Shukri: Govt may come up with Bill to replace Emergency Ordinance 

(The Star) – There are growing calls for stronger preventive action against criminals in the wake of disturbing crime incidents.

This follows concerns from the police and public over the rise in violent crime – which has been attributed partly to criminals being back on the street after the Emergency Ordinance was abolished in 2011 following criticisms that it was draconian and undemocratic.

Since then, nearly 2,000 criminals have been released.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri said a new preventive law might be considered if it could help lower the crime rate.

“We are studying how we can overcome this problem. If we need to have a new law, so be it,” said Nancy when asked in the Parliament lobby.

Former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said: “We need to have laws where we can take action and get the criminals or gangsters out of the community.

“The victims need protection and preventive laws can provide that,” he said.

He added that in the past, the police would use preventive laws to obtain evidence from the victims, especially in cases involving gangsterism and syndicates.

“Sometimes victims of crimes are afraid to give their cooperation as the cases involved gangsters.

“Preventive laws enabled the victims to give evidence without going to court … such action will then lead to preventive detention,” he said when contacted.

Musa said the concept of natural justice existed under the preventive laws, as there was an advisory board to review the cases to avoid biasness.

Several groups are also supportive of the call to have a new law to check violent crimes, provided safeguards are put in place to make sure there is no room for abuse.

Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye agreed that while there was a need for a new legislation for the authorities to deal with violent crimes, there should also be checks and balances to prevent abuses.

“Preventive laws are not meant to be short cuts into investigation of cases,” he said.

MCA vice-president Gan Ping Sieu, a lawyer by training, said getting the police to provide evidence to justify arrests and having avenues for detainees to appeal against their arrests, are among the mechanisms that should be put in place if the Government was seriously looking into coming up with a new preventive law.

“We are dealing with a different breed of criminals now.

“I feel there is a necessity for it (preventive law) as long as safeguards are in place against abuses,” he said.

Lawyer and MCA legal bureau chief Tay Puay Chuan cautioned that any new legislation must straddle between tackling crime and addressing human rights.