The return of EO? No way, says SuhakamSuhakam has expressed reservation against suggestions to reinstate the Emergency (Public Order and Crime Prevention) Ordinance 1969 or the enactment of a similar law as an instrument for preventive detention.
In a statement yesterday, Suhakam chairperson Hasmy Agam (below) said while the Human Rights Commission recognises the need to preserve social order, the reinstatement of the Emergency Ordinance was retrogressive.
He explained that the law allowed for detention without trial and was against Article 8 (1) of the Federal Constitution and Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
"The increase in crime rates occurs in many other countries and is not unique to Malaysia. This, however, does not justify the use of retrogressive measures which would only move the country backwards in terms of its human rights record," he said.
Hasmy, a former representative to the United Nations, said Suhakam was of the view that existing laws, which requires a fair trial, were sufficient in handling crime.
"Suhakam also sees the need for the authority to enhance the effectiveness of its crime investigation, prevention and monitoring mechanism, as well as rehabilitation programme for former detainees," he said.
Check and balance
Hasmy was responding to an ongoing debate in some newspapers on whether the Emergency Ordinance be reinstated, or a similar law created, to address claims that many former EO detainees are returning to a life of crime.
Among others, the claim was made by the police and supported by a Universiti Sains Malaysia research team, led by associate professor P Sundramoorthy.
In a letter to The Sun, Sundramoorthy had proposed that a preventive law similar to the EO, with a stringent check and balance system which cannot be abused, be formulated.
"This law is not meant to be a shortcut for investigating criminal cases. It is meant to keep away violent gang members, recidivists and organised crime members who are adept at beating the criminal justice system," he wrote.
The Emergency Ordinance was repealed last year by the Najib administration as part of a reform effort, resulting in the release of some 2,000 detainees.
Although the move was hailed by human rights activists, there were suggestions it had contributed to an increase in crime, such as the recent spate of robberies at eateries in the Klang Valley.
EO repeal may have led to crime spike, says Pemandu