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KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Government rescinded three emergency proclamations because it is confident Malaysians are ready to enter a new era.

“The Government believes that after more than half a century of practising democracy since Independence, Malaysians have reached a high level of maturity.

“In view of this, we are now ready to enter a new era where the function of Government is no longer seen as limiting freedom of the individual but, instead, of ensuring that the basic rights as enshrined in the Constitution are protected,” he said at the installation of Sultan of Kedah Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negara here yesterday.

Najib said that after giving due consideration, the Government believed that a balance could be reached between freedom of the individual and national security.

In line with this aspiration, the Government, through Parliament, had rescinded the three emergency proclamations and would allow all the ordinances under them to lapse in June, except for three that would be tabled as new Bills.

The three are related to Rela, Rukun Tetangga and regional maritime laws.

The Prime Minister said the Government had also taken steps to repeal the Restricted Residence Act 1933 and Banishment Act 1959, formulated the Peaceful Assembly Act 2011 and amended the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971.

Najib said he would be tabling for second reading the Bill to abolish the Internal Security Act, on Monday.

“Although the ISA has served the nation well, it has outlived its purpose. We need a new framework of national security legislation in the increasingly complex contemporary era,” he said.

Under the new law, he said the Home Minister no longer had the power to detain without trial while detention for the purpose of investigations was shortened.

“The power of judicial review will be fully returned to the courts. The Bill also guarantees that no Malaysian can be detained because of his political beliefs and activities,” he added.

Najib said the Security Offences Bill (Special Measures) 2011, which was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday, would ensure that the authorities had adequate legal weaponry not only to combat global terrorism and defend parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, but also protect the freedom of the citizens.

“All these initiatives and programmes are to ensure that Tuanku’s rule, God willing, will herald a golden democratic age in Malaysia,” Najib said.

He added that he and his family were fortunate and privileged to serve Tuanku Abdul Halim as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong as his (Najib’s) father, the country’s second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, had served His Majesty when he ascended the throne the first time in 1970.

“After my late father had the opportunity to serve Tuanku, it is now destined to be my turn to be at your service. It is God’s will, and may God’s assistance and inayah (concern) guide all of us,” Najib said.

– Bernama

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