Bloomberg Malaysia reported a story about the Royal Malaysian Police will start using the Prevention of Crime Act (POCA) 1959 to address the violent and serious crimes lately becoming more frequent. What is interesting about this report is that the reporter claimed to have sighted the internal Police memo on the subject matter.
Malaysia Plans Crackdown After Wave of Killings, Memo Shows
By Manirajan Ramasamy – Aug 18, 2013 12:00 AM GMT+0800
Malaysia will use a section of its Crime Prevention Act for the first time to hold suspects without filing charges in a crackdown on violence following a wave of killings, according to a copy of an internal police memo seen by Bloomberg News.
The police will use Section 105 of the act to detain suspects for as long as 24 hours without charging them, according to the memo. While it says the operation is likely to start tomorrow, it will probably begin sooner, according to a police spokesman yesterday, who asked that he not be named because he wasn’t authorized to comment.
The rise in violence is partly due to the abolition of the Emergency Ordinance in 2011, which led to 2,600 people being released from detention, the malaymailonline reported July 9, citing Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Prime Minister Najib Razak repealed the law in a bid to boost civil liberties.
“Gangsterism” must be addressed, the memo reads. The first phase of the operation will start in the Klang Valley, which includes Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur. Inquiry officers have been appointed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the memo states.
The police action comes after Najib vowed to introduce legislation to tackle a surge in crime that included the July 29 slaying of AMMB Holdings Bhd. (AMM) founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi. The prime minister’s coalition was returned to power in May elections by its narrowest margin since independence from Britain in 1957. Najib promised during his campaign to make fighting crime and corruption a policy priority.
Voters cited crime and social problems as their biggest concern after the economy, according to a survey of 1,018 people conducted in December by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research.
Calls made to Hamidi’s mobile phone yesterday went unanswered.
A 26-year-old man in the town of Kapar was killed Aug. 15 by a gunman riding the back of a motorcycle, a shooting police suspect is related to a gang rivalry, the Star newspaper reported, citing North Klang deputy police chief superintendent Jani Ahmad. In Dungan, a restaurateur was shot to death outside his eatery Aug. 13 during what police said was an attempt to steal his Toyota Hilux, according to the New Straits Times, citing Terengganu Criminal Investigation Department Chief Assistant Commissioner K. Manoharan.
This month there have been three shootings in the northern city of Penang, including one man killed at point-blank range at a traffic light, according to an incidents list compiled by the Star newspaper and confirmed by police. An unemployed man was killed and a woman injured in Kelantan state. There was also a shooting at the Thai border, the list showed.
A primary school clerk was killed when a package he took from the top of a relative’s car exploded in Kelantan yesterday, the Star reported, citing local criminal investigations chief Lai Yong Heng.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stanley James at email@example.com
If this report is true, then it is a good news that the Police is taking stern and decisive action against rampant serious crimes including shootings of late. It is believed that these crimes are directly linked to the 2,600 Emergency Ordinance (EO) detainees released and the restriction of over 6,000 persons condemned for ‘restricted residence’ were lifted and free to move around, since both laws plus the dreaded Internal Security Act were repealed when Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak announced this through a special Malaysia Day eve gathering at Angkasapuri, the night The Mole went live.
Even the Home Minister Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi admitted to this notion and has the statistics to prove the direct linkage of serious crimes including rampant shootings to former EO detainees and restricted residence persons.
In ‘due course’, home minister says of hushed EO stats disclosure
BY MELISSA CHIAUGUST 17, 2013
Biz Updates From PR Newswire
Datuk Zahid Hamidi speaking to reporters at the Persatuan Pengasih Malaysia’s Aidilfitri celebration at Rumah Pengasih, Off Lebuhraya Mahameru, Bukit Tunku today. – Picture by Siow Feng Saw
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 —
Media captains need to be properly “briefed” by the home ministry and police before the government can allow any disclosure of classified crime data involving former Emergency Ordinance (EC) detainees, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
The home minister insisted he had the figures in hand but urged for continued patience before making them public, despite the heat from activists and opposition lawmakers who demand he show proof to link the recent spike in violent crimes to the release of inmates following the repeal of the archaic law.
“I am going to invite all the chief editors, news editors and senior journalists to be briefed by KDN [and] PDRM,” he said in a news conference here, referring to the home ministry and the Royal Malaysian Police by their respective Malay initials.
“Then we will show you the statistics,” he said, and added, “… they need to understand first, the journalists will be called, in due course.”
Ahmad Zahid had drawn flak for his swiftness in blaming the hike in increasingly violent crimes, especially those involving firearms, on former EO detainees, in his pitch to retain preventive security measures such as detentions-without-trial in the face of the Najib administration’s raft of legislative reforms.Politicians from the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) opposition pact and human rights and crime watch activists have accused the minister of shooting from his hip without showing data to support his claims.
The recent wave of gun violence has caught Malaysians by surprise as Malaysia has strict gun control laws that allow people to own firearms only if they have a licence from the Inspector-General of Police.
Gun trafficking in Malaysia carries the death penalty or life imprisonment under section 7 of the Firearms Act 1971, while illegal possession stipulates a maximum 14-year jail term and a minimum six strokes of the rotan (cane).
Consorting with a criminal convicted of illegal gun possession also carries the same penalty under the Act.
On August 11, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi alleged that 2,600 former EO detainees have since gone on to form gangs with at least 10 members each, resulting in what he estimated to be 266,000 criminals roaming the country’s streets.
“According to the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), from the 2,600 released, they have at least 10 right-hand men, meaning there are 26,000 with the society,” he was quoted as saying in Mingguan Malaysia.
“These right-hand men also have at least 10 of their own right-hand men, meaning there are 266,000 people,” Zahid said, roping in these followers as allegedly having contributed to the rise of index crime.
In Parliament last month, Zahid said he had statistics to show that former EO detainees were responsible for most of the country’s recent cases of violent crimes, but declined to provide the data when pressed.
What is alarmingly not good is how a Bloomberg journalist has access to internal Police memo. Either it was recklessly made available for his sight or it was obtained through unlawful means.
Either way, the Police should investigate this report very seriously. This is a matter of breach of information security if not official secrets act. And this time, the breach is believed to be from the law enforcement agency which is supposed to be in charge of crime prevention and investigation, internal security and public order.
Bloomberg is an international wire giving a lot of global coverage on business and economic news. This report would simply compound to the effort in tarnishing Malaysia’s image to the international community. It is simply giving the picture that sensitive and highly confidential information are made available to foreign journos.