KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's new anti-terrorism act that will be tabled in parliament this month will include provisions that allow for detention without trial and the implementation of the Electronic Monitoring Device (EMD), it was reported.
The Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) will have features similar to the Prevention of Crime (Amendment and Extension) Act 2013 (Poca), which allows suspected criminals to be detained without trial for up to two years, a source told the Malaysian Insider.
"The power to decide whether or not the person will be detained or put under restrictive residence will be decided by an advisory board. The information, intelligence report and other evidence will be presented to the board before it makes its decision," the news portal quoted the source as saying.
The source added that no one else has the power to decide whether a suspect can be detained, "not even the police or the home minister".
Under Pota, any evidence needs to go through the Deputy Public Prosecutor who will act as the Inquiry Officer, the source was quoted as saying.
The EMD is an additional feature to monitor the movement of the person detained under Pota, the source said without elaborating.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar confirmed that an advisory board would be formed.
"Since the preventive measure exists, definitely we will have an advisory board, because we want to remove such powers (to detain suspects) from the executive."
When asked how the anti-terror act would differ from the existing Poca, Wan Junaidi was quoted as saying that "Poca is on the prevention of crime, but terrorism is more subversive."
The news portal reported that lawyers felt the new anti-terrorism act was unnecessary given the wide array of security-related legislation already in place.
"We already have laws that allow the government to stop people from leaving the country to join terror groups. They are just not using them," said Andrew Khoo, who heads the Bar Council Human Rights Committee.
Malaysia has arrested at least 36 citizens suspected of militancy since April last year. At least 30 are believed to be in Syria and Iraq, fighting for extremist groups.
A White Paper on terrorism tabled last year by Prime Minister Najib Razak said the government must "act immediately to contain" the influence of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State (IS).
The 19-page policy document said efforts required to tackle the ISIS threat have become more challenging and current laws need to be strengthened.