MALAYSIA: ISA; arbitrary detention 


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-17-2003
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention,

Dear Friends

While AHRC welcomes the release of Tien Chua, Saari Sungib and Hishamuddin Rais, we urge the Malaysian Government to release the other detainees still in custody under the ISA. We should not forget those who are still detained in the Kamunting detention centre.

According to information on the Malaysia Kini website ( on 01 June, Saari Sungib was the only detainee released who was actually out of prison. Tian Chua and Hishamuddin were sent to Taiping Prison where they are expected to be held until bail can be posted on the unlawful assembly charges against them (the hearing was expected to be on 04 June). In addition, Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor has also been released from the ISA but remains in jail to complete his sentence for another offence. There is no new information regarding Lokman Noor Adam and Dr Badrulamin Bahrom whose detention orders will expire on 12 June 2003.

Reminder of background:

The International Security Act (ISA) was enacted in the 1960s and frequently used to arrest and indefinitely detain human rights and opposition campaigners, and those accused of being members of ¡®extremist groups¡¯, such as the al-Ma¡¯unah, the Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM), and the Jemaah Islamiah (JI). The ISA reportedly allows the authorities to arbitrarily arrest, detain incommunicado and interrogate activists, without granting them access to legal counsel or family visits, for up 60 days, and without conducting a trial for a period of up to two years. This period is, however, renewable by the Minister for Home Affairs, meaning that the person can effectively be detained indefinitely without a trial.

In April 2003, the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) recommended to the Malaysian government that the ISA be abolished. On 06 September 2002, the Federal Court ruled unanimously that the initial detention, on 10 April 2001, of the six detainees under Section 73(1) of the ISA was unlawful and in bad faith. The Court did not find any incriminating evidence to justify their detention under Section 8 (1) of the ISA.

In June 2003, the Minister for Home Affairs will decide whether to release the six political prisoners or to extend the detention for another two-year period.


Please write to the authorities in Malaysia, urging them to abolish the ISA immediately, and, while welcoming the decision to release Tian Chua, Saari Sungib and Hishamudin Rais, urging them to release the other detainees, Dr Badrulamin Bahrom, Central Committee member of the National Justice Party, Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor, the Youth Chief of the National Justice Party, and Lokman Noor Adam. We suggest that you also urge the Malaysian Government to ensure that the detention period of those detained is not extended by another two years, and to respect, and guarantee, human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Please also write to the embassies of Malaysia in your respective country.


1 Dato’ Seri Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad,

Prime Minister’s Office,

Federal Government Administration Center,

62502 Putrajaya,


Fax: +603 8888 3444,


2 Dato Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi,

Minister of Home Affairs & Deputy Prime Minister,

Ministry of Home Affairs (Menteri Dalam Negeri),


13, Blok D1,

Parcel D,

Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, 65202 Putrajaya,



Fax: + 603 8886 8014,


3 Chairman, Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), Ybhg.

Tan Sri Musa Hitam Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia,

29th Floor, Menara Tun


Jalan Raja Laut, 50350 Kuala Lumpur,


Fax: + 60 3

2612 5620,


Fax: + 60 3 2612 5620,

Thank you.

AHRC Urgent Appeals Programme

Asian Human Rights Commission

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Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-17-2003
Countries :
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention,