MCA 'no' to detention without trial

KUALA LUMPUR: MCA has opposed the 2+2 year detention without trial under the proposed amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA).

Its vice-president Gan Ping Sieu said the 71-day police remand order and current Acts were adequate to supervise a person suspected of having committed a registrable offence.

"We are not in favour of detention without trail (although) we could see the Government's efforts to strike a balance between the necessary police power to combat crime and human rights," he said at a press conference at Wisma MCA here yesterday.

Gan also said it was a shame that the Government did not include religious extremists and illegal moneylenders under the list of registrable offences.

"When we talk about fighting crime, these people are part of the crime scene and should not be left out," he said, adding that MCA legislators would raise the matter in Parliament.

MCA supports the setting up of the Prevention of Crime Board, Gan said, noting that the power to detain a person without trial would be transferred from the minister to a three-member board led by a leading judge.

Gan, who also heads the Crime Prevention Committee, said "sunset clauses" in the PCA amendment bill, such as the review of detention orders every five years and the annual report to the Government, showed good governance to ensure checks and balances.

He thanked the Government for accepting a few suggestions made by the party in tackling crime.

Among the suggestions were the introduction of electronic monitoring devices; the power to intercept communications, including restriction on Internet use by a registered person; and the protection of witnesses.

The Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation, meanwhile, said safeguards should be in place to make sure the changes proposed were used correctly.

"It is clear that the amendments are reflective of the serious commitment from the Government to tackling crime as well as the concerned voice of the public on crime, which is good.

"However, I also understand the worries of human rights groups, who are against controversial parts of the changes proposed, like detention without trial," said vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

He stressed that the rights of the accused should never outweigh the rights of a crime victim.