Monday, July 08, 2013
When the Emergency Ordinance (EO) was repealed in 2011, the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak announced that it had to be done away with as “technological improvements has rendered exile less then useful a deterrent to crime”.
In a speech to civil servants at the Razak School of Government in July 2012, he said that “in the old days, it was easy, if someone was bad, we just catch them and send them to places like Pasir Puteh, or maybe Jerantut. But nowadays, it is useless as no matter how far you send them, with their cellphones, they can still do their work (commit crime).”
In fact the Prime Minister went so far as to call for the Malaysian police must now change they way they work. He said that “now police must train themselves how to look for evidence.” Instead of just catching suspects and chucking them into EO detention, Dato’ Seri Najib asked the police to now provide evidence to charge them in court.
Earlier in April 2012, Dato’ Seri Najib also argued in his speech at the the installation of Sultan of Kedah Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong that “the Government believes that after more than half a century of practising democracy since Independence, Malaysians have reached a high level of maturity… In view of this, we are now ready to enter a new era where the function of Government is no longer seen as limiting freedom of the individual but, instead, of ensuring that the basic rights as enshrined in the Constitution are protected”.
However, now both the Home Minister, Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar are telling us that we need a return of the EO, or something similar to the EO with elements of detention without trial, in order to arrest rising crime in the country.
It appears that both Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi and Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar are telling both the Prime Minister and Malaysians at large that the Royal Malaysian Police, after being “pampered” by the EO for the past 42 years, are completely unable to “look for evidence.. and provide evidence to charge [criminals] in court”.
The Home Ministry appears to be fighting hard to reverse the political reforms put in place by Dato’ Seri Najib, by claiming that the rising rate of crime nationally was due to the lack of preventive laws to tackle these criminals and insiting that “the police must be given enough power” to deal with these “criminals”.
According to a Berita Harian report yesterday, Tan Sri Khalid also said that those who had criticised the police in its crime-busting capability should back this new law.
Malaysians are telling Tan Sri Khalid and all the supporters of the EO that criticising the police in its crime-busing capability is a call for them to improve their efficiency and professionalism. It is certainly not a call to provide the police with unreasonable powers to detain “suspects” without those accused for crime a day in court.
There have been many case of abuse of the EO in the past where youths in their teens were first detained for 60 days and subsequently banished to Johor, Kedah and Pahang separately for two years, simply for alleged motorcycle theft. These abuses and injustice occurs because the police force is so short handed in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), that they banished most of them to various detention centres throughout the country without ever completing their investigations, or collecting the necessary evidence to charge these suspects in a court of law. The police were in effect, a law unto themselves.
We must never let these incidents of injustice happen again. The Home Minister have announced that Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Paul Low and Nancy Shukri will lead in the drafting of the replacement EO Bill. We call upon both of these Ministers to strongly reject any attempts to insert vague clauses with allows the Police discretionary powers to detain a person for any period of time without a fair trial.
In this case, we strongly endorse the Prime Minister’s call that “the police must now train themselves how to look for evidence… Instead of just catching suspects and chucking them into EO detention”. The IGP should stop whining incessantly about the inability to throw any suspect he likes into detention and start whipping the Royal Malaysian Police into shape, particularly by undertaking the reforms recommended in the 2005 Tun Dzaiddin Royal Commission of Inquiry Report.