Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Malaysian Bar Supports the Attorney General in Rejecting Draconian Preventive Detention Laws

The Malaysian Bar welcomes and supports the statement made by the Attorney General that there is no need for any new preventive detention laws to replace the repealed Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 ( “Emergency Ordinance”).

The Bar agrees with the Attorney General that it would be illogical and bizarre to have a new legislation providing for preventive detention without trial with respect to crime, when the legislation dealing with terrorism and national security, that is, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (“SOSMA”) 2012, does not provide for such draconian measures such as preventive detention without trial.  A person held or arrested under SOSMA may only be held for a maximum of 28 days for investigation purposes, after which he must be released or charged in a court of law.

The Bar is against any proposal for new legislation that provides for detention without trial, for continuous preventive detention or renewals of such detention without trial by Ministerial order, and the use of ouster clauses that seek to exclude the right to the due process of the law and access to the courts.

Addressing the increase in the incidence of crime requires diligence, intelligence, abilities and the dedicated resolve of the police.  It is not about giving them more draconian powers.

The Emergency Ordinance was repealed in December 2011 on the initiative of Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, as part of his transformation and democratic reforms for Malaysia.  The Malaysian Bar urges those parties advocating for the reintroduction of preventive detention laws to refrain from seeking to reverse and undo the work of the Prime Minister in this regard.

Christopher Leong
Malaysian Bar

16 July 2013