Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak announced on TV about 2 hours ago -- the repeal of several outmoded and draconian laws including the ISA and the three Emergency proclamations.
These are historic changes and are being made to "to accommodate and realise a mature, modern and functioning democracy; to preserve public order; enhance civil liberty and maintain racial harmony."
The PM made the announcement on the eve of Malaysia Day -- the first time the country is celebrating the anniversary of the foundation and formation of modern Malaysia.
The changes include:
*Total repeal of the Internal Security Act
The legislation, introduced in 1960 in the wake of an armed insurgency by Communist rebels, gives the police wide-ranging powers to detain suspects indefinitely.
It will be replaced by a new law that incorporates far more judicial oversight and limits the powers of the police to detain suspect for preventive reasons.
37 people are currently being held under the ISA. There will be a six-month transition period while the new laws are introduced, after which their cases will be considered under the new legislation.
*Total repeal of the Emergency Ordinance
Introduced following race riots in 1969, the Emergency Ordinance, which allows suspects to be detained without charge for up to two years if permission is granted by a Minister.
This too will be replaced by a law that will not compromise on national security and terrorism while increasing democratic accountability and judicial oversight.
*Removal of annual renewal of press and publication permits
All licences will now remain valid indefinitely unless they are revoked, in common with broadcasting regulations in many Western nations.
*Government to review Section 27 of the Police Act 1967
The Malaysian constitution guarantees the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. The law requires police permission before gatherings can go ahead, including on private land such as stadiums. This law will now be reviewed to bring Malaysia in line with international standards while ensuring that the police retain the power to prevent violent scenes on the nation's streets.
A host of other laws, including those governing banishment and residence, will also be abolished or reviewed. Any law found to be no longer relevant or justifiable will be repealed.
Please go online for the full text of the PM's address.