Archive for July 9th, 2013

Panacea to reduce crime?

— Lim Sue Goan
The Malay Mail Online
July 08, 2013

JULY 8 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made a legal reform pledge on the eve of the Malaysia Day in 2011, which was indeed a sign of democratic progress. However, the legal reforms have been questioned. Would the government backtrack?

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi refuses to support the abolition of the 1969 Sedition Act. At the same time, Home Ministry and the police blame the abolition of the Emergency Ordinance (EO) for causing the deterioration of public security and thus, the government is developing a special preventive law similar to the EO.

It was a right move for Najib to announce the abolition and amendments for some draconian laws, as these undemocratic laws had violated human rights and fundamental freedom. They were also accused to have been used against dissidents.

For example, student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim; Tamrin Ghafar, son of late former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Ghafar Baba; Anything But Umno (ABU) leader Haris Ibrahim and three others were charged with sedition in May. Also, six Socialist Party leaders were detained under the EO.

In fact, as early as in 2005, the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) Report had proposed the abolition of the EO as the Act was “outdated and might become a tool to infringe fundamental freedom”. The EO allowed for 60 days’ detention without warrant or trial, depriving detainee’s right to seek legal defence. Therefore, the announcement to abolish the Sedition Act and the EC was in line with public opinion. The authorities should not resurrect the laws, regardless of whatever excuses. Read the rest of this entry »