Heated debate over Malaysia's crime act

Heated debate over Malaysia's crime act

Amendments to the Crime Prevention Act (CPA) to tackle organised crime took centrestage at Dewan Rakyat last week, with strident calls by Opposition lawmakers for the withdrawal of the proposed Bill before its second reading.

Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) chided the Government for bulldozing the law that allowed for detention without a trial, a law reminiscent of the repealed Internal Security Act (ISA).

Equally vocal in his protest was Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong), who questioned earlier assurances given by the Attorney-General that such preventive laws would not be reintroduced in place of the abolished Emergency Ordinance.

Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) lamented the limited time allotted for lawmakers to debate such a crucial law.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in defending the Government's move, said that the Bill would not be withdrawn but tabled with amendments at the final Committee Stage.

He said CPA is different from ISA as the powers to certify a suspect's detention were not at the discretion of the Home Minister, but rest with a Board, whose members were appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and answerable to Parliament.

He also insisted that there were safeguards in the form of judicial review of a suspect's detention, although Karpal argued that the courts' review was merely for procedural matters, and not substantive law.

There were also some light moments during the heated exchanges on CPA.

Outspoken lawmaker Datuk Bung Mohktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) drew laughter when he admitted to carrying a pistol due to his fear of fatal shootings.

He said he'd rather go out with his guns blazing rather than be shot dead unarmed by criminals.

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