[JURIST] The Malaysian government on Monday proposed two laws that would reintroduce indefinite detention without trial and allow the seizure of passports of anyone suspected of supporting acts of terror. While the government hopes to curb Islamic militant activities, critics say the laws could restrict civil liberties [News24 report]. The Prevention of Terrorism Act bill, which provides for the indefinite detention of suspects without trial, includes a provision that no person shall be arrested and detained solely for a political belief or political activity. The Special Measures Against Terrorism bill would allow authorities to suspend or revoke travel documents for citizens or foreigners believed to be engaged in or supporting terrorist acts. Both bills will be debated by Parliament next month and are expected to be approved. Critics have compared the bills to the Internal Security Act abolished [JURIST report] in 2012.
Last year after arresting some 100 Malaysians suspected of supporting the Islamic State (IS) [JURIST backgrounder] militant group, the Malaysian government stated [JURIST report] they needed new measures to curb militants. IS has caused increasing international alarm over its human rights abuses [JURIST report] since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq in 2013. Last month the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights jointly released a report [JURIST report] detailing violations against Iraqi civilians under the spread of IS. In December the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights [official website] reported that the IS executed [JURIST report] 1,878 people in Syria between June and December. That month the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned [JURIST report] the groups beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Syria. The Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) stated in November that the ICC is contemplating bringing war crimes charges against IS jihadist fighters.