Malaysia government withdraws six Bills

Malaysia government withdraws six Bills

KUALA LUMPUR - The Government has withdrawn six Bills in Parliament to allow for further fine-tuning of the proposed laws, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri.

The Bills withdrawn are the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendments) 2013, Evidence (Amendment) Bill 2013, Emblem and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) (Amendment) Bill 2013, Common Gaming House (Amendment) Bill 2013, Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2013 and Pool Betting (Amendment) 2013.

"The withdrawing of the Bills is to allow further fine-tuning after taking into account the views of various quarters," she said in a statement issued to the press in Parliament yesterday.

The Government, Nancy said, decided to withdraw the Bills after taking into account views from various quarters including those from Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat parliamentarians, non-governmental organisations and practising lawyers.

She said the review of the Bills, particularly the proposed amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code, was done in line with the Government's openness.

"The Government is taking an open approach to better the nation's legal system but at the same time, wants to ensure the rakyat's interests are not sidelined," she added.

Nancy, who is in charge of law, said the retraction of the Bills was done despite the fact that they were at the final stages of being deliberated on by the parliamentarians.

However, she stressed that the move did not mean that the Government was not serious in combating organised crime and would table more comprehensive amendments of the affected Bills.

Among the contentious amendments to the CPC is Clause 11 of the Bill, in particular Section 399B (1), with regard to expert evidence on the activities, structure, ritual, ceremonies, hand sign, insignia or characteristic of an organised criminal group or any other matters relating to an organised criminal group.

Also contentious are Clauses 265A, 265B and 265C of the CPC that allow witnesses to testify in secret, via recording and voice distortion, which is against the notion of a fair trial where an accused is allowed to challenge his accuser.

The Bills were withdrawn under Standing Order 62 by Nancy, Minister in the Prime's Minister Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim and Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan.

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