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Monday, July 24, 2017

Political arrests took place under Mahathir, Zahid rebuts US report

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today dismissed a US Embassy report that Malaysia used national security laws to silent political dissidents.
He said political arrests only took place when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister and he had used the now defunct Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) to silent dissidents.
"But his successors did not," added Zahid.
"Political arrests only occurred during Mahathir's era, where the ISA was used. Under the era of Pak Lah (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) and Najib Razak, nobody was arrested due to political differences," he said.
Zahid, who is also the home minister, said he was also an ISA detainee in 1998.
He was responding to a US report, titled "Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 (Malaysia)" which the US Embassy in Malaysia uploaded on its website on July 20.

"Malaysia uses its national security laws to arrest, jail, harass and intimidate critics and political opposition," the report states. 
The report also cited that in November (2016), police arrested a human rights activist under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act on the eve of a planned public demonstration and held her in solitary confinement for 10 days. 
The report said that these security laws have also been used to stifle dissenting voices critical of the alleged misappropriation of sovereign wealth fund money from 1MDB.
[More to follow]

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