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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Take lesson on law before making “foolish remarks”, Gobind tells Home Minister

By saying that the Prevention of Crime Act had no provision for detention without trial, the Home Minister has proven to be a "shallow" person, said a DAP MP.
Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo (pic) said Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should take lessons on legislation from the Attorney-General before making "foolish remarks" about the proposed amendments to the PCA.
In a forum earlier today, Ahmad Zahid said that lawyers of those arrested under the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) can challenge their clients' detention in court.
Insisting that the proposed amendments to the law will not be the same as the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), which was abolished in 2011, the home minister said the PCA "does not allow detention without trial".
"There is still legal remedy for them. They can appeal to the High Court," he said.
Calling Ahmad Zahid's statement "laughable", Gobind clarified that there is a vast difference between a right to trial and a right to judicial review.
"A trial means a hearing which relates to the merits or reasons for detention. Will detainees have that, an opportunity to defend themselves, against the allegations levelled against them in court under the proposed amendments to the PCA?
"I would like to ask Zahid what trial he is talking about?" the MP said.
Gobind explained that the proposed amendments provided for the court to be allowed to review the detention from a viewpoint of whether or not the procedure in making the order has been complied with.
Noting that the provision was exactly the same as in the ISA and Emergency Ordinance (EO) which were abolished in 2011, Gobind pointed out that the AG, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, had also criticised it as an abuse of human rights, which was an affront to the Federal Constitution.
"He should have some guts and accept that the PCA amendments revert back to preventive detention which is detention without trial and deal with the issue head on," Gobind added.
On Wednesday, Putrajaya tabled the proposed amendments to the PCA to give it the power to detain hardcore criminals for up to two years without trial.
Ahmad Zahid immediately described the PCA and the related 10 Bills up for amendment as "transformation".
"You are wrong if you say it's draconian," he said in Parliament, countering opposition claims that the Act was similar to the repealed ISA and EO.
The proposed amendments exclude the provision of judicial review, except for procedural measures.
Presently, under the PCA, suspects can be detained up to 72 days. However, it is required that they be produced in court at certain stages during the 72-day detention. It was effectively used before the ISA was enacted decades ago.

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