For immediate release

8 April 2015


Deep concerns over repressive laws

The recent passing of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA 2015) and the proposed amendments to the Sedition Act 1948 are a cause of great concern.  Under the new POTA Act 2015, persons charged by the Prevention of Terrorism Board may be subject to two years of detention without trial or a five year restriction order, including the requirement to wear an electronic monitoring device, which may be renewed indefinitely.  The amendments to the Sedition Act 1948 on the other hand will provide for a minimum sentence of 3 years.

IDEAS’ Chief Executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan responded to these worrying developments saying, “The government has regressed.  These are steps taking Malaysia backward, to the era of the recently abolished Internal Security Act (ISA).  When the ISA was introduced the government at that time too promised that it will not be used for political purposes.  But history tells us that many parties have accused the government of abusing the powers conferred by the ISA.  Malaysia does not have sufficiently strong institutional guarantees to prevent abuse of powers by the executives or the police.  How can anyone trust the promises made by this so-called transformational government? “.

Wan Saiful added, “The main issue is the government is not trusted by many segments of our society.  This is understandable given the failure of the Prime Minister to conduct a meaningful political transformation in the country, and the conduct of the police force lately.  Abolishing the ISA was praiseworthy but the POTA 2015 essentially brings back elements of the ISA.  Our ministers promised us one thing and unashamedly do another.”

Wan Saiful Wan Jan

Chief Executive



IDEAS is Malaysia’s first think-tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges. We are an independent not-for-profit organisation. As a cross-partisan think tank, we work across the political spectrum. Our purpose is to advance market-based principles, and we are not bound by party politics, race or religion. Our mission is to improve the level of understanding and acceptance of public policies based on the principles of rule of law, limited government, free markets and free individuals. For more information, please visit


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