Malaysia has unveiled its long-awaited anti-terror laws at Parliament, as it struggles to contain Islamic militancy that has seen 61 of its citizens travelling to the Middle East last year to join terror groups.
Here are some of the new, tougher measures it is proposing:
Special Measures Against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Act
- Authorities can revoke Malaysian travel documents, or seize foreign travel papers, of any citizen or foreigner travelling to or from Malaysia "to engage in the commission or support of terrorist acts". Anyone who refuses to comply can be jailed for up to two years.- A person may apply to the Director General of Immigration for the cancellation of revocation of Malaysian travel papers but there is no recourse for holders of foreign documents.
- The Act shall have effect both within and outside Malaysia, although it remains unclear how authorities would implement it overseas.
Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA)
- A five-to-eight member Prevention of Terrorism Board will have the power to order two-year detention or five-year restriction orders that can be renewed indefinitely. But "no person shall be arrested and detained... solely for his political belief or political activity". The head of the board will be someone with legal experience of at least 15 years.
- Any person put under a restriction order must wear an electronic monitoring device to ensure that he or she remains in permitted areas or does not enter prohibited areas.
- A Registrar containing the fingerprints and photographs of persons detained or under restriction will be created. Those who are found to be in constant contact with each other while under restriction will be imprisoned for five to 15 years. A person on the Registrar will also be liable to double the jail term, or whipping, if convicted for any offence.
Amendments to Penal Code
- Anyone who receives training or instruction related to terrorism, travels to or from Malaysia to commit terrorism in a foreign country, and builds "conveyance for use in terrorist acts" is liable to up to 30 years in prison. While the laws do not define conveyance, the term is presumed to include vehicles and drones that could be used for terrorism-related purposes.
- Anyone who possesses items associated with terrorism can receive a seven-year jail term.
- Anyone who is found at a terror training venue could be jailed for 10 years.
If passed, when will the law be in force?
If passed, the new laws will be in force by the end of the year.