World

Malaysia revives detention without trial with new anti-terror law

  • In this Wednesday, March 25, 2015 photo, Malaysia Police special force unit aim their weapons during an exercise against a terrorist attack at a police training camp in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia revived detention without trial when lawmakers approved an anti-terror law Tuesday, April 7, 2015 that the government said was needed to fight Islamic militants, but critics assailed as a giant step backward for human rights in the country. (AP Photo) MALAYSIA OUT, NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE

    In this Wednesday, March 25, 2015 photo, Malaysia Police special force unit aim their weapons during an exercise against a terrorist attack at a police training camp in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia revived detention without trial when lawmakers approved an anti-terror law Tuesday, April 7, 2015 that the government said was needed to fight Islamic militants, but critics assailed as a giant step backward for human rights in the country. (AP Photo) MALAYSIA OUT, NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Wednesday, March 25, 2015 photo, Malaysia Police special force unit tries to break into a bus during an exercise against a terrorist attack at a police training camp in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia revived detention without trial when lawmakers approved an anti-terror law Tuesday, April 7, 2015 that the government said was needed to fight Islamic militants, but critics assailed as a giant step backward for human rights in the country. (AP Photo) MALAYSIA OUT, NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE

    In this Wednesday, March 25, 2015 photo, Malaysia Police special force unit tries to break into a bus during an exercise against a terrorist attack at a police training camp in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia revived detention without trial when lawmakers approved an anti-terror law Tuesday, April 7, 2015 that the government said was needed to fight Islamic militants, but critics assailed as a giant step backward for human rights in the country. (AP Photo) MALAYSIA OUT, NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE  (The Associated Press)

Malaysia has revived detention without trial after its lower house passed an anti-terror law that rights groups say is a giant step backward for human rights.

The government says the measures were needed after it arrested 92 Malaysians so far this year suspected of supporting the Islamic State militant group. This includes 17 people detained Sunday, whom police say were planning to rob banks and attack police stations and army camps to obtain weapons.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act bill was passed by lawmakers in the lower house Tuesday, with 79 votes in favor to 60 against. It allows authorities to detain suspects indefinitely without trial and the decision cannot be challenged in court.

Critics say it was a revival of the Internal Security Act that was repealed in 2012.