Malaysia: detentions without charges

The ICJ has urged the government of Malaysia to bring to trial or release the 91 persons now detained under the Internal Security Act.

Under the Act persons can be detained without charge or trial for indefinite renewable 60 day periods.

The arrests which began on 28 October are said by the government to be necessary to prevent racial violence.

The ICJ supports the position taken by Mr. Param Cumaraswamy, Chairman of the Malaysian Bar Council, that this use of the Internal Security Act should be opposed even though some of the arrested had “been voicing extremist views”.

The ICJ is particularly concerned to learn that a number of the detainees are representatives of social, consumer, environmental and other organisations working with the poor and disadvantaged who have made no racialist statements. This indicates that the Internal Security Act is being used improperly to silence critics under the guise of its preventing racial conflict.

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