KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 ― Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has criticised human rights defenders today, accusing them of defending criminals instead.
While launching his book on the Prevention of Crime Act (POCA) 1959 today, the deputy prime minister reportedly alleged critics of the law often masquerade as human rights defenders.
“They defend crime syndicates. They are wolves in sheep's clothing,” he was quoted saying by news portal Malaysiakini.
“They claim to defend human rights, but in court, they defend criminals accused by the authorities.”
Zahid’s book titled POCA Nafas Baharu Banteras Jenayah (POCA – A Fresh Approach to Combating Crime) comes in 315 pages divided into five chapters.
State news agency Bernama quoted Zahid saying POCA has gone through a series of amendments for improvement to make it more effective in combating crime, especially organised crime and crime by syndicates using force and violence, and to be in tandem with current developments.
Zahid said POCA was enforced in 1959 in Peninsular Malaysia to control and prevent organised crime by criminals, members of secret societies and other undesirable individuals who threatened national security.
He said it was “refreshed” through the POCA (Amendment and Extension) 2014, which was more effective in combating violent acts of crime and in balancing the law with human rights, and also in line with the maintenance of national security and peace.