Denison Jayasooria & Kuthbul Zaman Bukhari
PERSATUAN PROMOSI HAK ASASI MANUSIA
Society for the Promotion of Human Rights
IntroductionThe pro-democracy and pro human rights statements by the incoming Prime Minister in 2009 were initially viewed in positive light. We appeared to be embarking on the road to greater compliance with international human rights norms and standards. However the strong call made by the Police and sections of the political elite in 2013 for special Police powers to detain for long periods without open trial has raised many concerns and dented the initial euphoria.
The call for reintroduction of preventive laws (detention without trial) was articulated as a response to the rising crime rate, violence, and gang membership. It was alleged that the repeal of the Emergence Ordinance made it difficult for the Police to effectively discharge their crime prevention role.Proham issued three press statements and hosted two Roundtable (RTD) discussions on this theme. Datuk Kuthbul Zaman, a Proham Exco member who was a member of the Police Commission and who was for a period Chairman of the Bar Council, acted as the Proham resource person providing legal arguments about the reintroduction of preventive laws.
The first discussion focused on whether the Police needed preventive laws (detention without trial) to address serious crime in Malaysia. Some argued that it is necessary to return to an Emergency Ordinance (EO) type of legislation in order to address the rise in crime in Malaysia.The second discussion focused on the proposed new legislation, i.e. the Prevention of Crime Bill 2013. This bill was passed by Parliament after an extended debate in Parliament.
This Proham compilation documents the key findings of the RTDs which worked on the principle that two key objective must be met: (1) public law enforcement must be carried out effectively and (2) ensuring public law enforcement must comply with human rights norms and standards.It is our hope that this report will facilitate further discussion in strengthening the role of the Police in crime prevention through effective investigations. We advocate a tough stand on crime. At the same time we call on the Police to be an institution which defends human rights and justice.
The fight against crime is a joint effort. We must support the Police to enable them to do their work effectively. We are confident this is possible with checks and balances. It does however require bigger allocations of human resources, funds, equipment and facilities for strengthening the capabilities and capacities of the Police without the need for preventive legislation.
Proham takes this opportunity to thank all the speakers and participants at the two Roundtable Discussions. Proham also thanks the Law Faculty of University Malaya for co-hosting the July 25, 2013 discussion. Appreciate the role played by Ms Susan Tam, a free-lance writer who assisted in preparing the two RTD reports and to Mr Rama Ramanthan for his assistance in the preparation of this document.Proham hope that this documentation will put into the public space the issues and concerns for greater human rights compliance by enforcement agencies in their role in crime prevention and control.
Datuk Dr Denison JayasooriaProham Secretary-General
Jan 25, 2014
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