KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — Those leaving bags or personal belongings unattended at public places could be detained and charged under a Home Ministry move to beef up security in the wake of Tuesday’s bombings in Brussels.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the ministry was concerned by the recurrence of such incidents which eventually turned out to be false alarms.
“We are looking at imposing the law on those who create panic at public areas. Our actions will include detaining those leaving bags behind or behaving suspiciously,” he told Malay Mail.
“We can’t take any chances,” he said, adding offenders could be arrested under Section 268 of the Penal Code for causing a public nuisance.
The section states a person is guilty of a public nuisance if he does any act or is guilty of an illegal omission which causes common injury, danger or annoyance to the public or to people in general who dwell or occupy property in the vicinity.
It said action would be taken if the act causes injury, obstruction, danger or annoyance to people who may have occasion to use any public right.
The section also states a common nuisance will not be excused on grounds it causes some convenience or advantage.
Section 290 provides punishment of a fine not exceeding RM400 for the first offence. Repeat offenders may be jailed for up to six months or fined or both.
Nur Jazlan said the act of leaving behind baggage or personal belongings had been taken lightly.
He said in the last few instances, the owner had been called in, questioned and released.
“At most times, they leave their belongings behind innocently. But if this becomes rampant, we cannot just ignore it,” he said.
Nur Jazlan said Malaysians were generally not used to the “extra careful” culture practised by other countries, higher security alert and knowledge of security matters.
He said the ministry had always been vigilant and quick to address potential security threats.
He said the public should be educated on how not to cause a stir in public places by leaving their bags or belongings unattended.
Malay Mail recently reported the Home Ministry wanted to meet Transport Ministry and National Security Council officials soon on a single management system to deal with the changing security landscape at KL Sentral.
Nur Jazlan had said the ministry was concerned over the outdated security features at the 15-year-old terminal.