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Thread: Law & Order: Powers to be given to panel: Home Minister

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Law & Order: Powers to be given to panel: Home Minister

    Minister of Excuses.

    Powers of detention to be given to panel: Home minister

    2:11PM Aug 11, 2013

    Ministerial powers given under four draconian laws would be given to a panel instead under new laws that would replace them to help avoid abuse, says Home Minister Zahid Hamidi.

    He said the opposition were concerned about abuses under the Internal Security Act (ISA), Sedition Act, Restricted Residence Act and the Emergency Ordinance (EO) because it gives powers of detention to the home minister.

    "The laws that will replace the four Acts will state that the powers would be given to panel members instead, and do not involve politicians who have become ministers.

    "That means that the panel can be comprised of professionals whether from the police, judges, or the Attorney-General's Chambers.

    "It is not on individual capacity but in the name of the committee that makes the evaluation," he was quoted in an interview published in Utusan Malaysia today.

    Thus far, of the four Acts, only the Sedition Act remains in force pending its replacement by the National Harmony Act.

    The other three have already been repealed with the ISA being replaced by the Security Ordinance (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), and the remainder do not have direct replacement legislations.

    In his interview, Zahid also said that several new clauses may be introduced into Sosma to strengthen it, but the report did not reveal any details about the amendment.

    When asked about crime, Zahid said the incidence of serious crime is on the rise, although incidence of crime in general is falling.

    He blamed it on, among others, the repeal of the EO and the subsequent release of its detainees who were detained without trial.

    Of the detainees, he said about 2,600 of them have at least 10 lieutenants, who in turn each have at least 10 followers. These are now at now at large.

    In addition, he said the police force needs more personnel and its equipment needs to be improved to keep up with the repeal of the EO and the Restricted Residence Act, but this has yet been done.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Crime law changes symptom of a failed state

    COMMENT The proposed amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 to allow detention without trial are symptomatic of a failed transformation programme by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's government to take the country into the league of nations that follow the rule of law.

    No other country that espouses adherence to democracy and human rights uses detention without trial laws to tackle crime.

    The reasons why this situation has come about and why the government has been helpless in implementing the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) perhaps point to more sinister factors involving skeletons in government leaders' cupboards. And the reason why organised crime has become so intractable in recent years points to rotten apples in the police barrel.

    We have had some hints of that recently. You will remember that after he retired, former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan (right) revealed political influences on the police force to release certain individuals. This IGP's former aide de camp, Noor Azizul Rahim, retaliated by accusing Musa of wrongdoings and silencing critics.

    I can't think of any other reasons for the impunity enjoyed by the police, despite the annual human rights violations relating to detentions without trial, deaths in police custody and deaths through police shootings. After all, the IPCMC was one of the recommendations by the Royal Commission on the Police in 2005.

    Suaram's Human Rights Report 2012 shows that deaths in police custody and deaths through police shootings continue unabated: There were seven deaths in police custody in 2010, 25 in 2011 and nine in 2012.

    Deaths through police shooting cases show 18 in 2010, 25 in 2011 and 37 in 2012. Between 2000 and 2012, there were a total of 209 deaths in police custody; between 2007 and 2012, there were 298 deaths through police shootings.

    The government and the police, with the assistance of the mainstream media, have recently made a big play of the proliferation of gangs and gangster-inflicted crimes in the country, blaming it on the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance (EO), which was intended for emergency purposes to save the life of a nation.

    Unfortunately, the EO was a convenient way for the police to rope in anyone they didn't like. This included respected members of parliament like Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, the MP for Sungai Siput, who was detained without trial along with five other PSM leaders in 2011, as well as suspected thieves and illegal lottery runners.

    Lessons from Hong Kong

    The government, police and the mainstream press have not asked the pertinent question: how did cities such as Hong Kong, Singapore and others tackle their triad problems without relying on detention without trial?

    We have a Societies Act that is obsessed with cracking down on any organisation that is not pro-BN and that is why Suaram chose to be registered under the Registrar of Companies. In places like Hong Kong, their Societies Ordinance and an Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance have been specifically enacted to tackle the triad problem.

    The Societies Ordinance outlaws triads in Hong Kong and imposes stiff prison terms and penalties for any person convicted of professing or claiming to be an office bearer or managing or assisting in the management of a triad.

    Hong Kong also established an Independent Commission Against Corruption in 1974. The agency targets brazen corruption within police ranks linked with triads, provides heavier penalties for organised crime activities and authorises the courts to confiscate the proceeds of such crimes.

    As a British colony, Hong Kong had the reputation of being one of the most corrupt cities in the world, with a cosy association between law enforcement agencies and organised crime syndicates.

