Malaysia Passes Controversial Anti-Terror Bill

Malaysia has passed a controversial anti-terrorism bill, which the government says is necessary to tackle the threat from Islamist extremists.

The bill reintroduces indefinite detention without trial, which the Prime Minister had repealed in 2012.

Human Rights Watch called the move “a giant step backwards for human rights.”

The bill passed hours after police authorities announced the detention of 17 suspected militants believed to be planning attacks in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Home Minister, Zahid Hamidi, said those arrested, the youngest just 14, were planning to attack police stations and army bases to gather weapons.

Malaysia canceled its Internal Security Act – which permitted indefinite detention without trial – in April 2012 amid public concern it was using the legislation to stifle political debate and lock up critics.

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