Kuala Lumpur, Aug 1 (IANS) Malaysia on Monday enforced the National Security Council law aimed at widening the fight against terrorism, while activists claimed that it could also be used to silence political opposition.
The law allows the country’s Prime Minister to designate “security areas” where the forces deployed can search people, vehicles and buildings without a warrant, EFE news reported.
The law will also allow for the imposition of curfew and detention of suspects without any charges.
Prime Minister Najib Razak defended the law last week saying it was necessary due to the current security threats, including jihadi terrorism, in the country.
However, international organisations including the UN office for Southeast Asia and human rights groups warn about the perils of the new law.
“With this new law, the government now has spurned checks and assumed potentially abusive powers,” Amnesty International (AI) deputy director for South East Asia and the Pacific, Josef Benedict said in a statement.
AI recalled that Najib’s government has often invoked laws for national security to stifle peaceful dissidence.
“The Najib government is increasingly resorting to repressive new laws that are said to protect national security but in practice imperil human rights,” Benedict stated.