    Nearly all types of organised crimes, vice, gambling and drugs were protected. Within three years, Hong Kong smashed all corruption syndicates in the government and prosecuted 247 government officers, including 143 police officers.

    Their success has been attributed to:

    • Having an independent anti-corruption agency, free from any interference in conducting their investigations;

    • Strong financial support;

    • Having wide investigative powers, empowered to investigate all crimes that are connected with corruption but with an elaborate check-and-balance system to prevent abuse of such wide powers;

    • Being highly professional in investigations, including video recording of all interviews of suspects; and

    • A strategy that includes prevention and education.

    Although Hong Kong is not totally free of violent crime, it is a comparatively safe place to live in. Comparable communities in developed Asia, like Japan, South Korea and Singapore, also have markedly lower crime rates than most Western societies, says aSouth China Morning Post report dated Feb 22, 2013.

    Poverty and inequality

    Social dislocation, inequality and poverty are known factors in crime. The destruction of the rubber plantation communities, growing inequality and marginalisation through racial discrimination have driven many into crime.

    Poverty and crime are clearly feeding on each other, and the government has to make this a priority in its professed transformation plan.

    The government should not be indulging in its usual wasteful exploits of spying on dissidents, harassing NGOs, detaining dissidents without trial, breaking up peaceful assemblies and such distractions from the serious work of tackling organised crime.

    This retrogressive Prevention of Crime Act Amendment Bill has put us in the league of banana republics where people run the risk of being detained without trial and where our society will never be at peace with itself...

    DR KUA KIA SOONG is adviser to human rights NGO Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    If you are tempted to believe this, remember that UMNO has consistently lied throughout it's existence. For that matter, UMNO is a lie as the original UMNO is dead and we are dealing with UMNO-Baru!

    Zahid: Opposition leaders support CPA amendments

    First Published: 7:31pm, Sep 28, 2013
    Last Updated: 7:31pm, Sep 28, 2013


    by Bernama

    PUTRAJAYA (Sept 2: The Home minister today claimed that the proposed amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) have received good response from opposition leaders.

    "Thanks to NGOs which gave positive opinions, and also thanks to friends in the opposition who are beginning to understand that the amendments to the PCA are meant to protect the people on the whole,” said Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

    "At the same time, there are still some parties who do not understand the need for, and importance of, the amendments, merely assuming that the amendments were to replace the Internal Security Act (ISA) which was abolished in 2011.

    "Several parties have voiced reservations on the amendments to the PCA, despite my statement that it was not a bill to replace the ISA. It is a bill to solely prevent crime," he said at a Crime Prevention Forum here.

    According to Ahmad Zahid, the amendments also limited the power and abuse of power of the minister, and on the other hand, gave power to a three-man board, one of whom must be a judge appointed by the Yang Dipertuan Agong.

    He had earlier explained that amendments to the PCA would also enable the police to carry out crime eradication and prevention more effectively, following the abolition of the Emergency Ordinance and the Restricted Residence Act 1993.

    At a media conference later, Ahmad Zahid assured that the PCA would not be used against politicians or parties with dissenting views.

    "The concern of the Bar Council, NGOs, as well as opposition parties is that the government may use the PCA to detain politicians.

    "The government has given its assurance that the PCA is 100% aimed only at criminals. It will not be manipulated to control, detain and jail parties with differing views with the government. It is only to prevent crimes," he said.

    The PCA amendment bill will be debated at the Dewan Rakyat on Monday.

    Read more:

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Gov't faces backlash over push for tough new laws

    Malaysia’s bid to bring back detention without trial and toughen a range of other laws has triggered a backlash from civil society groups who call the move politically motivated and a major step back for human rights.

    Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was due to debate the proposed changes in parliament today, justifying them as necessary to battle a rise in violent crime, as the government tries to push through the controversial bills this week.

    The proposed amendments appear to mark a reversal of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s steps in recent years to repeal draconian security laws, such as the Internal Security Act (ISA), that were sometimes used to jail government critics.

    They come weeks ahead of a ruling party assembly where Najib faces pressure to make concessions to hard liners, following a weak election result in May that cut the ruling coalition's majority, undermining the prime minister’s moderate agenda.

    "After the election they are showing their real colours," said Nalini Elumanai, executive director of human rights group Suaram. "It’s not because they want to curb crime. They want to stop the civil society movements, that's the real motive."

    The tougher laws come as Najib’s dominant United Malays National Organisation (Umno) struggles to retain its traditional grip on the multi-ethnic South-East Asian nation in the face of growing demand for more freedoms.

    Najib attempted to rebrand Umno after a dismal election showing in 2008, liberalising security laws and pledging to phase out privileges for majority ethnic Malays.

    But he is widely seen as having been pegged back by Umno traditionalists, particularly after May’s election, in which minority ethnic Chinese and most urban voters rejected the ruling coalition.

