CHAPTER 4: THE INTERNAL SECURITY ACT
While the lifting of the 1948-1960 State of Emergency signalled the substantive defeat of the communist insurrection, never-the-less the government, on the basis of Article149 as amended, proceeded to enact the 1960 Internal Security Act (ISA). Rather than being merely an extension of the 1948 Emergency Regulations, regarded as extraordinary measures which automatically lapsed on an annual basis, the ISA was a permanent law, and gave the Executive sweeping powers including the ability to deprive a person of his or her liberty indefinitely without trial solely for ‘preventive’ reasons, and to prohibit meetings, ban publications and exclude books and periodicals.
The ISA’s preamble referred to a situation in which ‘action has been taken and further action is threatened by a substantial body of persons both inside and outside Malaysia ....to cause a substantial number of citizens to fear, organised violence against persons and property; and...to procure the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of the lawful Government of Malaysia....' ( emphasis added).
In the first instance, therefore, the authorities justified the ISA as necessary to effect the ‘mopping up’ of the communist guerrilla threat or, in the mid-1970s, to check a feared resurgence of armed insurgency in the context of communist advances in Indochina. Additionally, for many years the government asserted that the underground tactics of the proscribed Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and its suspected infiltration of various front organisations could only be effectively countered through the use of the ISA. However these justifications became progressively weaker over the years - and lost all credibility with the signing of a formal peace treaty with exiled remnants of the CPM in Thailand in 1989. In recent years the government has evoked the memory of the 1969 ethnic riots and emphasised the maintenance of inter-communal harmony as a justification for maintaining the extraordinary powers extended by the ISA. However this position has been increasingly open to question as inter-communal tensions have receded in the context of sustained economic growth and increased prosperity.
In 1996 the government, indicating that the scope and frequency of ISA detentions had waned, announced that there were no longer any ‘political’ ISA detainees, and that all the remaining ISA detainees, reportedly numbering fewer than 230, were held for offences involving identity paper forgery and the ‘smuggling’ of illegal migrant workers. The last six remaining communist detainees were reported to have been released in 1995.(18)
The Internal Security Act (ISA) remains the core of the permanent, arbitrary powers to detain without trial available to the Executive. The arrest of Anwar Ibrahim and his supporters under the ISA in late 1998 shows the potential for this restrictive legislation to be used at any time against anyone for the peaceful exercise of their human rights.
As with other restrictive laws in Malaysia, the ISA, through a series of amendments, has incrementally extended Executive powers, while stripping away the judicial safeguards designed to protect against their abuse. Now, once a person is detained under the ISA, he or she has no effective recourse to legal protection, nor any opportunity to establish their innocence of the accusations levelled against them. As such the ISA is contrary to fundamental principles of international law, including the right to liberty of the person, to freedom from arbitrary arrest, to be informed of the reasons for arrest, to the presumption of innocence, and to a fair and open trial in a court of law.
The broad terms of the ISA fail to provide any precise definition or criteria for determining which individuals pose a danger to state or public security. The Executive has been given permanent, unfettered discretion to determine, according to their subjective interpretation, who, what and when a person or activity might pose a potential threat to the wider national interest, national security or public order - and to order indefinite detention without trial.
Beyond the violation of basic rights experienced by particular individuals, the ISA has had a wider, intimidating effect on civil society, and a marked influence on the nature of political participation and accountability in Malaysia. The ISA has been used to suppress peaceful political, academic and social activities, and legitimate constructive criticism by NGOs and other social pressure groups. It limits the political space for important debates on issues of economic policy, corruption and other social challenges.
Amnesty International has repeatedly called for the repeal of the ISA, or, at the very least, for its amendment to bring it in line with international standards. For over twenty years the organisation has called for the immediate and unconditional release of scores of ISA detainees whom it considered to be prisoners of conscience held solely for the peaceful expression of their political or religious beliefs. It has called for those other ISA detainees who may have advocated or been involved in violence to be either granted a fair, speedy and open trial, or else released. The organisation has also raised persistent serious concerns about patterns of grave ill-treatment, at times amounting to torture, of those detained under the law.
The authorities have continued to defend the ISA in recent years, arguing that it is used less and less against ‘political’ figures, but that it remains an essential deterrent to maintain stability in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society. Various reform proposals have been aired by ministers, including, in February 1996, potential amendments that would define offences to be covered by the Act (espionage, incitement to racial and religious hatred, economic sabotage and falsifying identification and travel documents). However such reform proposals have not been taken forward.
