Monday, August 26, 2013

Home Minister's Tall Tale Justification to Revive Emergency Ordinance (EO)


On July 11th, the Home Minister Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claimed he will present statistics from a recent study on crime in full at the next Parliament session to justify the need to revive the Emergency Ordinance (EO), to allow the Police to place suspects under detention without trial for 2 years.

He said “I obtained the statistics, which were derived empirically, that in Selangor, 90% of organised crimes were carried out by ex-detainees who were released from Simpang Renggam where they were held under the EO. I will present the statistics and the study in the Dewan Rakyat in the coming session, the September session, to prove the need for the EO.”

When pressed again for statistics and evidence last week of his allegations on the August 17th, Dato’ Zahid Hamidi continued to insist that he had the figures in hand but urged for continued patience before making them public.

He provided the excuse that media captains need to be properly “briefed” by the home ministry and police before the government can allow any disclosure of classified crime data involving former Emergency Ordinance (EO) detainees.

Instead, it is now the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail himself who has provided the concrete evidence that the Minister was giving cock and bull stories to justify the reinstatement of EO-like laws.

Ghani informed a forum by the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation yesterday that “even after the repeal of the EO in 2011, there was no evidence from the 1,567 investigation papers submitted that violent crimes were committed by former detainees”.

The Attorney-General didn’t even tried to mince his words to say that there was “only some” or “very little” evidence of former detainees committing these crimes. He said “there was no evidence”.

Tan Sri Abdul Ghani was unapologetic in saying that the police had relied on the Emergency Ordinance (EO) to lock up suspected hardcore criminals, as they were simply "addicted to it".

Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi must now own up to making up ficticious claims about how 90% of organised crimes today are being carried out by ex-EO detainees. These claims never held water in the first place because if the study is already concluded, and he already have in his possession the study, why does he need to wait 2 months before the report is presented to the Parliament?

However, if you read into Dato’ Seri Zahid’s statement, one can only deduce that it is completely oxymoronic. If the “study” even exists, then surely for a shocking 90% of the crimes to be identified as being carried out by ex-detainees who were released from Simpang Renggam, these “criminals” would have been identified, arrested, investigated and possibly even charged already. But if they have been arrested and investigated – and there have been very few reports of such, then how come crime is still rampant and the Police still needs the EO?
In fact if Dato’ Seri Zahid’s allegation that 90% of these crimes were committed by former EO detainees were true, it actually doesn’t “prove the need for the EO”. On the contrary, it only proved that the police force to be totally incompetent.

Unlike Dato’ Seri Zahid who seems to have trouble coming up with concrete statistics, we have shown using past published police statistics have shown that the EO was completely ineffective in fighting rising crime. For example, the Malaysian crime index was rising rapidly from 2003 to 2008. At the peak, with the crime rate rose by 34.0% from 2004 to 2007. During this period, the EO was readily available at the Police’s disposal and yet, crime was seemingly unstoppable.

However, despite the EO repeal at the end of 2011, the Police and the Home Ministry were claiming victory in the fight against crime, with the crime index declining by 7.6% in 2012. Hence, based on the above official crime statistics presented by the Police themselves, how can the Home Minister, Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi, now claim that the cause of rising crime is almost entirely due to the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance?

With the damning evidence by the AG, we call upon the Home Minister to heed Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s advice when he announced the repeal of the EO, 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”.
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