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KUALA LUMPUR: After 52 years, Malaysia is witnessing the death of the Internal Security Act when the Dewan Rakyat passed the Security Offences (Special Measures) 2012 Bill today.
At 3.30pm, the House had unanimously passed the Security Offences (Special Measures) without any amendments after the third reading by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
The bill was tabled for second reading by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Monday and it was debated for 10 hours.
Earlier, Nazri said although ISA had been abolished, it had served its purpose well to stop threats against the people and properties.
He disclosed several facts and cases after getting clearance from the Special Branch head on how ISA had managed to stop potential threats and how serious these threats could be.
Militants that existed in this country and the region included Jemaah Islamiah (JI) and Darul Islam (DI), said Nazri in response to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PKR-Permatang Pauh) request for specific instances of terrorism attacks.
"In Malaysia we have managed to cripple several attacks with preventive and pre-emptive measures (provided by laws including ISA).
"The authorities have seized many items during their operations to track down these militants including firearms, explosives, bullets and notes on how to build a bomb," he said.
The seriousness of terrorism threat could be seen in 1999 when the authorities had discovered six pipe bombs at Bangsar placed by the JI group to attack foreign visitors, but due to technicality, the bombs did not explode.
To rock Malaysia and Singapore ties, the Kumpulan Mujahidinn Malaysia (KMM) group had planned to attack a US warship docked at Port Klang. Authorities managed to seize several items including ammonia nitrate, Nazri added.
He gave another instance involving the murder of Lunas state assemblyman Dr Joe Fernandes by KMM with main suspect Zulkifli Abd Hir@Marwan is still at large and hiding abroad.
Since ISA was enforced 52 years, a total 10,883 people had been detained under Section 8(1) and 4,461 were issued detention order.
He said to date 22 militants had been identified by the police and many more were believed to exist.
"They are on the police radar," he said.
Nazri said Malaysia must learn from the 911 terrorist attack on the United States in 2001 which saw the US government activated a strict law against terrorism threats only after the incident.
"We cannot afford to wait for terrorists to attack the Petronas twin first before we scramble to think of a law to address terrorism attacks," he said to stress on why it crucial to have the Security Offences (Special Measures) to maintain the peace and prosperity in Malaysia.
He added terrorism threats were shared by all countries and not only in Malaysia.
On worries by certain MPs including those from Kepong and Permatang Pauh that the Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill would be abused as what had happened with the ISA despite assurance given by then Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, Nazri said the current government had given more than assurance or promises by codifying several safeguards in the bill.
An attempt by R.Sivarasa (PKR-Subang) to send the Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill for review by Parliamentary Select Committee had been rejected.
He had submitted a motion notice under Standing Order 55(1) to the Speaker's office last Friday seeking for the second reading of the bill to be postponed to six months pending the PSC's review.
Sivarasa had tabled the motion on Monday before the prime minister tabled the bill for second reading.
He again raised the motion yesterday after finished with his winding up of the policy stage debate.