2. The Powers
(A) Detention Orders
Under the terms of Section 8 of the ISA the Minister of Home Affairs (Interior Minister) has the right to have any person detained if he is satisfied that the detention is necessary to prevent the person from,
‘s8(1) ...acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to the maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof...’ The Minister is empowered to ‘make an order’ directing that person to be detained for any period not exceeding two years. The detention order may be renewed indefinitely.
(B) Warrantless Arrests: The 60-day Interrogation Period
Additionally, Section 73(1) of the ISA allows the police to arrest without a warrant and detain pending enquires, for a period of up to 60 days, any person ‘in respect of whom [the police officer] has reason to believe,
"a) that there are grounds which would justify his detention under Section 8; and b) that he has acted or is about to act or is likely to act in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to the maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof."
Any person arrested in this manner may be held for up to 60 days if an officer above the rank of Deputy Superintendent reports the circumstances of the arrest and detention to a police officer designated by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), and if that officer deems that the inquiries cannot be completed within 30 days.
Since the initial powers of arrest can be exercised lawfully by any police officer without a warrant, the potential for abuse of police powers, especially by the Special Branch (security police) is largely unrestricted. If, after 60 days, the police choose not to submit grounds to the Minister, and a detention order is not issued, the detainee is released.
(C) Restriction Orders: The Denial of Rights of Association, Expression and Movement
Additionally, under Section 8(5) of the ISA the Minister may impose on any person in respect of his activities, freedom of movement, or places of residence or employment, a restriction order containing any of the following restrictions and conditions;
"b) for prohibiting him from being out of doors between such hours as may be specified in the order...;
c) for requiring him to notify his movements in such manner at such times and to such authority or person as specified in the order;
d) for prohibiting from addressing public meetings or from holding office in, or taking part in the activities of or acting as adviser to any organization or association, or from taking part in any political activities; and
e)for prohibiting him from travelling beyond the limits of Malaysia or any part thereof specified in the order..."
Restriction orders, covering a period of up to two years, may be renewed indefinitely.
(D) Controls on Printing and Publications
Additionally, Section 22(1) empowers the Minister to ban the printing and circulation of publications that are deemed prejudicial to security and public order. He may do so if he finds that the publication,"
f) contains any incitement to violence;
g) counsels disobedience to the law or any lawful order;
h) is calculated or likely to lead to the breach of the peace, or to promote feelings of hostility between different races or classes of the population; or
i) is prejudicial to the national interest, public order, or security of Malaysia.
(E) Mandatory Death Penalty: Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives
Section 57 of the ISA prescribes a mandatory death penalty for certain offences to be tried in court,
"(1) Any person who without lawful excuse, the onus of proving which shall be on that person, in any security area carries or has in his possession or under his control -
a) any firearm without lawful authority therefor: or
b) any ammunition or explosive without lawful authority therefor,
shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be punished with death."
(see page 26: Nallakaruppan case)
3. The Safeguards
After arrest by police, the authorities have no legal obligation to inform individuals held under the ISA of the allegations against them until the end of the 60-day investigation period. During this period detainees are held incommunicado, mostly in solitary confinement. Especially in the first weeks of detention access to legal counsel and to family members is denied - though family visits may be permitted during the later stages of police custody.
The failure to notify detainees of the reasons for their detention and the denial of access to their families and lawyers is in contravention of international standards, including the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.(19)
(A) The Advisory Board.
After a maximum of 60 days detention, the Minister is required to sign a detention order, having referred to police reports, including findings of interrogations, which he may or may not take into account. The detainee has the right to see a copy of the order, along with a statement of the grounds on which the order is made and the allegations of fact on which the order is based.
Article 151 of the Constitution requires that any law sanctioning preventive detention should contain provisions which allow the detainee the opportunity to make representations to an Advisory Board, made up of three members appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (advised by the Cabinet), and including a judge or retired judge. This is reflected in the provisions of the ISA (s.11). Under a 1989 amendment the provision (s.12.1) that the Advisory Board had to make a recommendation within three months of a detainee’s representation was altered to allow undefined periods before recommendations had to be made to the King. Having made a recommendation the Advisory Board is required to review the detainee’s case every six months. This practice reportedly has often not occurred.
Under the ISA, unlike under the 1948 Emergency Regulations, the Advisory Board does not have the power to order the release of a detainee, but can only make recommendations for release or continued detention to the King at his discretion. The decision of the King is final and cannot be called into question by any court.
