Defence Minister: Not fair to run down anti-terrorism Bill now in Malaysia

Defence Minister: Not fair to run down anti-terrorism Bill now in Malaysia
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein

KUALA LUMPUR - Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has hit out at civil liberty lawyers who claim that the proposed legislation to prevent terrorism would be ineffective.

He said the law was not unique to Malaysia and that it was "premature" to criticise the proposed Bill even before it was tabled.

"Some people just want to demonise something that has not been debated in public," he said at the launch of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2015 (Lima '15) website here yesterday.

"It is not fair to those who are going to table it in Parliament," Hishammuddin said. "It doesn't say much about their credibility as well."

Hishammuddin said European countries, including France, were also looking to strengthen their anti-terrorism laws.

"The idea to come up with a specific law to counter terrorism was mooted at the time we tabled the White Paper on the Islamic State (IS) recently.

"That (strengthening of the laws) alone is not enough; we need to win hearts and minds and look at new ways in which people are influenced by militancy through the Internet and social media," he added.

Hishammuddin said Malaysia was not exempted from the threat of IS.

"What happened in Paris shows that no one is immune or safe from them," he said. "We need to look at ways to face this."

It was reported that a group of civil liberty lawyers had labelled the proposed anti-terrorism law as ineffective as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) was already in place.

In November, The Star reported that Malaysia would come up with a range of counter-terrorism measures to address threats posed at the global and local fronts.

This was later stated in the White Paper on tackling the IS threat (Ke Arah Menangani Ancaman Kumpulan Islamic State), tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in November.

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