KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — The government’s offer to adopt suggestions to modify the amended Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) only after it was passed shows that it knew the “draconian” changes were flawed to begin with, DAP lawmaker Gobind Singh Deo said.
The Puchong MP further said that soliciting suggestions to alter the law after pushing it through both the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara made a travesty of the august Parliament.
“This is most alarming. It appears that the Dewan Rakyat has been misled into passing a law which is most draconian although the bill still needed discussion and was therefore yet to be finalised.
“It is obvious that the [Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi] knows full well that what he pushed through in the Dewan was not only unconstitutional but also seriously flawed in many aspects. Yet, he went ahead and rushed the bill through,” Gobind said in a statement today.
Given the grave nature of the amendments to reintroduce detention without law, Gobind said the home minister should have informed Parliament that the then-proposed amendments were not yet finalised and subject to further amendments pending discussions.
Passing the law first and seeking feedback later meant the government was in a “dangerous and unfortunate” situation of unleashing a law with dire consequences despite knowing it was not ready for application, the parliamentarian said.
“So what will Zahid do now in the meanwhile? Is he going to put everything on hold pending finalization? Then why push it through in the first place? Was it a really all a drama to enhance his popularity for the Umno VP contest?”
Yesterday, Ahmad Zahid was reported as saying the Home Ministry will reach out to organisations unhappy with changes to the PCA.
“So, what I will do after this is that if there is any aspect of the PCA which is not satisfactory to the Bar Council and other NGOs, we can discuss it; and if further amendments need to be done to the PCA in the coming meeting of the Dewan Rakyat, then we will do it,” Ahmad Zahid said in an interview with The Star newspaper yesterday.
The Prevention of Crime (Amendment and Extension) 2013 Bill, was passed on October 3 despite protests from opposition lawmakers who accused the government of backpedaling on its promise for political reform by reinstating arbitrary detention powers.
According to the amendment Bills for the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code tabled for first reading last week, Putrajaya was aiming to put in stricter rules on gangsterism and grant wider enforcement powers to the authorities when rounding up criminals.
Putrajaya previously did away with detention without trial when the Internal Security Act and Emergency Ordinance were abolished in 2011 as part of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s pledge to provide Malaysians with greater civil liberties.