The Things that You Should Know about ISA

abolish-isa-singapore_0Everyone should be familiar with ISA (Internal Security Act). ISA is a statute that endows the executive to impose detention for cases of subversion, violence and other issues that can threaten public order or national security without trial. The MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) will endorse the suspected person under ISA to the President.

If the President is convinced that the person poses a great danger or threat to the republic and its people, he/she may be detained by MHA for up to two years. After the detention period, the president will issue further instructions. In the case of Muhammad Hanif bin Salamat, MHA announced on January 9, 2014 that he has been detained for two years.

If you want to know about the prohibitions of ISA, you should refer here:

Political & quasi-military associations and organizations

Chapter I of ISA discusses about the barring of activities and actions of political & quasi-military associations and organizations. It is a felony to participate in any activities (like training, drilling, wearing of uniform, etc.) that seeks to take over the armed forces or the police. It is a serious crime to conspire and support someone else to usurp government forces.

Banning of destabilizing publications & documents

Chapter III of ISA discusses about the responsibility of the minister to ban the publications or printing presses that print or reveal subversive actions against the government. The Minister may forbid the printing, publication, sale and circulation of documents that can provoke violence, disobedience, rupturing of peace and other acts of hostility which can affect the national interest or national security.

Shutting down exhibitions & entertainments

Chapter IV of ISA discusses the power of the MHA Minister to order shutting down of exhibitions & entertainments that can threaten or compromise national interest. Exhibition refers to the presentation of goods (like books, films, pictures, etc.). Entertainment refers to any amusement activities (like concert, games, sport, etc.). It is an offence to promote these things especially if it will undermine the national interest and national security.

Supressing violence

Chapter I of ISA gives power to the President with the advice from the Cabinet to declare any area here in Singapore a “security area”. If the president believes that a specific area is seriously threatened or disturbed and it causes fear or anxiety or several citizens, he may proclaim a “security area”. If threats are not present, the President will rescind it or the Parliament can pass a resolution to terminate it.

The public and the government need to feel that they can sleep well at night. It is important that the republic is kept safe from threats like subversion, terrorism and espionage. Because of Singapore’s openness and multi-ethnicity, it is vulnerable to attacks. Good thing the government thought about ISA well.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *