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Saturday, 24 August 2013


By V.Anbalagan (MI August 15, 2011)
For the first time, Putrajaya’s top lawyer has publicly stated that preventive detention had actually failed to check the rise in violent crimes but the police were “addicted" to using the law.
Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail (pic) revealed that many suspects were detained without trial and freed later but public order and security did not improve in the country. "This is because detainees returned to their former activities after they were freed," he told a forum organised by the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation in Petaling Jaya yesterday.
However, he said, the police had relied on the Emergency Ordinance (EO) to lock up suspected hardcore criminals, as they were simply "addicted to it". Since the repeal of the EO, Bukit Aman has been calling for the reintroduction of a law which would allow detention without trial.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been at the forefront of a movement to reintroduce a similar law as a way to fight the rise in violent crimes in the country. Since May 2013, there have been more than 35 shootings nationwide which has claimed at least 24 lives.
Under the repealed EO, a detainee could be held in a detention centre up to two years. The Home Minister could renew the detention order for another two years and repeat this cycle for an indefinite period.
Gani told the forum that the authorities must erase the records of detainees three months after their release from detention under the EO and that simply meant there was nothing much the police could do after that period. “We will be infringing the law if we, for example maintained their fingerprints," he said.
Relating how the EO came into being, Gani said it was not passed by parliament and was never intended for permanent use. “It was promulgated by the King on the advice of the executive following the May 13 riots in 1969.  "The EO was introduced to meet the situation then as there were loss of lives and property in a span of few days following the May 13 racial riots," he said.
Gani said 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. Gani said there are many laws, including the Penal Code that could be used to arrest and prosecute those suspected of crimes.
"We have used existing laws to prosecute notorious criminals like Botak Chin and pirates in Sabah in the past," he said, referring to one of Malaysia's legendary gangsters. Wong Swee Chin, popularly called Botak Chin for his short-cropped hair style, was one of the most notorious gangsters during the 1970s and was infamous for committing daring daylight armed robberies.
Gani said he believed in the principle that one was innocent until proven guilty and a better way to deal with suspects were to charge them in court. "Preventive laws are an abuse to human rights and personal liberty as enshrined in our Federal Constitution and this guarantee must be safeguarded at all costs," he said, adding  that the international community welcomed Putrajaya's move to dismantle the EO and the Internal Security Act.

Friday, 23 August 2013


Some reflections by Datuk Dr Denison jayasooria,

Secretary General, Proham. Former member of Royal Police Commission

& also a former human rights commissioner with SUHAKAM

 Q1. Has the last 10-15 years of policing been successful? How can we - police, business and civil society - help maintain security?
DJ - Police have taken major steps to strengthen community policing with increased police visibility in local communities, assigning police to schools as liaison officers and undertaken crime prevention awareness work. Also the cooperation with MCPF is a good example.

They have facilitated networking with Rukun Tetangga‎ (neighbourhood watch) and residential associations on gated communities and greater community participation especially in urban areas.
However they have not been very successful in street crime or addressing public perception and also on gang related crime especially organized and serious crime.

One major concern is when the public make a report on some crime, police feedback is weak and lacks a personal touch. It was different in the past when we had sergeants who played a key role in keeping in touch with local residents especially in small town and rural neighbourhoods. Feeling safe needs local police on the beat talking to people in the neighbourhood or visiting a family who had lodged a report on what has happened to their case.
Now days’ the policemen drive around in the car or motor. There is very little personal touch and people do not really know their neighbourhood police and vice versa. This can be improved. For example in the neighbourhood I live often there is a police man or two under a pondok(tent). They do not talk or acknowledge anyone. But if they start being friendly with the neighbourhood people and getting to know the locals there will be a stronger rapport between local communities and the Police.

Q2. Is our forensic lab being utilised and do our police have forensic skills for evidence gathering?
DJ- There is a very good forensic team at the Police Training centred in Cheras. Some of the officers have done their Phd and are really professional. However this is not wide spread nationwide. There is a need to have a very good forensic team at every district police headquarters. The POlice lack the professional manpower and equipments to address serious and organized crime.

It is said if a murder takes place and if one expects the central team to rush over, very often the crime scene might be disrupted and valuable evidence disturbed by others before the IO and forensic team arrives.
The former Royal Police Commission made many recommendations in their report regarding this and the federal government must strengthen this unit with adequate personal, well trained and experienced. Malaysia must recruit more non police professionals so that the investigative team can be a multi-disciplinary team (chemist, psychologist, criminologist, lawyers, computer experts etc). We must strengthen CSI teams. The salary package has to be reviewed too if we want the best in investigations especially in ‘evidence based investigations’.

Q3. With the recent spate of deaths and wounds by guns, the police have pointed to former EO detainees as probable culprits. The public has been scared into thinking that preventive detention laws like the EO need to be re-introduced. Do the criminals have an upper hand or should we be looking at how to improve police investigations and intelligence gathering?
DJ- Preventive detention is not the answer and to detain without trial this is a direct violation of human rights. The core of our justice system is a fair trial – a suspect or a charged person must be brought to trial in an open court system. Therefore, the key question to ask is why is the police unable to gather enough evidences on suspected criminals they already know. The former EO detainees have detailed case files. If they know who is doing what, why are they not able to bring them to open trial.

Police have not given us the break-down of how many of the former EO’s are actually involved in crime now. How many of them they arrested and tried to charge and why they could not gather the evidences needed? Police have not explained why when the EO was repealed in 2011, why no one was put on police supervision as they had the powers to do so. This would mean that a former EO detainee could not come in contact with another former EO detainee if under Police supervision order. If they did they would violate the law and they can be imprisoned for this new offence. Furthermore those under supervision cannot be associate with any gang activities - funerals or initiation ceremony where there are clear signs of gang related activities.
The Minister of Home Affairs has not explained how many officers he has appointed or not appointed as inquiry officers on suspects in serious crime who are put on police supervision since the repeal of the EO. The Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) provides for the Minister to appoint anyone other than the police as inquiry officers. The Minister could appoint lawyers with criminal & legal expertise or others or any qualified person who could assist in this process

These provisions are in the Prevention of Crime Act. Why were these options not followed as there are legal provisions and institutional framework? Under the PCA police can remand the suspect for a first 14 days and subsequent 28 days for investigations and another 28 days. This is secured after 24 hours through judicial review through the courts. There are some checks and balances as both the courts and prosecution is involved including the Ministry of Home Affairs before a person is put under supervision.
Therefore the approach must be towards enhancing the investigative capabilities of the police. The approach must also be multi prone one as root causes has also to be addressed such as urban poverty and equalising opportunities from a human rights framework

We can take a hard stand on crime but we must also address the contributing factors to why people get into serious and organized crime including gangs. Addressing these factors are equally important and these are related to socio-economic factors such as educational and training opportunities.
Q4. Is corruption in the police force a contributory factor to the crime rate?

DJ- The Royal Police Commission report did indicated that corruption was a major issue. Gangs and those in serious and organized crime have lots of money and we must addressing policing and corruption.
This is why the police commission proposed an independent police commission to investigate abuse. While we have the EAIC, the public does not have much confidence in this and since the formation of EAIC they have not been very proactive. Policing the police is very important. This must be done through better police internal supervision as well as an independent – external oversight body.

My recommendation is for the Federal Government to establish a special taskforce on serious organized crime and gangs with members from the police PDRM, KDN, Suhakam, former police commission members, MCPF, PROHAM to review the situation and take short term and long term measures
While the task of crime control is the role of the police, we also must recognize that all of Malaysia society must play a supporting role in addressing crime and ensuring the criminals are behind bars through the formal legal system. There can be no short cuts and any short cut would mean we are not serious in addressing the root causes and eliminating the crisis we are now in. Taking a tough stand on crime and addressing the root causes through human rights framework is the best way forward for modern Malaysia especially as we aspire to attain the 2020 vision.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Proham: Cops need to do more to tackle serious crimes

Although community policing has been strengthened, the police have not been very successful in addressing street and serious crimes, according to Proham. Its secretary-general Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria said although police must be credited for facilitating networking between Rukun Tetangga and the National Unity and Integrity Department, the major concern was that feedback was weak after a police report was lodged.
He said police personnel were also lacking “personal touch” as was the case previously when sergeants would interact with residents. These days, he said such officers moved in vehicles.
Dr Denison said as the police tackled crime, Malaysians should play a supporting role in ensuring that criminals were behind bars through the formal legal system.
Dr Denison will be among seven panellists at a public forum organised by Asli and the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation on Saturday on “A Review of Current Legislation and other Measures to Fight Crimes Effectively”.
The forum, held with the support of the police and the Home Ministry, will make recommendations to the authorities on countering crime. Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will open the forum. Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail will deliver a special address.
Other panellists are Federal CID director Comm Datuk Hadi Ho, Bar Council Human Rights Committee co-chair Andrew Khoo, International Islamic University Assoc Prof Shamrahayu A. Aziz, Pemandu senior analyst Farah Intan Burhanuddin, USM Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy and Federal Crime Prevention De­­partment Director Comm Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob.
Those interested to attend can e-mail
Star Press August 21, 2013