PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Home Ministry will review seven laws relating to national security that are no longer suitable in today’s landscape, said Muhyiddin Yassin at his first press conference as the new Home Minister on Tuesday (May 22).
The laws are: Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, Sedition Act 1948, Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA), Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA), and mandatory death sentence.
Muhyiddin said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), non-governmental organisations and social activists would be asked to give their views on these laws.
"These laws will be reviewed and, if necessary, replaced. It will need a bit of time, but not up to five years until the next general election," he told reporters when asked how long the review would take to be completed.
Muhyiddin was speaking at a press conference after attending a briefing given by heads of departments and agencies under the ministry.
Muhyiddin said the review of the laws was one of the issues related to security that was offered in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto for the recent 14th General Election (GE14), which would be addressed by his ministry.
He said another matter was to improve the image of the Royal Malaysia Police to be more respected and admired, including the establishment of an independent police complaints commission.
As promised in the manifesto, "the issue of corruption and abuse of power … will also be dealt with," he said. "This issue is so hated by the people, so when the PH won and formed the government, this is a trust that we are obliged to see through."
Muhyiddin also added that the population in the interior of Sabah and Sarawak would also be protected by reducing bureaucracy in the birth registration process.
On the existing law that imposed a RM1,000 penalty for late registration of birth, Muhyiddin said: "If it becomes a complaint and considered as a burden, we will then examine, evaluate and make an appropriate decision."
Muhyiddin said the government would continue to safeguard the sovereignty and security of Sabah and Sarawak, address the issue of illegal immigrants, look for new methods to reduce the use of foreign workers, fight crimes related to gangsterism, social problems and drug abuse, and protect the country’s borders from intrusion and smuggling.
STATELESS INDIAN MALAYSIANS
He said the Indian community's issue regarding the status of citizenship would be prioritised through the establishment of a committee to be chaired by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin himself as deputy chairman.
“The establishment of this committee has been discussed by the PH presidential council to look into citizenship problems, red identification cards and so on which will be used as terms of reference,” he said.
Muhyiddin, who is also Bersatu president, said the new government elected by the people in GE14 was committed to making Malaysia the safest country in the world.
Hence, he recommended that the ministry look into the best security management aspects that have been achieved in several countries such as Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong that would be suitable for use in the country.
“There must be the use of technology and human resources practices by those countries. If it is appropriate to apply them here to reduce the crime rate, we can carry out a study,” he said.
Muhyiddin also recommended that the Malaysian Volunteers Department and community leaders such as of the Village Security and Development Committees strengthen the security of the people.
He said the task of ensuring the safety of the people need a new approach and should not be shouldered by security personnel only.
"What we want is not only people’s perception that the national security is at good level, but it is also translated (in terms of data) as improving as well," he said.
On his first meeting with heads of departments and agencies under the home ministry, Muhyiddin has conveyed the aspirations of the people who among others want a more efficient service delivery by the government.