Civil Society Perspectives and
Responses to
Prevention of Crime and Penal
Code Amendments in Malaysia
Prema Devaraj
Aliran...
Process of passing these
laws…
1. Done in secrecy
2. Lack of consultation
3. Bulldozing through
Process of passing these
laws…
1. Done in secrecy
2. Lack of consultation
3. Bulldozing through
What is/was the government...
Government’s
Justification
• To strengthen the government's initiative to
crack down on organised crime
• Amendments will ...
In addition to PCA
amendments,
Penal Code
(amendment) Bill 2013

Prison (amendment)

Criminal
Procedure Code
(amendment) B...
Crime in Malaysia
Pre Elections

• Government says crime is
down.
• Drop in crime recorded
from 2009-2011 following
the la...
Home Ministry
Crime
Statistics *
The overall crime rates in the country
have decreased from 153,669 cases
last year to onl...
In tackling crime, the
focus should be on
• Improving police professionalism/reform the
force.
• Proper training (better i...
But instead…amendments
which
• Allow for preventive detention for 2 yrs- renewed
indefinitely PCA 19A
• Detention order ca...
…amendments tabled
cont’d
• Broad range of associations (harboring, consorting with, recruiting
persons, participating, ac...
These amendments
effectively…
Introduce provisions in the legislation which are
anti human rights.

Allows the state to av...
Government
Assurances
15 Sept 2011 PM announces the repeal of the Emergency
(Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinan...
Government assurances
I will never agree to preventive detention, I
am a strong advocate of the present laws
without preve...
Government
Assurances
With the PCA, you can’t go wrong. You can’t use it
against politicians unless, of course, the politi...
Government
Assurances
“……..we are not fighting politicians.

We are fighting organised crime…
We are fighting people who k...
Government
Assurances
Re Section 203A Disclosure of Information
Law Minister admitted that
•
the provision was too general...
Law Minister re PCA
amendments and public
concerns over the return of
detention without trial
"We will try our very best n...
Government Assurances
Government Assurances

Actually who is in
charge?
A Government U Turn?
Home Minister said that the government is willing to make further
amendments to the controversial Pre...
What is the
track record
on preventive
detention?
1987 Ops
Lallang
Activists from political
parties, parliamentarians,
civil rights leaders,
educationists, lecturers,
churc...
2007

2001

Were these
people threats
to national
security
Or
were we
witnessing
actions by the
state
to exert control

20...
2011- EO6
• PSM activists first detained
(with 24 others) under
allegations of weapons on a
bus

• Remanded for 7 days und...
How are we to view
Government assurances?
Some Responses
Statements/Press Conference
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Lawyers for Liberty
Proham
Suhakam
Suaram
Aliran
Malaysian Bar
Sabah Law ...
Protest in Parliament
Protest outside
parliament
• Ex detainees/Opposition MPs have spoken out against these
amendments
• YB Karpal Singh petitioned the
Agong not to endor...
While the concern over crime and
public safety is real,

Where are the checks and balances
needed in the current amendment...
What can civil society do?

Post election fatigue?
NGO burn out?
So many battles on different fronts
(TPPA, GST, deaths in...
In a nut shell…
Engage with government where
possible.
Raise awareness of the public/MPs.
Advocate principles of good
gove...
We have to help it bend towards justice
Be vigilant and persevere
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

PCA - Civil Society Perspectives & Responses

186 views

Published on

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
186
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
2
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

