PCA has all the characteristics of ISA!

by P Ramakrishnan
28 September 2013

It is worrying and troubling that the BN government has chosen to return to the days of darkness and abuse.

This is what it means when the government tabled the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (PCA) on Wednesday, 23 September 2013.

On the one hand, the BN government had repealed the Emergency Ordinance (EO) and Internal Security Act (ISA) with the Prime Minister guaranteeing over national television that there would be no more preventive detention.

On the other hand, this hypocritical government is now tabling laws that will bring back with a vengeance the same detention without trial along with the ouster of the court’s jurisdiction over this detention.

Instead of the Home Minister dishing out the detention order as was the practice in the past, now that infamous order will be imposed by a three-member Prevention of Crime Board for a period of two years. This can be renewed for further periods of two years in the interest of public order, public security or prevention of crime.

Whenever the government claims to act in the public interest, we have to take it with a pinch of salt. Inevitably, it has always meant to be in the interest of the ruling party to strengthen its grip on power and safeguard its position. It is the same ploy that they use to perpetuate their rule.

It doesn’t mean that, when this board is headed by a judge from the High Court, Court of Appeal or Federal Court, justice will be assured or dispensed honestly or with integrity. We have witnessed some startling judgments by some of these very judges that made no sense – even though judges are meant to be the guardians of justice.

We have been thoroughly disillusioned by the judgments of the courts concerning the political controversies involving the Barisan Nasional government. The recent election petitions and the judicial ruling in the Perak state’s shameful toppling of an elected government are cases that shattered our confidence in the judiciary.

Now, the question arises, who will be the other two members in the three-member board? Will they be some discredited politicians, who are usually rewarded with appointments to the Senate or as ambassadors – such appointments never fail to shock the nation into disbelief.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and others of his ilk can blatantly claim that the PCA and the ISA are not the same but the characteristics of the PCA are based on denial and deception just like the ISA.

Like the ISA, the PCA provides for detention without trial. Like the ISA, this detention can be renewed after the expiry of the initial two-year term.

Like the ISA, a PCA detention cannot be challenged in a court of law. There is no judicial review even if the detention is wrong and is a product of bad faith. The Act specifically bars a judicial review of any of the board’s actions or any judicial decision based on the board’s discretionary powers.

A registered person and witnesses appearing before the board for the inquiry are denied access to counsel and legal representation. It is crucial that they be represented by their lawyers so that their human rights are protected. This would imply that the authorities are hell-bent on putting away people who are seen as a challenge to their authority.

It is totally unacceptable that a registered persons is also denied legal representation when he is quizzed in detention by the inquiry officer. It is no secret that people who are questioned in detention are treated savagely and without any regard for their rights.

It is appalling that the Act provides for the board, inquiry officers or any public servant to withhold information in the public interest or for the safety of a witness, family or associates. In other words, any false information can be accepted without being refuted or challenged. This is most unfair and unjust and can easily lead to manipulation and abuse.

It is no comfort that the Act has a provision for the Home Minister to submit an annual report on all activities related to detention orders to Parliament. What fate will such a report face in spite of this assurance?

We recall there was a similar provision in the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act – but how many times were Suhakam reports formally tabled in Parliament and debated? What was the outcome of these reports? Based on how Suhakam’s reports were dealth with in Parliament, we have no faith that this similar provision in the PCA is meant to act as a check and balance against abuse.

There is little doubt that the PCA is politically motivated to curb the ascendancy of Pakatan Rakyat in Malaysian politics. It is the fear that it will be replaced in GE14 that is driving the BN to arm itself with this corrosive law to destroy the PR’s chances and hold on to power at all costs.

Malaysians can see through this evil plot – you bet!

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 29 September 2013 - 8:25 am

    Its not just that its “like the ISA”, there is nothing that it will not be in substance eventually. Zahid Hamidi is relying on the fact that UMNO is a party of excuses – they party gets literally rabid when their leaders come up with anything new on excuses even if its just the labels.

    Yes, Malaysian can see it BUT Hamidi is betting that most, especially UMNO’s core constituent just not as cynical as he is and won’t admit or act to it before he pulls off his “leger de main” or sleight of hands. If the pressure is off his party, he will be able to push the law through and after that, he really don’t care. Hamidi knows his party well and he is very confident of his cynicism.

  2. #2 by Di Shi Jiu on Sunday, 29 September 2013 - 10:47 am

    Hm, let me see now.

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and yet, it’s not a member of the Anatidae family??? :)

    Maybe this the same as when one has zero experience, lots of political connections, have done favours to others and then gets awarded a multi-billion ringgit project, it’s NOT corruption, right??

    OK, DUMNO/BN, got it.

    It all makes sense – not.

  3. #3 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 29 September 2013 - 11:59 am

    Listen. Listen. Listen.

    Correct. Correct. Correct.

    In Africa and elsewhere, these types of laws are called ‘Robert Mugabe Law’, mutated pieces of legislations.

    Under Mugabe, No Opposition (UMNO). Get it?

    Human Rights? What is that?