The effectiveness of the Advisory Board as a safeguard against abuse of ISA powers is further weakened by the fact that past judicial rulings have held that the vagueness or insufficiency of the allegations of fact on which the grounds for detention are based cannot render a detention order unlawful. To a great extent the assessment of the grounds for detention by the Advisory Board is influenced by the findings and recommendations of the police Special Branch, at times based on confessions extracted during prolonged and aggressive interrogation, often involving ill-treatment amounting, at times, to torture (see page 27). Given these circumstances a number of ISA detainees have refused to participate in the Advisory Board review process.
(B) Judicial Review: Rendering Habeas Corpus Ineffective
The writ of habeas corpus is a key safeguard, recognised in international law, upholding the right of liberty of the person by ensuring the legality of administrative detention through a judicial review and determination. Article 5(2) of the Constitution reflects Principle 32(1) of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, which states:
‘A detained person or his counsel shall be entitled at any time to take proceedings according to domestic law before a judicial or other authority to challenge the lawfulness of his detention in order to obtain his release without delay, if it is unlawful.’
In Malaysia a series of progressively restrictive legislative amendments, parallelled by judicial rulings interpreting these laws, have rendered the writ of habeas corpus essentially meaningless in relation to ISA detainees.
Malaysian judicial rulings and case law have established the principle that once the Minister determines the necessity to detain a subject pursuant to a valid detention order, the courts cannot ‘go behind’ that order, i.e. the courts cannot and will not question the basis for detention. This applies when grounds for detaining a person adduced in court are not the same as those contained in the original detention order. Thus, the subjective finding of the Minister cannot be challenged unless it was given male fide - in bad faith(20). The onus of proving improper motive or male fides on the part of the authorities lies on the detainee.(21)
The scope of judicial review, including habeas corpus, was weakened further in 1989 when Parliament passed amendments to the ISA that prevented acts of the Minister taken under the ISA being brought into question by the courts. Section 8B(1) as amended read,
"There shall be no judicial review in any court of, and no court shall have or exercise any jurisdiction in respect of, any act done or decision made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Minister in the exercise of their discretionary power in accordance with this Act, save in regard to any question on compliance with any procedural requirement in this Act governing such act or decision."
Dr Mahathir said only the government was able to determine, from information it received, what action was necessary to preserve the country’s stability and security and that,
"It is not appropriate for us to follow the practice in other countries where courts play an interventionist role in substituting the decisions of the Executive as this is against the concept of ‘separation of powers’ between the Executive and the Judiciary. "(22)
In December 1997 two Muslim academics, Professor Lupti Ibrahim and lecturer Fadzullah Shuib, who had been detained the previous month under the ISA because of the practice of their Shi’a faith (see page XX), had their habeas corpus petitions upheld after the court recognised a procedural error - a copy of the ISA police detention order had not been dated. The two were immediately re-arrested on leaving the court house and returned to detention under a new ISA order.
The only previous effective application for habeas corpus had been that of Jamaluddin Othman who was arrested in October 1987 (Operation Lallang) and served a two-year detention order for alleged involvement in a plan to propagate Christianity among Malays. The grounds for detention stated only that the respondent had participated in Christian meetings and seminars, and in October 1988 the High Court ruled that the Minister has no power under the ISA to deprive a person of his constitutional right to profess and practice his religion (Article 11). The ruling was upheld by the Federal Court.
4. The Detentions
(A) 1960 - 1980
The first two decades of the ISA were marked by the campaign against the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and their suspected sympathisers. However the use of the ISA went beyond suppressing communist insurgency and their supporters and extended to a far broader spectrum of political activity in Malaysia. The use of the ISA in this period was extensive: the number of people arrested and detained under the Act rose from 1119 between 1960 and 1969, to 1713 between 1970 and 1979.(23) Detainees included hundreds imprisoned for peaceful political activity with periods of detention ranging from a few months to up to 12 years.(24)
During the 1960s the principal multi-racial left-wing party, the Labour Party of Malaya, which mainly recruited from among the Chinese working-class, was weakened by a series of ISA arrests, as was its initial partner in the Socialist Front opposition alliance, the Party Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia (PSRM). By 1978, of the approximately 100 ISA detainees at the Batu Gajah detention camp, at least 22 were Labour Party activists arrested in the mid- and late 1960s. Additionally, during the 1963-5 Confrontation with Indonesia, opposition party members, particularly those belonging to the Socialist Front, were subject to arrest. The government, dominated by UMNO, claimed that most of the detained members of the Socialist Front were communist sympathisers.
