Singapore's ISA vs Malaysia's ISA - Alvinology

Singapore’s ISA vs Malaysia’s ISA

The Sunday Times, 27 May 1987 (scan via
The Sunday Times, 27 May 1987 (scan via

Do 30 days less to detain a person without trial makes Singapore’s Internal Security Act (ISA) any more different from Malaysia’s ISA?

The fundamental principles behind the act are still the same.

If an innocent man was wrongfully sentenced to jail, it does not matter much if he was jailed for 30 days or 60 days. He should not even be in jail in the first place.


Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said last Friday the Republic will not scrap its ISA as it remained “relevant and crucial” as a last resort to keep the country safe and secure.

The MHA said that a person arrested here under the ISA may be held in custody for up to 30 days, after which an Order of Detention or Restriction Order must be issued, or else the person must be released unconditionally.

In Malaysia, the period of custody is up to 60 days.

MHA’s statement came after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced plans to repeal Malaysia’s ISA and replace it with terrorism-specific laws.

I am not convinced by MHA’s weak argument based on a small technicality. An open dialogue over the relevance of ISA in today’s society would have been a better response.

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