9 Oct 2013

PREVENTION OF CRIME ACT: Select outspoken panellists

THE government should refrain from appointing "shoeshine guys" to sit on the Prevention of Crime Board under the newly passed Prevention of Crime (Amendment and Extension) Act (PCA) 2013.

They should opt for outspoken individuals, besides those from the judiciary, among academicians and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The panel members should also be increased to five from three.

A panellist with legal knowledge would be able to upkeep justice, while an academician could provide a philosophical aspect to the law. NGO members will provide check and balance.

They are the ones who go to the ground to get feedback and know the sentiments on the ground.

The NGO members must have the guts to speak without fear or favour. They must be apolitical. 
I would like to offer myself for the post because I can speak my mind.

The board has an important role in the PCA as its members have the power to send a criminal on a two-year detention without trial and can further extend the detention period by another two years.

The government should consider including a provision in the act to allow detainees to periodically seek judicial review on a detention order.

We should allow criminals to challenge the decision. Otherwise, it is going to be hard for the people to accept the act, as it can be considered a human rights violation.

You arrest someone, and yet, you do not allow for any review on the decision; it can be a miscarriage of justice. Public sentiment is already 50:50 towards the act.

The government should also define the condition that it would not use the law against political dissidents. The moment the act is used against political rivals, a review process should take place in court.

Today's crime pattern is very different from those of yesteryears. Do not oppose for the sake of opposing.

 A shooting case happens almost every other day and it involves ordinary people. This is frightening.

On whether the police should increase crime investigation officers instead of enacting preventive laws, this may not be effective.

Changes take place every now and then. Today, the police may be well-equipped, but we cannot rule out the possibility that gangster heads are able to position themselves better using the Internet.

This is a real war against criminals. Therefore, the right law must be in place.

By : Tan Sri Robert Phang , Chairman,
Social Care Foudation

Source : PREVENTION OF CRIME ACT: Select outspoken panellists - Letters to the Editor - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/prevention-of-crime-act-select-outspoken-panellists-1.371604#ixzz2hCBAS7dY

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