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Saturday, September 28, 2013

‘PCA’s 2 year detention is only a remand’

Nancy Shukri says the two year detention without trial will allow the police to conduct thorough investigation into a case.
PUTRAJAYA: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri today defending the amendment to the Prevention of Crime Act, which would allow two years detention without trial, said the 24-month term is only a remand period to allow the police conduct a thorough probe into a case.
The de facto Law Minister told a Home Ministry organised crime prevention forum that the purpose of the detention was to allow the police to conduct a complete probe into a case.
“About the word detention without trial, why don’t we get used to it by saying it is remand. In foreign countries, after they arrest a suspect, they do what? They remand him as well.
“Some say we should not detain the suspect but charge the person in court. It is easier said than done, because those who are shouldering the burden are the police.
“The amendment bill lays down specified terms for someone to be detained. It also gives time for the police to gather information, it serves as the preventive investigation period.
“This is how it is different from the ISA,” she said.
Nancy said the fact that the amendment also transferred the Home Minister’s power to issue a detention order to a three member panel showed that the government was sincere wanting to use the law only to fight crime.
“This is the best solution for the country for now. This law is not meant to arrest any of you. You can say anything for yourself. The government is not as bad as you think,” she said.
Her statement however drew immediate rebuttal from the Bar Council’s human rights committee co-chair Andrew Khoo, who said detaining someone for two years without trial cannot be deemed as remand.
“It is not a remand anymore, it is preventive detention. I am not in favour of the amendment, I think the police can work with the laws they have now,” he said.
He questioned the government’s rationale in pushing through the law when  Ops Cantas, the on-going anti-crime operation, has reduced crimes.
The former Bar Council president also said the three member panel was superficial as such a system existed even under the Internal Security Act.
“The (ISA) advisory board didn’t work then, it would not work this time as well because the system has not changed,” he said.
Khoo also criticised the denial of the detainees’ rights to seek for judicial review for their detentions as outlined in the bill.
“Aggrieved individuals should be allowed to express themselves in the court,” he said.

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