July 27, 2016 – Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak today defended controversial security laws due to take effect on Aug 1, in a statement calling for “greater action against terrorism”.
He said that the the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, Special Measures against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Act, Prevention of Terrorism Act and National Security Act were introduced “following requests from the security forces”, in response the growing number of “terrorist outrages around the world”.
“We were criticised for passing these laws,” Mr Najib said, adding that critics included “some who fear mongered for political reasons”.
The National Security Act in particular was “deliberately misinterpreted” he said. It will allow the National Security Council, chaired by the prime minister, to declare “security zones” and give authorities the right to search or arrest suspects without a warrant. Mr Najib said this is not the same as a declaration of national emergency – the power still lies with the king – and parliament still retains oversight over any security area declared.
“My government will never apologise for placing the safety and security of the Malaysian people first,” said Mr Najib. “These laws were necessary and other countries have since followed our lead.”
Mr Najib also condemned terror group Islamic State, referring to it by its Arabic name. “Daesh and its cruel, perverted ideology have no place in Islam, nor in our peaceful, diverse and tolerant country. Now is the time for us to unite and play an even greater part alongside the world community in the fight against terrorism.”