PCA - Civil Society Perspectives & Responses

  1. 1. Civil Society Perspectives and Responses to Prevention of Crime and Penal Code Amendments in Malaysia Prema Devaraj Aliran 12 November 2013
  2. 2. Process of passing these laws… 1. Done in secrecy 2. Lack of consultation 3. Bulldozing through
  3. 3. Process of passing these laws… 1. Done in secrecy 2. Lack of consultation 3. Bulldozing through What is/was the government’s intent?
  4. 4. Government’s Justification • To strengthen the government's initiative to crack down on organised crime • Amendments will result in heavier punishments and provide clearer provisions to tackle crime.
  5. 5. In addition to PCA amendments, Penal Code (amendment) Bill 2013 Prison (amendment) Criminal Procedure Code (amendment) Bill 2013 Bill 2013 Evidence (amendment) Bill 2013 Lotteries (amendment) Bill 2013 Security Offences Special Measures (amendment) Bill 2013 Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) (amendment) Bill 2013 Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons (amendment) Bill 2013 Common Gaming Houses (amendment) Bill 2013 Pool Betting (amendment) Bill 2013
  6. 6. Crime in Malaysia Pre Elections • Government says crime is down. • Drop in crime recorded from 2009-2011 following the launch of Reducing Crime National Key Result Area (NKRA) – due to GTP which allocated greater resources to patrolling and fighting street crimes. • Public concern blamed on sensationalisation by the media. Post Elections • Crime has increased. • Due to release of ex EO detainees
  7. 7. Home Ministry Crime Statistics * The overall crime rates in the country have decreased from 153,669 cases last year to only 111,020 cases till September this year. The statistics for crime on 2013 also reflected a continued reduction in overall crime rates since 2008. * Written answer to YB Er Teck Hwa (DAP-Bakri) Malaysiakini 29/10/13
  8. 8. In tackling crime, the focus should be on • Improving police professionalism/reform the force. • Proper training (better investigative skills) • More support and resources into improving efficiency and effectiveness (ie implementation and enforcement) • Support for victims. • Rehabilitation for offenders.
  9. 9. But instead…amendments which • Allow for preventive detention for 2 yrs- renewed indefinitely PCA 19A • Detention order cannot be challenged in court PCA S15 • Restricted access to legal counsel to only when accused gives evidence PCA S9 • Board/Inquiry Officer need not disclose facts or produce documents which he considers to be against public interest/compromise protection of witness etc. PCA 21A
  10. 10. …amendments tabled cont’d • Broad range of associations (harboring, consorting with, recruiting persons, participating, accepting gratification) with organised criminal group PC S130 – until the contrary is proven a person shall be presumed to be a member of an organised criminal group • Punishment for civil servants who disclose info (PC S203) • Accused & counsel can no longer see, hear or cross examine directly witnesses who make allegations against the accused (CPC, 265A, B ,C) • Service providers compelled to cooperate in the act of interception– no guidelines on interception/exempt police from answering questions re interception (SOSMA S6(2)) • Those remanded under PCA will be detained up to 60 days in police lockup/court house lock up (PA S7)
  11. 11. These amendments effectively… Introduce provisions in the legislation which are anti human rights. Allows the state to avoid its responsibilities in upholding basic rights and standards of fair trial. Allows huge scope for abuse of power and covering up of police incompetency.
  12. 12. Government Assurances 15 Sept 2011 PM announces the repeal of the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969, the Banishment Act 1959 and the Internal Security Act 1960 “No individual will ever be detained simply due to political ideology,” The PM envisioned a Malaysia where “peace and public order are safeguarded in line with the supremacy of the Constitution, the rule of law and respect for basic human rights and individual rights”.
  13. 13. Government assurances I will never agree to preventive detention, I am a strong advocate of the present laws without preventive detention… “I have full confidence that enforcement officers can do their jobs without having to rely on such draconian laws" He added that we should also adhere to the maxim that it is better to let more guilty people go free than to send an innocent man to jail. AG Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail July 16, 2013. Malaysian Insider
