KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29, 2014:

The recent tabling of the White Paper to address the presence of Islamic State (IS) militants in Malaysia must not lead to curbing freedom of speech, Lawyers for Liberty said.

A White Paper is an authoritative document produced by a government that includes details or decisions of a policy on a particular subject.

Its representative, Michelle Yesudas, told The Rakyat Post that Malaysians should also be wary of the narrative of leaders pitting state security against civil liberties, as if one must be sacrificed for another.

“It was done in America via the Patriot Act. The state’s move to curb free speech and social media is superficial because it fails to address the root of IS ideology, which is a rise in religious extremism.”

The United States’ controversial Patriot Act was tabled a month after the Sept 11 terrorist attacks.

The Act, which was passed hurriedly, allows the government to spy on its citizens.

Proposing the need for a new Act which will be tabled at the next Parliament sitting, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak Najib said the government would not take threats by the militant group operating in Iraq and Syria lightly as it severely threatened national security.

He also said efforts to curb the menace must be taken to ensure that no Malaysian was involved in the group’s militant activities.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the new law might have “preventive measures”, leading Michelle to describe the White Paper as a facade

“Najib himself has told Umno members to emulate IS,” Michelle said, referring to his statement made five months ago.

In his speech during a Cheras Umno dinner on June 23, the Umno president had called on party members to emulate the exploits of IS as they were able to defeat an Iraqi force although being outnumbered.

A day after tabling the White Paper, Najib had announced at the Umno annual general assembly yesterday that the controversial Sedition Act — dubbed draconian by civil and human rights movement in the nation — would be retained.

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