Media Statement by Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 17 July 2013
DAP fully supports the Attorney-General’s Position Against Preventive Detention
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has given his unequivocal opinion yesterday that he “will never agree to preventive detention".
Tan Sri Abdul Gani further stressed that “the existing laws are sufficient to tackle criminals”, and that “it is better to let more guilty people go free than to send the innocent to jail”. He cited laws which included the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), Prevention of Crime Act, the Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act.
The DAP fully welcome the Attorney-General’s position on this matter just as we supported the move by the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak in his move to repeal the Emergency Ordinance (EO) at the end of 2011.
We are fully against the move by the Home Minister, Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi to bring back the Emergency Ordinance or laws which involve detention without trial. The Home Minister has claimed that he has statistics from a recent study on crime which justifies the need to revive the EO, to allow the Police to place suspects under detention without trial for 2 years.
He claimed that according to the study, 90% of organised crimes were carried out by ex-detainees who were released from Simpang Renggam where they were held under the EO.
We have written earlier to dismiss the Minister’s claim as a figment of his imagination and challenged him to produce the report immediately. We have also shown using the Police’s own statistics that despite the EO, the crime index rose the fastest to its peak in 2008. At the same time, despite the EO’s repeal at the end of 2011, the Government has insisted that crime rates were down in 2012.
However, even if in the hypothetical scenario that his allegations are true, the solution isn’t about giving the powers to the police to put people into detention without trial but instead to beef up and improve the police force to be able to charge them in court for their crimes.
It is certainly fair for Malaysians to ask, that if the police force isn’t sufficiently competent to investigate and charge a criminal for his offences, then why should we believe that they will be sufficiently competent to send only those who are “guilty” to detention centres without a fair trial?
Therefore, we would like to call upon the Home Minister and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to accept the Prime Minister’s advice that “now police must train themselves how to look for evidence.” Instead of just catching suspects and chucking them into EO detention, Dato’ Seri Najib asked the police to now “provide evidence to charge them in court”.
Instead of whining like cry babies losing their pacifiers, the Police must start to lose their dependence on the EO like a crutch. Instead both the Home Minister and the Police must immediately focus the crime-fighting efforts on the following:
- Start shifting 22,000 police officers from non-crime-fighting division to crime-fighting duties as recommended by the Tun Dzaiddin 2005 Royal Commission of Inquiry. This is because less than 9% of the police force are placed in the criminal investigation department. Instead “internal security force” such as the Federal Reserve Unit, the Light Strike Force and the General Operations Forces forms 31%, while the Administrative, Management and Logistic Units form 40% of the police force.
- The Police force must also reallocate its officers to urban centres. Currently despite the fact that urban centres are more crime prone than rural areas, the former receives proportionately less allocations than the latter. For example, in Petaling Jaya city, the police to population ratio is 1:470 despite the fact that the national ratio is 1:270.
- The Home Ministry must also support the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission as recommended by the Royal Commission of Inquiry, to help improve the professionalism and effectiveness of the Police force and regain the confidence and trust of the people in the force
With the rejection of the EO by the Attorney-General, we hope that the lobbying for its return by the BN hardliners will end. Countries such as Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the Western countries are able to keep crime at very low levels without unjust laws on preventive detention. We believe that Malaysia can be equal to their achievements as long as our Police force makes crime-fighting their primary objective, and by improving their effectiveness and professionalism.