So the POTA has been passed in Parliament. What is it? It’s the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2015 and it was passed after being debated for more than 12 hours.
In essence, it is a law that is to ‘prevent the conduct or support for acts of violence involving terrorist organization of a foreign country and for the control of persons affected by such act’.
But it seems to be a very worrying bill because of the vagueness in it’s definitions and the absolute power it gives to the police and the authorities with disregard for the judiciary.
Some of the worrying points of the bill include the fact that it still means that the police can detain an individual without trial and just based on suspicion.
Also, there will be a ruling board headed by an appointed inquiry officer who seems to be very powerful and influential in determining what happens to the detained or suspected individual.
Another very worrying point is that there will be no judicial review allowed, which basically means that no court can change any decision made by the POTA authorities.
And most worrying of all is that although it says that POTA will not be used to curb political activity, the exact definition of political activity isn’t clear and can be debated very subjectively.
In fact, many academics and politicians (from both sides of the divide) have expressed that POTA will not be ideal in actually combatting terrorist activities. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]