The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has urged the government to withdraw the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

In a press release, the CPA reiterated that any new process for drafting an anti-terror law should be transparent, accountable, and the product of a robust consultative process between all the relevant stakeholders and in adherence to international standards.

The CPA noted that the proposed ATA is the latest attempt to expand the power of the Executive President, contrary to the demands of the people to abolish the office, as evidenced most recently with the Aragalaya in 2022.

The CPA is concerned with the provisions relating to curfew orders, which are patently unconstitutional and which seek to further expand the power of the Executive President.

‘Despite the demands for greater political accountability and a change in governance, the proposed ATA entrenches powers with the executive, including broad powers to proscribe organisations, issue restriction orders and regulations, and stipulate prohibited places,’ the CPA said.

The revised bill of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act was gazetted on September 15, 2023. The CPA maintained that the revised bill continues to include problematic provisions, such as the overbroad framing of the offence of terrorism, authorising prolonged detention without charge, including extended remand periods, excessive powers granted to the executive to the detriment of the judiciary and fundamental rights, and perpetuating militarization.