Internal Security Act, 1960
INTERNAL SECURITY ACT, 1960
Unlike newspaper and magazine publishing, book publishing is not considerably affected by this act. The Internal Security Act was drawn up to “provide for the internal security of Malaysia, preventive detention, the prevention of subversion, the suppression of organized violence against persons and property in specified areas in Malaysia, and for matters incidental thereto.”
From the aims of the act, “preventive detention” and “prevention of subversion” are significant to publishers. The Home Minister is empowered to detain any person if the detention is necessary to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the country. If an author has a tendency prejudicial to the security of the country, then the minister is empowered to detain him as a preventive measure. In addition, under special powers relating to subversive publications, the minister is empowered to prohibit the printing, publication, sale, issue, circulation or possession of any document or publication that:
- Contains any incitement to violence.
- Counsels disobedience to the law or to any lawful order.
- Is calculated or likely to lead to a breach of the peace, or to promote feelings of hostility between races or classes of the population.
- Is prejudicial to national interest, public order or security of Malaysia.
Under the same section, the powers of the minister may be extended so as: In the case of a periodical publication, to prohibit the publication, sale, issue, circulation, possession or importation of any past or future issue. In the case of a publication which has or appears or purports to have issued from a specified publishing house or other source, to prohibit the publication, sale, issue, circulation, possession or importation of any other publication which may, at any time before or after the date of the order, have or appear or purport to have issued from a specified publishing house, agency or other source.
A person is deemed to have committed an offence under this act if he prints, publishes, sells, issues, circulates or reproduces a prohibited document or publication. If convicted, a person may be fined not more than RM2,000 or imprisoned not more than three years, or both. A person who imports or attempts to import or abets the importation of any document or publication in contravention of the act may be fined not more than RM1,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both for the first offence.