KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 (Bernama) -- The move by the opposition to reject the Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill 2012, tabled by the prime minister for a second reading today, is politically-motivated, said Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.
He said the objections raised by the opposition were merely to serve their political interest and nothing to do with the law per se.
"Those who are of the view that the new Act is wrongful cannot be regarded to be fair in their assessment," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today.
Rais also denied that the new bill was harsher than the Internal Security Act (ISA).
He also challenged the opposition to debate the issue, and expressed confidence that the government would be able to present a compelling argument for the new security law.
"Show us who can be detained more than 28 days? Any detention beyond that period must be decided by the court and not by the home minister," he said.
Rais said that the country needs a law that guarantees the security of the country.
He also described the new law as "a very good legislation" and in line with the need to uphold the rule of law.
"We should be grateful because Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is aware that human right must be respected. This is the way forward for us," he said.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein described the claims by the opposition -- that the new legislation was no difference from the ISA -- as irresponsible.
He said the opposition was merely playing with politics in objecting the new legislation.
Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) said the new law would provide a balance between the need to safeguard the country's security and protect civil liberty.
He stressed that the tabling of the new legislation showed that the government was willing to repeal the outdated law, and at the same time, refusing to yield any compromise on the country's security.
Khairy, who is Umno Youth chief, said the opposition only knows how to demand for the repeal of ISA but failed to come up with an alternative legislation.
"This is the difference between the BN and the opposition. We know the ISA is no longer relevant but we also know we need another law so that the country's security remains safeguarded," he said when debating the bill.
Datuk Ibrahim Ali (Independent-Pasir Mas), who is an ex-ISA detainee, said the government should review the provision which provides an assurance for all cases to be tried by in court.
He expressed concerns that the matter could be manipulated by certain quarters to seek the release of individuals on technical grounds.
"We should acknowledge that cases like this would be difficult to prove in court," he said when debating the bill.
The sitting continues tomorrow.