In the aftermath of the 1969 racial riots the leader of the ethnic Chinese based opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) Lim Kit Siang was detained under the ISA in 1970. In 1976, amid factional tensions within UMNO, six senior politicians, including two government ministers, two DAP parliamentarians, and the PSRM chairman, were arrested. Police stated the men had been detained,
"...because of their involvement in the activities of the Communist United Front or in activities which could be regarded as assisting the advancement of the Communist United Front, whether directly or indirectly, deliberately or unknowingly".
In 1971 the ISA was amended to allow the detention of anyone perceived to be a threat to the essential services and economic life of the country. The Socialist Front was active in a resurgence of trades union activities, and party members and unionists were vulnerable to ISA detention. One trade unionist, Chang Ben San, was held for nine years after being arrested in 1969. In February 1979 22 members of the Airlines Employers Union (AEU) were detained under the ISA after a pay dispute at the state-run Malaysian Airline System (MAS) had led to a work to rule and a government order to deregister the union. The police announced that the unionists were being held to prevent them continuing to act in a manner ‘prejudicial to the maintenance of an essential service’. They were released in April 1979 but the de-registered union became defunct. (see page 52, Trades Union Act)
In 1974 amid increasing student protests in Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere, in solidarity with evicted Malay urban squatters and impoverished farmers in Baling in the north of the Peninsular, the authorities arrested over a thousand students for illegal assembly on university campuses and at the National Mosque. Over 20 students, academics and government critics were also arrested under the ISA in late 1994, including University of Malaya Professor of Anthropology Syed Husin Ali, who was detained for six years, and also then President of the Muslim Youth Movement (ABIM), Anwar Ibrahim, who was held for 22 months.(see page 48, Universities Act)
In 1976, in a move that was to have a long-lasting effect on press self-censorship in Malaysia, Ahmad Samad Ismail, the managing editor of the New Straits Times (NST) newspaper, and Samani Mohd Amin, News Editor of Berita Harian, were arrested under the ISA, allegedly for involvement in a communist subversion plot to weaken the belief in religion among Malays and convert them to communism.
(B) The 1980s and Operation Lallang (October 1987)
When Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad took office in 1981 there were indications of a more liberal approach by the authorities toward peaceful dissenting activity. In 1982 Amnesty International welcomed the release of at least 168 ISA detainees during the Mahathir premiership.
The apparent decline in the number of ISA arrests during the 1980s raised hopes that the government might rely less on the ISA, but these proved illusory. In April 1987, against a backdrop of a sharp economic downturn and bitter factional divisions within UMNO, Prime Minister Mahathir only narrowly survived a leadership challenge by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in party elections. Tengku Razaleigh’s defeated faction appealed to the courts to declare the results void citing voting by ‘false’ delegates and alleged vote-buying. The High Court ruled that failure to register a number of UMNO branches, as required under the Societies Act, made UMNO an illegal organisation and that no new elections could be held until lawfully constituted organisations were created.
Amid this political crisis, Dr Mahathir, citing signs of rising ethnic tensions,(25) ordered the launch in October 1987 of Operation Lallang (‘Lallang’ means weed). In this operation 106 people across a wide political and social spectrum were arrested under the ISA, accused of provoking racial and religious tensions. Those detained included 15 members of PAS, DAP leaders Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh and seven other DAP parliamentarians, two PSRM leaders and 16 members of the Barisan Nasional (BN) ruling coalition. Other detainees included trade unionists, Chinese educationalists, Islamic teachers and Christian church and community workers and activists. At least 40 of the 106, none from the BN, were given two-year detention orders, and were adopted by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience. The last detainees to be released, DAP leader Lim Kit Siang, and his son parliamentarian Lim Guan Eng, were set free in April 1989, several months after the other remaining Lallang detainees. Attempts to question the validity, through judicial review, of the Executive’s grounds for the detention of individual Lallang detainees had proved almost completely ineffective.
(C) The 1990s
With the release of the final Lallang detainees in 1989, the numbers of political ISA detainees continued at low levels during the early 1990s. However the ISA continued to be used periodically against political and religious activists and other individuals regarded as a potential threat to national security or to the national interest. For instance, in 1991 Sabah Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan’s brother, Jeffrey Kitingan, and six other members of Bersatu Sabah Party (PBS) were detained under the ISA for alleged involvement in a plot to withdraw Sabah from the Federation.
