Malaysia compensates politicians for wrongful jailing
AFPKUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia, in a rare out-of-court settlement, agreed Tuesday to pay an opposition lawmaker and five others US$63,000 after they were detained under a tough security law two years ago.
October 9, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
The six members of the Socialist Party of Malaysia were arrested in 2011 and imprisoned for almost a month under the Emergency Ordinance which allowed detention without trial, before a mass rally for electoral reforms.
Choo Chon Kai, one of those detained, said the government agreed to pay damages totalling 200,000 ringgit (US$63,000) in return for the dropping of a civil lawsuit filed last year for wrongful arrest and detention.
Prime Minister Najib Razak's government scrapped the Emergency Ordinance and other tough security laws in Dec. 2011 following criticism that they were abused to silence dissent.
But amid a recent surge in violent crime, the government has approved amendments to a 1959 crime prevention law that will once again allow detention without trial.
Najib has said the amendments will not be used against critics. But activists say they mark a return to the country's authoritarian past.