The laws grant sweeping powers of detention, permit the use of secret prisons and encourage torture, enforced disappearances and other abuses.
If adopted, a vaguely worded draft decree will extend and deepen the already widespread censorship provided under the Public Emergency Regulations.
The 140 arrests are part of an announced crackdown on migrants, many of whom come from Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Nepal, who live and work in Malaysia without authorization.
Father Nguyen Van Ly, who is serving an eight year jail term for spreading "propaganda" against the state in 2007, was released for a period of 12 months on humanitarian grounds to receive medical treatment.
A new law bars all political prisoners, including detained Nobel Peace-prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, from belonging to a political party.