    ‘Wide open to abuse’

    The changes to the 1959 Prevention of Crime Act provide for a board made up of three members and headed by a judge to issue detention orders for up to two years that can later be renewed.

    The suspect has no right to legal representation, according to a copy of the bill seen by Reuters, and lawyers said there would be limited scope to appeal against decisions.

    In addition, the government is proposing amendments to the country’s Penal Code, mandating prison terms of five to 15 years for promoting a false national flag and up to three years for
    ‘vandalism’, which includes the display of banners or placards without proper permission.

    Judges’ powers of discretion in sentencing are curtailed in favour of minimum mandatory sentences.

    The new laws could be so broadly interpreted that they were “wide open to abuse,” said Andrew Khoo, co-chairperson of the Malaysian Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee. The Bar has said the changes are “repugnant to the rule of law”.

    Khoo (right) told Reuters, “I think the average citizen, rather than feeling safer as a result of these amendments, could actually feel much less safe.”

    Najib has denied the amendments mark a return to the days of the ISA, saying the increased powers were squarely aimed at tackling crime and would not be abused.

    “If the police were to arrest anyone, they have to convince the judge that the particular individual should be detained,” Najib was quoted as saying by state-runBernama news agency as he ended a week-long visit to the United States.

    “And we will make sure that no one will be victimised.”

    Ahead of the May election, government officials had denied crime had risen, despite public concern over a perceived increase in robberies and murders. It has since said that violent crime has spiked, although overall crime rates are down.

    “It’s become a law-and-order regime that I can see very easily sliding over into cases of going after people who are politically active,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch in Bangkok.

    “The liberal honeymoon period of Najib is over and now he’s basically thrown in with the conservatives.”

    - Reuters

    Related stories
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    'Pledge not to arrest politicians made on ISA, too'

    Revised PCA is not the new ISA, Najib tells critics

    Suhakam: PCA changes regressive, so defer Bill

    Will MCA, Gerakan vote against PCA, asks PKR MP

    Ambiga: Did gov't go against AG on PCA proposals?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Adamant activists 'force' dep minister to accept memo

    VIDEO | 1.44 mins
    The refusal of 16 activists to budge from the Parliament lobby paid off today when the deputy home minister relented and accepted their memorandum protesting proposed amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act 1959.

    Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar(wearing red tie), flanked by PKR's Gombak MP Azmin Ali, met the group less than 30 minutes after the sit-in commenced in the lobby.

    He cordially thanked them for their memorandum calling for the withdrawal of the proposals, which had been tabled for the first reading last week.

    Wan Junaidi also agreed to a follow-up meeting and a dialogue on the Amendment Bill which critics say will reintroduce detention without trial.

    Asked if the Bill would still be tabled for its second reading in the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow, Wan Junaidi said: "I cannot comment as the decision is not mine alone. I have not read the memorandum."

    Meeting the group earlier, Mohamad Sade Mohamad Amin, the Home Ministry’s parliamentary and cabinet secretary had said that neither the minister nor his deputy would meet the protesters.

    Told by the activists that they are sending the memorandum on behalf of the people, the home minister's press secretary Norzihan Thambi, who was present, retorted: "The Bill is for the rakyat too.”

    The absence of the minister and his deputy prompted the group to stage the sit-in, which the Parliament staff allowed on two conditions:

    • That Suaram coordinator Syurki Ab Razab removes a headband which reads: 'ISA Akta Zalim' (ISA is a cruel Act); and
    • That the activists sit silently while Parliament staff negotiated with the deputy minister to meet them.

    Suaram coordinator Syukri Ab Razab was almost manhandled by a guard when the activists decided to sit cross-legged in front of the national crest.

    Protesting this, lawyers Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and New Sin Yew defiantly said: "Parliament is a democratic space. This is the people's space."

    ‘Room for abuse’

    The activists included Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan, Gerakan Anti-ISA chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, Suaram executive director E Nalini and Centre for Independent Journalism executive officer Masjaliza Hamzah.

    Other notable participants were human rights lawyer Edmund Bon and Malaysian Indians Progressive Asscociation secretary general S Barathidasan.

    They were among 30 protestors who had marched less than a kilometre from the Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens where they had gathered, but were stopped in front of the Parliament compound by about 30 police personnel.

    Dubbing the Amendment Bill the 'Internal Security Act 2.0', the activists claimed that the proposals are unconstitutional as these restrict free movement, freedom of expression and the freedom to assemble, organise and own property.

    "The preamble of the Bill is too wide and opens room for abuse, as was done when the ISA was in force," their memorandum reads.

    "While Section 19A of the Bill appears to allow judicial review, we expect that the court will read Section 19A together with Section 15A which states that High Court review is only limited to procedural matters and not matters of merit."

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