KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 — An arrested person should not be forced to don lock-up attire that could cause prejudice against his case in court, retired judge Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah said today.
Mohd Noor, now an advisery board member with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), was weighing in on a row between fundamental rights advocates and the authorities on several prominent arrested people who have been forced to wear lock-up attire.
The former Court of Appeal judge was reported by news portal Malaysiakini as saying forcing detainees who have yet to be charged with any crime was against the Federal Constitution.
“So when taken to see the magistrate to seek further detention, to investigate further if the person committed any offence, at that point in time, the person has yet to be proven guilty.
“As such, [the authorities] should avoid making the [arrested] person wear clothes which could make the public perceive him as guilty,” he was quoted telling a news conference here.
Mohd Noor was reportedly asked if the MACC had breached the law when it took former Felda Global Ventures Berhad chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad dressed in its orange lock-up gear to a magistrate’s court hearing for a remand application last week.
Lawyer and federal Opposition lawmaker N. Surendran had claimed the MACC were in breach of Article 5 of the Federal Constitution on fundamental liberties because detainees have yet to charged or proven guilty at the time they are taken to court for a remand application.
However, the MACC and even the police have defended the practice of making detainees wear lock-up attire as their standard operating procedure as well as for security reasons.