Bar against move to resurrect any law similar to EO

(The Star) – The Bar Council is against any move to resurrect any law similar to the Emergency Ordinance (EO), which was repealed two years ago.

Council president Christopher Leong said the current crime situation had nothing to do with the abolition of the EO.

“The EO was used to detain syndicated criminals.

“What we have now is an increase in snatch thefts, house burglaries, stabbings, and robberies at ATM machines and restaurants. These crimes are not as a result of the repealing of EO,” he said.

He said the EO was never about detaining such criminals and pointed out the police have sufficient investigative abilities to address the current crime situation.

“We are not in favour of the EO being resurrected in the shape or guise of some other laws,” he said.

Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN- Ayer Itam) said all angles and possibilities should be looked into to find a proper way to tackle crime.

“We must find the right mechanism. The enactment of a new law to replace EO can still be argued. Perhaps there can be other ways, including having more stringent policies, enforcement and manpower,” he said, disagreeing that the repeal had caused crime to spike.

Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli (PAS-Kuala Krai) said the problem did not lie with the repeal of the EO but the failure of the criminals’ rehabilitation process.

Criminologist Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat denied that there was a link between the abolishment of the EO to the recent spate of violent crimes.

“Factors in the spate of violent crimes include the level of moral decay, a higher threshold of violence tolerance through media portrayal, social desensitisation and individualisation of norms,” she said, adding that there was also not enough police personnel to cover a wide geographic area.

Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) secretary-general Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria said serious police work was necessary, such as undercover operations, a better informer system, more professionals in investigation teams and better witness protection programmes.