CRAFTING ANTI-TERRORISM LAW IN MALAYSIA: STRIKING A DELICATE BALANCE BETWEEN NATIONAL SECURITY AND PERSONAL LIBERTY
The sudden rise of this radical terror group calling themselves the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the brazen show of decapitation of their captives have sent shock waves across the globe. This prompted the United Nation Security Council to adopt Resolution 2178 calling for its members to take preventive counter-terrorism measures to contain the spread of this radical ideology propagated by ISIL. Malaysia in responding to this call, has passed and enacted the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2015 (POTA) despite receiving much criticism that POTA has eroded fundamental human rights, in particular, the right to one’s liberty. This article examines the challenges faced by the government in balancing between national security and personal liberty when crafting POTA. The article shows that equilibrium is hard to achieve between the two competing rights and thus has become disproportionate by looking at the POTA itself. The article concludes Malaysia’s counter-terrorism strategy prioritises national security over basic human rights, which clearly is abhorrent to the rule of law and that in fact, the threat posed by terrorism could have been exaggerated by the government in their efforts to fight terrorism as there are many other threats to life which call for more attention than the threat of terrorism itself.
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