The Muslim Al Arqam group, a mystical Sufi sect derived from within the Shi’a tradition, had an estimated 10,000 members and over 100,000 followers in Malaysia by the early 1990s. The group ran a extensive network of schools and communes, and had broad business interests. In 1994 the government accused Al Arqam of preaching ‘deviationist’ Islamic teachings and made charges, never substantiated, that the group was training over 300 ‘holy warriors’ in Thailand for presumed use against the state. In justifying its suppression officials stated the sect not only posed a threat because of ‘deviationism’, but also because it was ‘developing in isolation from the mainstream of Malaysian society’.(26)
In August 1994, after the National Fatwa Council (the highest authority on Islamic law in Malaysia) ruled that the teachings and beliefs of the group contravened Islamic practice and tenets, the government declared Al Arqam unlawful under the Societies Act (see page 45). Some 150 members were subsequently arrested as a result of the banning, but were released on bail.Seven senior members were detained under the ISA, including Al Arqam leader in exile Ashaari Muhammad, who had been handed over to Malaysian police by the Thai authorities in September 1994. In October 1994 Ashaari announced the disbanding of Al Arqam, saying that he had accepted the charges of ‘deviationist’ beliefs while discussing religious issues with police during his detention. Amnesty International declared the detainees possible prisoners of conscience held solely for the peaceful expression of their religious beliefs. The organisation’s concerns about possible ill-treatment of the Al Arqam detainees were confirmed when, during Anwar Ibrahim’s trial in November 1998, a Special Branch officer stated that ‘turning over’ techniques had been used against Al Arqam detainees.
All the Al Arqam ISA detainees were subsequently released, though most were subject to orders restricting their freedom of movement and association. In mid-1996, 18 former members of Al Arqam were detained under the ISA, and nine were served two-year detention orders on suspicion of attempting to revive the movement. All were subsequently conditionally released.
The minority Shi’a Muslim community in Malaysia is estimated to number approximately 2000 people scattered through the country. In November 1997 ten Shi’as, in various locations, were arrested under the ISA. Amnesty International declared the detainees to be prisoners of conscience, held solely for their peaceful activities and religious beliefs, and called for their immediate release.
Government minister Abdul Hamid Othman stated that such use of the ISA was appropriate as ‘religious disharmony is a national threat which places the country’s political and economic development at an unsafe position’. The detainees were reportedly placed under pressure in detention to renounce their beliefs and underwent ‘Islamic faith rehabilitation courses...aimed at making self-evaluation as a Malaysian Muslim citizen holding to the Sunni sect teachings’.
Three were released, subject to restriction orders, in early 1998, but seven, including Professor Lutpi Ibrahim, professor in Islamic studies at the University of Malaya, Fadzullah Shuib, lecturer at Mara Institute of Technology, Syed Sulaiman bin Syed Hassan, Zainal Adam, Said Muda, Ustaz Abdul Hassan and Che Kamarulzaman Che Ismail remained in detention. Six of the detainees were released in stages from late October 1998. The last Shi’a detainee, Che Kamarulzaman Che Ismail, was reported released in early 1999. All the men are reported to remain under restriction orders.
Other ISA arrests and threats
In December 1996 following the breakup of an international NGO forum on East Timor (see page 57), and a proposal by local NGOs to hold a ‘Public Tribunal’ forum to discuss alleged abuses of police powers (see page 47), Prime Minister Mahathir accused the NGOs of including ‘leftists’ and ‘traitors’.(27)
The Home Ministry threatened to detain participants of the proposed forum on policing under the ISA, forcing its cancellation. Dr Mahathir, commenting on the proposal, warned that the authorities might be ‘forced’ to use the ISA if the situation got worse, and that the ISA could not be abolished because of the existence of such ‘irresponsible people’.(28)
In April 1998, two Acehnese were arrested under the ISA for allegedly instigating riots in immigration detention camps in March, when large numbers of Indonesians from Aceh province tried to resist forcible deportation to Indonesia. One of these men was released after being detained incommunicado for 60 days without charge or trial, while the other, Razali Abdullah, was ordered detained for two years. He was released in January 1999.
In August 1998, four people were detained under the ISA for allegedly spreading false rumours, by forwarding messages through the Internet, of ethnic riots in Kuala Lumpur. They were charged in September under the Penal Code (s505b) for circulating statements likely to cause alarm, punishable with up to two years in jail, a fine or both. The accused pleaded not guilty, and the trials are continuing.
