LETTER | The Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) urges our new Pakatan Harapan government to, at the upcoming 1st Parliamentary session beginning July 16, to table bills repealing the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca) and all remaining detention without trial laws.
Thereafter, the right to a fair trial will be a reality for all in Malaysia. No more will anyone be subjected to arbitrary detention and/or restrictions without first being accorded the right to a fair trial, and sentenced by court after being found guilty.
Laws that allow the exclusion of normal evidential requirements and criminal procedures like the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) need also to be repealed fast.
Now, thousands of persons are still victims of these draconian Laws, that deny victims even the right to even challenge the very reasons for their arrest, detention and/or restrictions – because these laws also specifically deny the court’s right to judicially review the reasons these laws were even used in the first place.
It has been almost one month, and there has still nothing done to forthwith release all victims of these detention without trial laws. Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin really must make this a priority, as the majority of the victims of DWT laws are Malaysians.
Note, that Poca now allows, following amendments done by the previous Umno-BN government in 2014 and 2015, for any person who have committed any Penal Code offence to now simply be denied a trial and just be detained/restricted indefinitely under this law.
It would be just as easy to detain politicians now out of power with these laws, and they will not be able to challenge it.
When Malaysian voted out Umno-BN, what we wanted was justice and rule of law, so we certainly do not want such laws to even exist, let alone, be used against anyone anymore in this new Malaysia.
Note that being arrested detained and/or restricted under these laws is not a sentence of the court after being found guilty and convicted. All these victims can also at any time in the future still be charged, tried, convicted and sentenced again for the very same alleged ‘crimes’ for which they are now being (or had previously been) detained and/or restricted.
In the past, there may also be possible ulterior motives for the use of these trials, which may also include corruption, other ulterior motives and/or even the ‘protection’ of other guilty parties.
It also encourages, incompetence and inefficiency amongst the police, enforcement agencies and even prosecutors. No need for proper investigation, or the need to acquire sufficient evidence, to prove to the court that a person is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
Many in this new Pakatan Harapan government, including Anwar Ibrahim, Mohamad Sabu, Lim Kit Siang, and Lim Guan Eng, have personally experienced detention and injustices when they fell victim to such laws in the past, and as such, the immediate repeal of all these draconian laws must happen fast, during the first sitting of Parliament.
The home minister and our new attorney-general, Tommy Thomas, must really make this a priority now. Harapan acted speedily in moving to get a royal pardon for Anwar Ibrahim, it is hoped that this same determination is shown to other Malaysians and others who continue to languish under these draconian laws.
Likewise, other laws that impede freedom of expression, opinion, peaceful assembly and freedom of the press including that draconian Sedition Act 1948 must be repealed at the first sitting of Parliament.
Recent investigations commenced by the police under the Sedition Act and such anti-freedom laws, is just another obvious reason why such laws must forthwith be repealed, for if not, it will continue denying Malaysians the very fundamental freedoms and justice that we all fought for, when we ousted the long-standing oppressive Umno-BN government, and put in place this alternative new government who promised us justice and freedom in Malaysia.
Delay is not an option, and excuses like a need for ‘further study and/or review’ could suddenly emerge from even Harapan or its leaders, now that they are now in government, and such draconian legislations could now be used against their opponents and critics.
The silence of Harapan parties and leaders, when the draconian Sedition Act 1948 was being used by the police in the recent cases of A Kadir Jasin and Hishamuddin Rais is a serious concern.
As such, Madpet urges the Malaysian government to not dilly-dally and to immediately repeal Poca, Pota and all detention without trial Laws, the Sedition Act and all other draconian laws that suppress freedoms including freedom of expression, opinion, dissemination/sharing of information, peaceful assembly and press freedom.
CHARLES HECTOR is writing on behalf of Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet).
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.