Govt not giving in to ISA hunger strike threat

MALAYSIA - The Government will not budge from its position to continue to detain 45 people under the Internal Security Act (ISA) despite plans by a group of them to go on a hunger strike.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said it was not for the detainees to dictate to the Government as their detention was based on the rule of law.

"Their decision to go on a hunger strike is theirs. At the end of the day, we go by the rule of law," he said after launching Y-Avenue at the Millions of Youths Gathering here.

A news portal reported yesterday that at least two detainees had threatened to go on a hunger strike if they were not released or charged in court within one week.

Lawyers for Liberty's Fadiah Nadwa Fitri, who represented the pair along with seven others, said the Government had until June 4 to agree to their demands.

Hishammuddin, however, said that even with the repeal of the ISA, any decision by the Government was subject to the "normal process".

"The new law (Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill 2012) has to be gazetted.

"The new law also says that those who have been charged (under) earlier (laws) are not affected (by the new law).

"We should look at the bigger picture, we should see what's happening around here in a positive manner rather than picking on individual cases, individual incidents, and issues that at the end of the day will only divide.

"I think the public are tired of that kind of approach and that kind of movement," he said.

Hishammuddin also said the Government would use the Millions of Youths Gathering as a launch pad for a "wave of volunteerism" among youths to counter what he described as numerous efforts to divide and sow hatred among Malaysians.

He said it would start with the soft launch of his ministry's Youth Squad by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today, culminating with a mass movement of various youth organisations from various ministries and Government agencies on June 18.

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