrorism plots and preventing planned attacks. It will also be providing a support for police simultaneously. It would make it easier for police to detain suspected culprit before they can do any harm.

6. The anti-terror bill will be helpful in need to tackle threat from Islamic extremists. A former member of Jemaah Islamiyah militant group from Indonesia who was skilled in handling weapons was also detained.


1. The bill reintroduces indefinite detention without any charge which could be extended. It is alleged that anti-terrorism legislation endangers democracy by creating a state of exception that allows authoritarian style of government. It's violating that provisions that make detention orders under the act immune from judicial scrutiny.

2. By permitting police indefinite arrest and detention of individuals without trial, suspected of terrorist activities, the new law concluded with extension of detention made by prevention of terrorism boards. The Southeast Asian nation has arrested more than sixty citizens suspected of link with Islamic state militant group.

3. The law skips, the judiciary, disallowing the courts from having jurisdiction over decision made by the boards. In this way the judiciary and the courts are loosing their worth. Each and every cases should be brought before the court and the court will announce its judgement, rather than restricting it to the boards only.

4. The law was open to abuse and is a grievous blow to democracy. The legislation is based on very broad definition of terrorism- a definition so sweeping that the state could apply it to act of dissent and civil disobedience or political strikes.

5. The new legislation tramples basic human rights. Individuals without any charge are arrested on the ground of suspicion and detained. The implementation of law violates human rights. Human Rights Watch called the move ''a giant step backward for human rights''.


The anti-terrorism act is implemented with the view of achieving its four basic objectives, which are, to prevent terrorist form getting into the state and protect the state from terrorist act, to activate tools to identify and punish terrorists, to keep the border secure and contributor to economic security, and to work with international community to bring terrorists to justice and address the root causes of violence. The above set up goals are protective in nature. Thus, they are useful and applicable. It reflected the commitment to the safety of all citizens and country's ability to meet the international obligation. The culprit must be punished whereas suspected should be kept under observation rather than detention.
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  • RE: Malaysia's terror bill: Necessities and Criticisms -Deepa Kaushik (04/09/15)
  • We can understand the Malaysian Government’s urge to introduce such a bill and save the nation from any hovering terror attack, still they should have analysed the pros and cons of any such legislation being implemented. The definition of democracy would be at threat with any such legislation which would be somehow against the human rights.

    The necessity of the bill could be well understood under the prevailing terrorism in the world. We can have a better security of the nation and its citizens with any such law by detaining any suspicious person. The detention of the suspicious person would also help in breaking the pre-planned terrorism slots against the country.

    On the contrary, the indefinite detention and that too which can be extended without any charge would lead to the violation of the human rights. This could have a broad probability of detaining any innocent person. This law could interfere with the freedom and rights of any individual. The detention without charge would be an open threat for every citizen during their expression of freedom of speech or views etc.

    If the same law could be amended so as to detain only those who are charged for the crime could be more acceptable. Or, the law can also lay guidelines for not to hurt the person detained without filing a chargesheet. The detained individual should not be abused physically, mentally or emotionally during their detained period which filing the chargesheet. This could at least help the people from any sort of trauma under detention. Still, the law so framed is not very much acceptable and speaks against the virtues of democracy.