Cops before crooks, home minister says in human rights debate

Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi noted that lawyers could get criminals off scot-free, while the police could be injured or even killed. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi noted that lawyers could get criminals off scot-free, while the police could be injured or even killed. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

TELUK INTAN, May 25 — The human rights of the police must take precedence before those of criminals to ensure the law enforcers are safe, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi insisted today in response to criticism over the government’s introduction of preventive laws.

The home minister noted that lawyers could get criminals off scot-free, while the police could be injured or even killed.

“As long as I'm in the government, I'll ensure that the human rights of the police are prioritised by the government,” Zahid said in a speech at a police event here.

“The ISA is gone. The EO is gone… whenever we catch criminals, they're released. When I brought the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) amendment, the police's powers returned,” he added.

Zahid was referring to the Internal Security Act (ISA) and Emergency Ordinance, colonial laws which were repealed by the Najib administration as part of a series of law reforms over the last five years.

Civil liberties groups have criticised the PCA as a violation of human rights.