  14. 14. Government Assurances With the PCA, you can’t go wrong. You can’t use it against politicians unless, of course, the politician concerned is involved with the underworld or other criminal activities… In my mind, there is no way the PCA can be misused because it is very specific and focused solely on criminals. Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi The Star 21/10/2013
  15. 15. Government Assurances “……..we are not fighting politicians. We are fighting organised crime… We are fighting people who know how to organise crime sometimes better than the police….” "It is also important for us to understand that human rights need to be observed to ensure there's no arbitrary detention, no torture and the conditions of detentions are proper according to the human rights level," he said. …..However, I believe detention is the last resort and I am confident the police will not abuse that law," he said. Star 28/9/13 Paul Low defends Prevention Crime Act
  16. 16. Government Assurances Re Section 203A Disclosure of Information Law Minister admitted that • the provision was too general + • she would seek further revisions through the AGC Malaysiakini 23/10/13 • “It is because we are the implementers. Only when we are the implementers, we can see how serious the matter is……So I urge the opposition and everybody to understand us and give it a go first,” said the minister. FMT 22/10/13
  17. 17. Law Minister re PCA amendments and public concerns over the return of detention without trial "We will try our very best not to use that provisions under the PCA. We will look into other means of charging the individual under other existing laws. "I hope that is going to happen as we are also very concerned (about the possibility that) detention without trial will be abused. We hope the authorities... (will charge) the offender first," she said. • Malaysiakini 7/11/13
  18. 18. Government Assurances
  19. 19. Government Assurances Actually who is in charge?
  20. 20. A Government U Turn? Home Minister said that the government is willing to make further amendments to the controversial Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) after engagement with critics. According to The Star (17/10/13), Ahmad Zahid said the ministry will engage the Bar Council and NGOs unhappy with the recent amendments to the PCA passed in Parliament, following instructions from the prime minister. So, when/how is this engagement to take place? Before or after the law has been gazetted?
  21. 21. What is the track record on preventive detention?
  22. 22. 1987 Ops Lallang Activists from political parties, parliamentarians, civil rights leaders, educationists, lecturers, church workers, Islamic preachers, engineers, researchers, lawyers, trade unionists, and NGO - over 100 people – a threat to national security Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, P Patto, Lim Guan Eng, V David, Lau Dak Kee, Chian Heng Kai, Chan Kok Kit and Tan Seng Giaw; Mohd Sabu, Khalid Samad, Suhaimi Said, Mahfuz Omar and others …
  23. 23. 2007 2001 Were these people threats to national security Or were we witnessing actions by the state to exert control 2008
  24. 24. 2011- EO6 • PSM activists first detained (with 24 others) under allegations of weapons on a bus • Remanded for 7 days under Section 122 of the Penal Code (collecting arms with the intention of waging war against the Agong) • 6 re-arrested under the EO- as prime movers of BERSIH
  25. 25. How are we to view Government assurances?
  26. 26. Some Responses
  27. 27. Statements/Press Conference • • • • • • • • • • Lawyers for Liberty Proham Suhakam Suaram Aliran Malaysian Bar Sabah Law Association Advocates Association of Sarawak Joint Action Group for Gender Equality Bersih
  28. 28. Protest in Parliament
  29. 29. Protest outside parliament
  30. 30. • Ex detainees/Opposition MPs have spoken out against these amendments • YB Karpal Singh petitioned the Agong not to endorse the PCA (Oct 18 2013) • On Line Media and comments, bloggers • Public Talks being organised about amendments • Signature campaign/petition has started • Teater Bukan Teater – Bilik Sulit • Coalition of Malaysia NGOs (COMANGO) at Universal Periodic Review
  31. 31. While the concern over crime and public safety is real, Where are the checks and balances needed in the current amendments which can limit or stop abuses of power?
  32. 32. What can civil society do? Post election fatigue? NGO burn out? So many battles on different fronts (TPPA, GST, deaths in police custody, police shootings, corruption, politicisation of race and religion, EC, migrant workers, min wages, env, etc etc)? Basically fighting the same old regime
  33. 33. In a nut shell… Engage with government where possible. Raise awareness of the public/MPs. Advocate principles of good governance/human rights in Government.
  34. 34. We have to help it bend towards justice Be vigilant and persevere

×