13 August 2013

Despite his active lobbying for fresh preventive laws now, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had been part of the same Cabinet that agreed to repeal such legislation not long ago, Datuk A. Kadir Jasin reminded today.

The former New Straits Times(NST) group editor-in-chief noted Zahid's bellyaching over the loss of these laws but said neither the minister nor his Cabinet colleagues could claim they had not been partially responsible for it.

"The question here, where was Ahmad Zahid and other Cabinet members when the suggestion to abolish the ISA, EO and Banishment Act was discussed?" Kadir asked in his blog here.

"Don't wipe your hands off by saying that the Cabinet did not discuss and debate the matter ... What are the tasks and roles of the Cabinet then?"

"Were they all yes men? It makes no sense," he added.

According to Kadir, the absence of the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA), Emergency Ordinance (EO), and Banishment Act 1959, which he said were "happily scrapped" by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, was likely the cause of the recent crime wave.

His remark follows what he described as frank admissions by some, including Zahid, that the repeal has been a "folly" and had instead brought harm towards Malaysia and its people.

Zahid and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had previously stirred controversy when they indicated that the return of preventive detention laws would help the police carry out their crime-fighting duties more effectively.

On Sunday, Zahid had repeated his assertion that the police force had lost its bite in the repeal of laws that once allowed them to detain suspected criminals without trial.

With violent crimes on the rise and suspicions linking the sudden spate of shootings to gangland turf wars and firearms smuggling, the Home Minister appeared insistent on the need for preventive detention as a vital aid to assist crime busters.

In the interview published byUtusan Malaysia’s weekend edition Mingguan Malaysia, Zahid said the overall crime rate had dropped but index crimes were increasing, attributing the rise of the latter to four factors.

He said the four factors include the release of the 2,600 EO detainees from the Simpang Renggam detention centre, and their hardcore followers and subordinates whom the police said hit a figure of 266,000 people.

Meanwhile, Kadir has called on Najib and other lawmakers to fix the problem by introducing replacements to preventive laws.

"If Najib, Cabinet members and MP  — whether from Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat — have stumbled, please admit your mistakes and turn back," said Kadir. 

"If they still care for 99 per cent of the citizens who love peace and need protection, they must quickly draft new and stricter laws to replace the acts that they have abolished."

Putrajaya had abolished the EO laws and the ISA, both of which allowed for preventive detention without trial, a feature that has been criticised by its detractors for allegedly infringing on human rights.

On July 26, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak gave his assurance that his administration would be “mindful” of human rights when drafting new laws to combat crime.

However, Najib had earlier this month pledged Putrajaya’s commitment to consider “anything” the police needs to fight serious crime, noting the sudden rise in gun-related incidents lately.


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