Additionally in September 1997, as the Asian financial crisis intensified, government officials threatened to use the ISA to detain local financial traders suspected of ‘economic sabotage’ by aiding foreign financial speculators to sell off stocks and the ringgit. No arrests took place.
(D) 1998: Arrest of Anwar Ibrahim, His Political Associates and Other Reformasi Supporters
Anwar Ibrahim with his wife, Dr. Wan Azizah© Reuters 1999
From Anwar Ibrahim’s detention under the ISA on 20 September 1998 until early 1999, Amnesty International recorded at least 27 other people arrested under the ISA. All are reported to have been released before the end of their 60-day interrogation period, and were not served detention orders and transferred to Kamunting detention camp. Some however, including Anwar Ibrahim, either remained in detention or were subsequently re-arrested, under separate criminal charges.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad dismissed Anwar Ibrahim from his posts as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister on 2 September 1998. The next day the police announced publicly that Anwar Ibrahim was under criminal investigation, and lodged at the High Court a number of affidavits alleging that Anwar Ibrahim had been involved in acts of sexual misconduct, tampering with evidence, bribery and threatening national security. The Attorney-General stated that, subject to investigations, Anwar Ibrahim could be held under the Internal Security Act (ISA) or charged under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), the Penal Code, the Women and Girls Protection Act or the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Despite the threatened criminal charges facing him, public rallies in support of Anwar Ibrahim and of reformasi gathered momentum. On 20 September Anwar Ibrahim led some 35,000 demonstrators through the streets of Kuala Lumpur and called on Prime Minister Mahathir to resign. Later that night Anwar Ibrahim was arrested at his home. He was initially told he would be charged under the Penal Code s377B (see page 65), but a few hours later was informed he was detained under the ISA.
Subsequently, from 21 to 29 September 1998, police detained under the ISA 16 of Anwar’s political associates who were perceived to have potential political influence within UMNO and the wider Malay community, especially the Islamic student movement. The detainees included UMNO National Youth chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Negri Sembilan state UMNO Youth chief Ruslan Kassim; leaders of Muslim youth organisations, including Muslim Youth Movement (ABIM - Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia) president Ahmad Azam Abdul Rahman and National Muslim Students Association president, Amidi Abdul Manan. Additionally, Kamarudin Jaafar, the head of the Institute for Policy Development (IKD), a think-tank closely linked to Anwar; Professor Siddiq Baba, Student Affairs Rector at the International Islamic University; and Zulkifli Nordin, a member of Anwar’s legal defence team, were detained. Shaari Sungip, president of the Islamic NGO Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM), was detained on 13 October. Of this group all had been released by early November.
ISA arrests continued in October and in the following months, and appeared to expand from an original core of Anwar supporters to those who were suspected of organising the wider reformasi movement or coordinating the continuing reformasi demonstrations. They included UMNO Youth Culture Committee secretary Lokman Noor Adam and UMNO member Mohammad Khair Noor, arrested on 24 October, and UMNO member Abdullah Rasid Ahmad, arrested in 25 October. On 22 November, as he was being released from remand custody following his arrest for alleged illegal assembly on 15 November, Fadhillah Abu Bakr was detained under the ISA on suspicion of organising demonstrations. Similarly, businessman Monashofian Zulkairnan was arrested on 4 December under the ISA as he left a magistrate’s hearing after six days remand custody for alleged illegal assembly. In February 1999 a computer technician, Shaharudin Abdul Kadir, was reportedly arrested under the ISA on suspicion of links to the reformasi movement. Police are reported to have removed computer disks and hardware from his residence at the time of detention.
All of the above are reported to have been released from ISA detention before the end of the 60 day interrogation period, but some faced further charges. ISA detainee Lokman Noor Adam was released on 18 December, but re-arrested and charged in May 1999 with alleged refusal to disperse from an illegal assembly on 17 October 1998. If found guilty he will prohibited from holding any office in a political party or registered society, (see page 45 - Societies Act, and page 63 - Prosecution of Demonstrators).
On 23 September Anwar Ibrahim’s wife, Dr Wan Azizah, was served an ISA restriction order prohibiting her from holding gatherings in her home, speaking in public or carrying out political activities. Apart from family members, press and those with signed invitations, visitors were barred from entering her house and police roadblocks temporarily erected near her residence (see also page 39, Sedition Act). The government also issued a blanket ban against all demonstrations supportive of reformasi, and in late October officials warned that anyone attending an illegal assembly could be arrested and detained under the ISA. Demonstrations, however, continued.