Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Set up a bipartisan parliamentary select committee to study the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code



Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP fro Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 12th April, 2015
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Set up a bipartisan parliamentary select committee to study the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code
On the 3rd of April 2015, eleven new bills were tabled in Parliament for approval. One of the bills was the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) D.R. 9/2015    2015    Rang Undang-undang Kanun Tatacara Jenayah (Pindaan) 2015.
Three days ago, the second and third readings of the amendments to CPC were however deferred following heavy criticisms from both government and opposition MPs.
It was good that BN MPs had taken the right stand in opposing the amendments.

I had part in the debate and raised a few issue of public concern. I had first questioned why the bill was only tabled a few days ago, thus hardly allowing MPs time to understand the detail workings, meaning and effect of the bill.
I said the amendment to Section 282, which requires the Court to impose a consecutive sentence if a person is convicted at one trial for any two or more offences, was against the rules of natural justice.

Parliamentary sittings time table for 2015 was already out in public domain way back last year. So the relevant Ministry and its legal officers should be in the know of the time table. There was therefore no reason for them to give such short notice for MPs to study all the 11 bills.
Further, the contents of the bill were not even discussed with stake holders like the Bar Council and NGO's. Why was there a sheer lack of consultations with interest groups?
Many of the provisions of the of the proposed amendments were  very much in draconian in nature and contrary to accepted human rights values. Many of the amendments were vague. The provisions also took away the discretion of the Judges and encroach into the province of the independence of the courts.

The tabling of the CPC showed clearly that the Home Minister wanted to bulldoze it through Parliament simply because the government has the majority. Such attitude reflects the government’s treatment of Parliament as mere rubber stamp.
But the Minister made a wrong decision as even BN MPs spoke against the amendments.
MP for Kinabatangan Datuk Bung Moktar Radin who is well known for being dogmatic about BN political stand said the Parliament is not a rubber stand and he went on to say the back benchers will not blindly agree to all amendments just because they are in BN. A few BN MP s subsequently spoke against the amendments.
Seeing the “revolt ”by BN MPs, the Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi subsequently announced the withdrawal of the bill.

DAP welcomes the decision withdraw the bill.  Presently the Attorney General Chambers through Parliamentary Drafting Committee formulates all laws in our country. Thus the need to establish a Law Commission to formulate laws must be looked into and done the soonest possible.

As for the withdrawn CPC, the government should set up a bipartisan parliamentary committee comprising MPs from both divide to study the amendments. For his correct stand in opposing the draconian amendments, I am prepared to suggest that Datuk Bung Moktar Radin be the chairman of the proposed select committee.


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