Cops admit using preventive arrests after ban on confessions, says leaked US cable

(The Malaysian Insider) – A senior officer said in 2006 that police had to resort to using preventive detention after an amendment then to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) barred the use of police-obtained confessions in trying defendants, according to a leaked US cable.

The diplomatic note sent from Kuala Lumpur to Washington cited current Bukit Aman criminal investigation chief Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin as criticising the amendment that eliminated prosecutors’ use of police-obtained confessions in trying criminal defendants.

The cable leaked by whistleblower site Wikileaks and published on the Malaysia Today news portal quoted Mohd Bakri, who was then acting Sabah police chief, as saying that the amendment — which only allows for confessions made before a magistrate — “will hurt our ability to get convictions.”

“As a result, we’ll likely make greater use of (Malaysia’s four preventative detention laws), even though we know this will bring criticism from Suhakam and the NGOs,” he was quoted in the document.

According to the document penned by David Shear, then deputy chief of mission, the US embassy here believed in late 2006 that 700 to 1,000 Malaysians suspected of criminal activity were being detained under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) alone.