  4. #4 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 29 September 2013 - 12:06 pm

    Surprisingly, the government want to extend these oppressive legislations to Sabah and Sarawak.

    And there is total silence, no opposition, from the MPs from these two states. They must be very happy that they will be further oppressed, or they most likely have all been castrated.

    So stop complaining about Sabah and Sarawak losses in the 20 points and 18 points agreements. You allowed these to be ignored by your silence and inactions.

    You have all the opportunities now to stop these oppressive laws from reaching your shores. If you don’t vote them down, don’t blame others. Go on, teach Najib and his Geng a lesson.

  5. #5 by Cinapek on Sunday, 29 September 2013 - 1:05 pm

    “…There is little doubt that the PCA is politically motivated to curb the ascendancy of Pakatan Rakyat in Malaysian politics. It is the fear that it will be replaced in GE14 that is driving the BN to arm itself with this corrosive law to destroy the PR’s chances and hold on to power at all costs…”

    Absolutely!! It is clear as day what this UMNO/BN govt is trying to do. Under the guise of combating crimes and gleefully using this as an excuse, Zahid and company are slyly and insidiously trying to revive the ISA in another form to give them a tool to suppress PR for the upcoming GE14. They know they are losing their grip slowly but surely and is seeking desperate measures to cling on to power. Zahid and company can deny until they are blue in the face that this PCA is not draconian and will have safeguards against abuse. The Malaysian people were also given this assurance when the ISA and NEP was introduced. But we all know how they were abused and twisted completely away from their original intentions.

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 29 September 2013 - 1:21 pm

    One can always find justifications and reasons to have preventive laws. It is not the laws themselves – preventive or otherwise- that is the problem. It is persons who enforce and interpret the laws at their discretion, whether they do so with fairness justice balance and moderation, in short good faith with respect to civil liberties or the opposite – with selectiveness, arbitrarily, for private gain or favoritism towards certain people and ill will towards others especially political opponents. If they incline towards the former preventive laws can protect the community against law breakers, if the latter, preventive laws become a tool of so called law enforcers acting like law breakers themselves for oppression. So its not type of law but who enforces or interprets the law, their motivations, that count in the end.

  7. #7 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 29 September 2013 - 1:37 pm

    Nevertheless the infrastructure i.e. the laws, are put in place for the damage to be done.

  8. #8 by john on Sunday, 29 September 2013 - 4:42 pm

    Bumno already has ALL the elements in placed to ‘rule’ by default since ONE MamakKutty regime.
    Army, Navy, Police, Special Branch, special agents, etc ; AG; Govn’t Adm; Judiciary- correct-correct; The Ones Above Plolitics;ROS ; dll,,,propaganda-tandas/tundra ? semua, semua, in their control / pocket already.
    Is just that Bumno EGM is round the corner, so all these sandiwara, tokok, posturing, distorted / acting, gesturing, rhetorics (as always), ALL trying to stand-out to be elected, that’s all. And is during such time, they will act and speak like FOOLS ( eg. Moodin – ho, RM20mil is so, so for a stup blueprint ; Zahat guy speak thro’ his nose – ho, no la in fact, we’ll loose control instead,,, FOOLS ! themselves instead, etc,… )
    Think the sandiwara will continue with these morons around and still the ONE Mamak without shame speaking sh*t , when actual fact mainly for his own selfish interest and preservation.

  9. #9 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 29 September 2013 - 4:42 pm


    If Mukhriz deserve to be VP, then the one he should replace is ZAHID HAMIDI after all he is “smarter”..LOL..

  10. #10 by john on Sunday, 29 September 2013 - 5:17 pm

    Just cite Altantuya gruesome murder case as what kind of law we have ? eg.,, up now, immigration record deleted and still nobody business and play diam-diam !,,,,
    In fact we have all the laws is just that these MORONS are manipulating for their own interests and control. IS THESE MORONS OF Bumno that’s the main PROBLEM and without doubt One Mamak the main cause of it ALL we faced now .

  11. #11 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 29 September 2013 - 9:59 pm

    PCA and ISA are evil twin brothers.

  12. #12 by Noble House on Monday, 30 September 2013 - 4:48 am

    Can anyone remembers still the undertakings given by Tun Razak when the ISA Bill was first tabled in Parliament then? When happened, they say, is history!

    If detention without trial is allowed, it would have disastrous effect on the quality of policing. The competency of the police in conducting investigation speaks so much of its efficiency. The rise or fall of crime rate depends largely on the professionalism and quality of policing that should not be compromised. What that is needed should rightly be the IPCMC if this is the reason for such draconian law.

    Zahid’s statement is a blatant lie which contradicts in every sense of the word and his argument pale and archaic.

  13. #13 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Monday, 30 September 2013 - 8:29 am

    Remember this “W”, people?

    Hah, that is the shape of jibby tongue. Yes. It is forked right down the middle. Such tongues are capable of some really wicked tricks that we all are not capable of.

    One side re-enects what the other side abolishes. How neat. Yeah.

    Endless Possibilities.

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