'Don't blame repeal of preventive laws' : Anwar

File photo of Anwar Ibrahim.

PETALING JAYA - The recent spate of shootings and serious crimes should not be blamed on the repeal of preventive laws, argued Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

"Even when we had the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Emergency Ordinance (EO), there were shooting cases.

"This should not be used as an excuse for the failure of the authorities to effectively deal with crime," he said at a press conference here yesterday.

According to Anwar, there were adequate laws to deal with serious crimes such as murder and drug trafficking.

"The failure to effectively deal with serious crimes should not be used as a means of introducing draconian laws," he said, adding that there were enough countries without preventive laws that were still able to deal with serious crimes.

He accused the Barisan Nasional administration of adopting obsolete thinking akin to former US president George W. Bush, who introduced the Patriot Act to deal with internal terrorism but resulted in innocent individuals becoming victims of the law.

On Saturday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi chided the Opposition for seeking greater freedom at the expense of public safety via the abolishment of preventive laws that had resulted in police becoming toothless when dealing with serious crimes.

On July 26, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that the Government will be tabling new preventive laws to deal with the rise in serious crimes.

Meanwhile, Anwar proposed that a bi-partisan approach be taken to deal with the issue.

"I propose that the Home Minister and Inspector-General of Police invite leaders of political parties and non-governmental bodies to sit down and discuss ways to deal with the issue," he said.

Anwar also suggested that the estimated 50,000 to 60,000 special branch personnel should be redeployed to fight crime, now that the general election is over.

He added that the police should put aside personnel who might be linked to syndicates, and use only those with integrity to fight serious crimes.