Malaysia Moves to Repeal Two Authoritarian Laws

Posted October 3rd, 2011 at 3:45 am (UTC-5)
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Malaysia introduced legislation Monday to repeal two tough security laws, part of a broader planned overhaul as the government positions itself for elections next year.

Prime Minister Najib Razak scheduled motions in parliament that would scrap a 1933 law enabling police to dictate where individuals may or may not live, and a 1959 law allowing non-Malaysians to be banished from the country.

Repeal of the nation's notorious Internal Security Act – under which thousands of people have been held without trial – is expected early next year.

Opponents of the government welcomed Monday's moves but said they are still waiting to see what laws are proposed to replace the outdated measures.

Malaysia's opposition parties have been gaining support ahead of the expected elections by demanding improved human rights guarantees and greater transparency in government.

Tens of thousands of people turned out for a rally demanding electoral reforms in Kuala Lumpur in July. The government said Monday it will crate a bipartisan parliamentary panel to study possible reforms.