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Thursday, August 4, 2022

Ex-IGP: Police not biased in using detention powers


Former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan today denied that crime prevention laws such as the Prevention of Crimes Act (Poca), Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, also known as Sosma, have been used as weapons against politicians.

Speaking to reporters, he said that while it does “feel” like these laws are always used against politicians, they do not discriminate against those who are in power.

“It doesn’t matter who is a politician, not a politician, or an important person. As long as they commit an offence according to those laws, we (the police) will take action.

“We can’t say that politicians don’t commit offences, they do. So we take action on the offences that have been committed,” he added.

Musa (above) said this after a forum discussing the provisions under Poca at the Royal Malaysia Police College Kuala Lumpur in Cheras today.

Poca grants the police power to arrest and detain an individual without trial for up to 60 days, which could be broken down into preliminary arrest for 24 hours, an extension of 21 days with a written statement signed by a police officer and a further extension of 38 days.

Subsection 4(5) of Sosma grants the police special powers to hold individuals arrested and detained under the Act for up to 28 days. The Dewan Rakyat passed the motion to extend the enforcement of this subsection last week, despite objection from the opposition bloc.

Under, Pota an individual may be subjected to detention without trial for up to 60 days pending investigation into their involvement in terrorist activity.

Politicians being detained without trial under these Acts has been a longstanding issue, with Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah being one who was detained under Sosma for 10 days in 2016.

People at a candlelight vigil for Maria Chin Abdullah when she was detained under Sosma in 2016

1MDB critic Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer Matthias Chang were also detained and charged with attempting to sabotage the country’s economy under the same Act.

Several DAP and PKR members have been detained under Sosma as well including former Gadek assemblyperson G Saminathan and Seremban Jaya assemblyperson P Gunasekaran for their alleged support of the defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorist group.

Review Poca, Home Ministry told

Earlier, Musa was urging the Home Ministry to review Poca to reinstate powers to the police when investigating organised crimes.

“We want to protect and maintain the peace of the country. We don’t want these laws to be used to mistreat individuals.

“I plead with the Home Ministry to review these laws to reinstate the powers of the police force,” he said.

Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Abdul Jalil Hassan said that suggestions on how to amend the Act would be brought to the Home Ministry and the Attorney-General Chambers in their request for a review.

Back in April, the Federal Court ruled in a landmark judgment that a clause under Poca preventing judicial scrutiny on detention orders was inconsistent with Article 4(1) of the Federal Court and, therefore, was “void and of no effect".

Clause Section 15B stipulated that there shall be no judicial review of any decision made by the Prevention of Crime Board.

This board has the authority to issue detention orders - without trial - for a period not exceeding two years and may renew such detention orders.

Article 4(1) states that the Federal Constitution was the supreme law of Malaysia, and any law inconsistent with the Constitution shall be void.

This meant that the court was entitled to scrutinise more substantive matters, including, for instance, whether the basis for the detention is in accordance with the relevant preventive detention legislation as well as Articles 149 and 151 of the Federal Constitution.

Following the Act’s 60-day detention, the case would be heard by the Prevention of Crime Board which has the power to sentence the detainee to not more than two years, and may extend said detention if necessary, on grounds of protecting public order, public security or prevention of crime. - Mkini

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