Saturday, September 17, 2011

No need to abolish ISA

My own view has always been that the abolition of the Internal Security Act is not necessary.

I would like in place, within the framework of the ISA, certain safeguards to ensure that it is not abused for political purposes.

Some have argued that this was the case with the so-called Marxist Conspiracy, when one Minister is reported to have resigned over the incident. A current Deputy Prime Minister has expressed reservations about these arrests in the past. (No surprise the home affairs portfolio, which has oversight of the ISA, is held by the other Deputy Prime Minister.)

To his credit, the old law minister Shunmugum Jayakumar, the man credited for enhancing sentences through Parliament in Singapore that would attract the ire of some human rights activists - from the use of the cane to the rope - took steps to improve the procedures of the ISA.

The ISA Advisory Board is now chaired by a Supreme Court Judge, with the President holding veto powers to cancel the detention order on the recommendation of the ISA Advisory Board.

This is where the problem currently lies.

The Board does not comprise a majority of judges, who I have no doubt are independent. Rogue ministers or power hungry political leaders could easily fill the majority of the ISA Advisory Board with their own lackeys and tilt the recommendation of the Board in their favour.

The Court of Appeal established over a decade ago that it was necessary for a court to review the executive’s decision to issue a detention order. Parliament then clipped the wings of the judiciary, post-Chng Suan Tze.

I would like the powers of the judiciary to review such decisions returned.

Dharmendra Yadav

Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this? Feel free to react below or leave a comment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"It was revealed recently in the PAP propagandist book “Men in White” that former National Development minister S Dhanabalan had left the cabinet in the 1991 due to disagreement with how the government had handled Operation Spectrum."
This is pure fiction. The real reason is in Ross Worthington's book, "Governance In Singapore".