Revision of harsh laws among Ministry's agenda — Muhyiddin

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PUTRAJAYA (May 6): Definitive steps to amend or repeal Malaysia’s security laws that are considered harsh, such as SOSMA, POCA and POTA, are among the accomplishments of the Home Affairs Ministry (KDN) in Pakatan Harapan’s first year as the Government.

The laws introduced by the previous Government were suppressive and arbitrary and deny the accused the right to a fair trial, according to PH in its election manifesto or ‘Buku Harapan’ (Book of Hope).

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin revealed that amendments to the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) and Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 are at the finalisation stage for Cabinet approval.

"Both Bills will likely be tabled in Parliament at the next session.

“POCA and POTA are being refined, as what I can disclose at this point,” he said at a media interview on the accomplishments of his Ministry in PH’s first year of administration, at Kompleks KDN recently.

There are six laws which the PH Government feels need to be either amended or repealed; these are the Sedition Act 1948, Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA), Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA), Printing Machine and Publishing Act (AMCP) 1984, Peaceful Assembly Act and SOSMA.

Another move towards resolution by the Ministry is the issue of undocumented foreigners.

Muhyiddin said a joint committee between KDN and the Ministry of Human Resources has been set up to study the actual requirement of foreign workers in the country and the introduction of a holistic foreign workers management system.

“We are still in the process of tackling the problem and we will find alternatives such as seeking the cooperation of state governments and other grassroots sources such as the penghulu as they are the ones who know what is happening in their area,” he said.

He said 11,234 undocumented foreigners were detained between January and March this year for various offences.

To reinforce security and peace, the Ministry initiated high-impact programmes such as ‘safe city’ using advanced technology and upgrading of infrastructure such as the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras with the cooperation of the local authorities, he said.

He said KDN was also committed to improving the image of the Royal Malaysia Police as a respected and dignified institution sworn to protect the peace and security of the people and country as stated in the 20th  pledge of the PH manifesto of the 14th general election.

Muhyiddin also said that PH had also untangled the labyrinth of power abuse and misappropriation that was a scourge in the country under the last administration.  

He acknowledged the people’s laments about the government being lethargic in reconstructing the ‘New Malaysia’ but pointed out that within one year PH helmed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was able to resolve many issues that had saddled the country.

He cited the problems within FELDA, Tabung Haji and a number of agencies that PH had or was in the process of settling but which admittedly had disrupted it from duly fulfilling many other pledges it made to the people in the manifesto.

As to working under Dr Mahathir in comparison to the present and previously, he said there was no difference except that this time around, the PH administration is working hard to remove the stigma of kleptocracy that crept in under the previous government.

Muhyiddin also admitted that his Ministry has been rather lame in informing the people of all its efforts and achievements but that the situation is being improved to ensure that every piece of information is channelled expeditiously, particularly via social media.