Amending or abolishing laws must be done carefully: Mahathir

03 Dec 2019 / 14:17 H.

THE Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pix) said that as promised in the Pakatan Harapan election manifesto, the government has identified several laws which need to 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 has not ignored the promise made. It has taken 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 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 that Sosma 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 people and, as a responsible government, it has to take this into account without neglecting the country’s security needs.

Replying to a supplementary question from Santhara on the government’s 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 of RM200 or 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

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