Saturday, September 28, 2013

Say NO to the proposed new 'Detention Without Trial' law

All is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. If not, they can detain you without trial..

And guess what when you are being detained, you cannot challenge the 'REASONS' they use to detain you. Like the ISA, the new law says you can challenge whether procedures were complied with...

The newly-introduced Section 15A(1) explicitly states that no judicial review is allowed against the board's decision or findings in the exercise of its discretionary powers.

However, judicial review is still applicable to matters concerning the board's compliance with procedural requirements.- Malaysiakini, 28/9/2013, Home minister: What detention without trial?
Even after 2 Detention Without Trial Laws were repealed, there remained one more - the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act, and now they want to bring a NEW Detention Without Trial Laws.

As it is many in Malaysia, even before they are charged in court end up in 'Detention Without Trial' situations, deprived of their liberty. I know of a person who was arrested in connection of a 'curi baja' kes, and he was not a free man until he was charged and the court released him on bail almost a year later - this is so wrong.After the permissible period of detention after arrest ;apses (or nearly lapses), they hand you over to another police station to be 'arrested and detained' for investigation under another charge ...and so on - occasionally the resorted to EO (now repealed) for some days.. There really must be a law that provides victims COMPENSATION for their loss of liberty - when finally they are proven not guilty....yes, innocent.

Anyway, the introduction of this proposed new DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL law is unacceptable and must be opposed. [But sadly, many 'do not bother' until one day they or their family member/friend fall victim - so this really is the concern of all Malaysians, and we must OPPOSE laws that allow police to detain people without having to proof the guilt of the person in an open court before an independent Judge, and more importantly giving the accused the right to DEFEND themselves.

The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) issued a statement which is pasted below...


While reiterating its support for the Government’s continued effort to tackle serious crimes in the country, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) expresses its concern over the Government’s proposed amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act (“PCA”) 1959 as reflected in the Prevention of Crime (Amendment and Extension) Bill 2013 which was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat for first reading on 25 September 2013.

Having studied the Bill, the Commission opines that some of its provisions, and in particular those relating to detention without trial and legal representation, are inconsistent with fundamental human rights principles as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

While it is noted that the Bill proposes an amendment to Section 9(1) making it a requirement for inquiry reports to be submitted to the Prevention of Crime Board (Board) instead of the Minister, the Commission views seriously the proposed Sections 9(5) and 9A(2) that deprive the right of a person to legal representation as guaranteed by Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution and Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The Commission is also concerned with the proposed Section 7C which empowers the Board to issue a detention order against a person who has committed two or more serious offences,whether or not he has been convicted, and merely on the sufficiency of evidence. The Commission is of the view that this provision violates a person’s right to a fair trial and protection against repeated trials as well as the rights to equality before the law and to be considered innocent until proven guilty, as stipulated under Articles 7(2) and 8(1) of the Federal Constitution, respectively.

The Commission also expresses its dismay over the proposed Section 15A which prevents judicial review of the Board’s decision except on procedural matters thereby denying the right of the an aggrieved individual to access to a court of law with all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

In the Government's efforts to combat crime, it is important to ensure that laws that are enacted are progressive and not retrogressive in character, mindful of Malaysia's position as a sitting member of the United Nations Human Rights Council that requires it to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. The Commission therefore deems it important for the Government to defer the second tabling of the Bill and to conduct a review of the proposed amendments by taking into account the following fundamental human rights principles:

• That the detention must not be made arbitrarily;
• That the detention must be based upon grounds and procedures established by law;
• That information of the grounds for detention must be given; and
• That the right to fair trial and access to legal representation must be granted.

The Commission holds the view that consistent with the Government's stated aim of moving the country forward to attaining the status of a developed nation in the near future, it is imperative for Malaysia to demonstrate its full compliance with international human rights norms and to ensure meaningful engagement with various stakeholders in its law review and policy planning processes to which the Government has committed itself.



The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)
28 September 2013

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