Friday, July 12, 2013

Zahid Hamidi, innocent until proven guilty in a court of law - not the police, not the Home Minister

Malaysians certainly do not want the Malaysian government or the police to detain (and keep in detention) any person who has not been charged and convicted by the Court. Do not forget that all persons are innocent until proven guilty.

If the police, prosecutors and the government cannot find sufficient evidence to prove a person is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, then the fault is with the police, prosecutors and the government - improve your investigation skills and capability - No more Detention Without Trial for a period determined by the Home Minister. 

Malaysia did good when it finally repealed two(2) Detention Without Trial laws - and it is embarrassing that our new Home Minister wants to bring back another Detention Without Trial law.

'Police Shoot To Kill' and Death in Police Custody of 'suspects' or alleged suspects is similarly wrong - for they are all innocent persons, remembering that all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. All such persons are innocent and they have been deprived not just of their liberty but also their lives..

A person is not guilty because the police says he is, or the Home Minister (the Executive) says that he is. A guilt of a person must be proven and determined by a Judge (the Judiciary).

Sadly, in Malaysia the police cannot be trusted - too many times have we heard lies. One example, Anwar's black eye... Can we trust the Home Minister? I do not think so? Guilt or innocence should be left to judges and  the courts.

It is sad that Malaysia did not even pay compensation for the hundreds..thousands who were denied their liberty and freedom by reason of being detained previously under the ISA and the EO. 

We really need a criminal compensation scheme that would pay persons for their loss of liberty that would apply to everyone, be it suspects arrest and detained during investigation, or persons acquitted by the courts. It is a great injustice to them and their families, and Malaysia should really apologize and pay a reasonable compensation.

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi 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).

NONEAccording to Zahid (left), a study found that the bulk of criminal activities in the country were masterminded by former detainees who were released following the repeal of the EO in 2012.

“I obtained the statistics, which were derived empirically, that in Selangor, 90 percent 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,” he said during a press conference in Selayang this morning...." - Malaysiakini, 11/7/2013, Zahid to furnish crime stats to prove EO needed

Instead, Mr Minister, you should be concentrating on improving the investigation skills of the Malaysian police - so that they can find and present sufficient evidence to convince our courts that a person is guilty.If you cannot do this, then resign and let us have more competent Minister who can do this. 

How is it that you can tell us that 90 percent of organized crime... surely, it indicates that you do know what is happening, but why are those involved in these organized crimes not being charged and tried? What are you waiting for? How can you be keeping track on organized crimes and not doing anything about it? As such, I would really doubt your data...better than saying that the police know and are allowing the continuance of organized crimes. 

Now, it seems that Malaysians cannot even get access to crime statistics - number of murders, armed robbery, kes 'ragut', rapes, theft - these were available on the police website but on my recent visits, it is not there. Malaysians deserve to know..(If I am wrong, tell me where the statistics are - the numbers not some vague 'index')


SUHAKAM’s response to the proposal to reinstate Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance (EO)

SUHAKAM is deeply concerned with reports concerning the increase in crime rates involving former EO detainees since the repeal of the EO in 2012 which has prompted the proposal by some concerned citizens, including academics and researchers,to reinstate the EO or to develop a similar preventive  detention  law to deal with elements that threaten national security and the safety of society in this country.

While SUHAKAM recognizes the need to address this issue in preserving social order, it is of the view that the reinstatement of the EO is a retrogressive step as any detention held without trial is against the Federal Constitution and basic human rights principles, particularly Article 8(1) of Federal Constitution as well as Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) both of which provide that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law.

The landmark decision by the Government, that was initiated by the Prime Minister, for changes in the law in accordance with the needs of contemporary society was indeed a victory for the champions of human rights --which we all are or should be as citizens of a country that aims to be a full functional democracy -- and therefore we should support that decision as we move forward towards joining the ranks of the developed nations.

The increase in crime rates occurs in many other countries and is not unique to Malaysia; this, however, does not justify the use of retrogressive measures which would only move the country backwards in terms of its human rights record. SUHAKAM is of the view that the alleged crime offences could be dealt with under the existing penal laws of the country including the Penal Code that allow for the suspected criminals to be charged through a public fair trial in Court. SUHAKAM also sees the need for the authority to enhance the effectiveness of its crime investigation, prevention and monitoring mechanism, as well as rehabilitation programme for former detainees.



The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)
27 June 2013

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