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Monday, 11 November, 2002, 11:22 GMT
Malaysia may tighten security laws
A pro-Taliban protester makes his voice heard last autumn
Malaysia has arrested dozens of suspected militants
Malaysia is considering plans to tighten its security laws after a judge ordered the release of an Islamic militant suspect, even though he was immediately re-arrested.

A minister in the prime minister's department Rais Yatim, told the New Sunday Times newspaper the government was thinking of tightening the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows indefinite detention without trial.


The war on terrorism must not be waged in utter and reckless disregard for the rule of law

Democratic Action Party chairman Lim Kit Siang
Proposals to make it harder for courts to release those detained under the act would be submitted to cabinet by the end of the month, the minister was quoted as saying.

His comments came after police re-arrested an alleged member of Jemaah Islamiah, the Islamic extremist group that some governments have blamed for last month's bomb in Bali.

A high court judge on Friday ordered the government to release 45-year-old Nasharuddin Nasir, who was arrested in April, on the grounds that there was no evidence against him.

Angry opposition

Mr Nasharuddin was released briefly on Saturday, but then locked up again. He is to be held for at least two years at a prison camp 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur.

Mr Rais said the judge's decision could set a "dangerous trend".

"We have to be quick to redress this inadequacy, we cannot allow a laissez-faire attitude in security matters," he said.

Human rights activists have expressed anger at the new detention order on Mr Nasharuddin.

"His re-arrest shows up the lawlessness of the state and reveals how it terrorises citizens even after they have been cleared by the court," rights group Aliran said in a statement.

A Malaysian opposition leader, who has himself been held under the security law, said the government was flouting the law.

"The war on terrorism must not be waged in utter and reckless disregard for the rule of law," said Democratic Action Party chairman Lim Kit Siang.

But Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he was satisfied that there were "good reasons" for the re-arrest.

"I think the people of Malaysia understand why this action has to be taken," he told reporters.

More than 70 suspected militants have been arrested under the ISA in the last 18 months.

See also:

08 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
21 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
18 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
16 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
24 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
04 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
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