web counter The Madness of MokcikNab: Snatching Away the Rule of Law
The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Snatching Away the Rule of Law

I was hoping to start my blog without sounding so Jeff Ooi-like, but things like this sometimes surface like matter from a backed up lav.

From www.thestar.com.my >>>
KUALA LUMPUR: The police have begun using the Emergency Ordinance (Crime Prevention and Public Safety) 1969 against snatch thieves early this year.

Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Noh Omar said the police had begun arresting those suspected to have committed the offence for 60 days after which the Internal Security Minister could decide to detain them without trial in the Simpang Renggam detention centre for two years.

“If the police is convinced that the suspects had committed the offence, they could be arrested under the ordinance,” he said in reply to Datuk Goh Siow Huat (BN – Rasah) during question time in Parliament yesterday.

Now, I have no sympathy for snatch thieves - my husband and I once made a futile attempt to help a woman whose handbag was yanked off by two parang wielding goons on a bike (brave but not very clever) and my own mother almost became a victim herself, had she not put a penyapu lidi to good use. There will be no tears shed for these latterday highwaymen, especially when their acts result in the loss of a human life.

However, to invoke the Emergency Ordinance might seem like using a hatchet to remove a fly from a friend's head. It's overkill. It's reactionary. It's saying that the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code can't be trusted to put away common criminals. And it doesn't solve the real problem - which is the right of citizens to walk in the streets without the fear of being accosted by bandits. We don't live in the times of Groo (okay, maybe only a few understand that reference - let's just say the times of Groo embodies extreme lawlessness)and there should be something that civil society and protectors of the law can do to solve the problem. Like beefing up the police force. And getting the police to act on reports of snatch thefts even when they do not involve a head-line creating death. I read somewhere that less than 20 percent of snatch theft cases were eventually resolved, and it is quite likely that the incident my husband and I witnessed would have been no more than a tick in statistics. Resorting to the Emergency Code might grab attention for its severity - and I suspect it is this show of gravity that is the impetus for the move.

My worry stems from the fact that the government is wont to use statutes that would allow authorities to sidestep the normal requirements of natural justice. Like the right to a fair trial. It may seem okay now when applied to a snivelling parang wielding goon, but what if it snares an innocent man? I may have slept through law school (slept, as in dozed - I swear the sex I had did not contribute in any way to my degree) but I think I can still sense when something's not right. Sending a suspect to Simpang Renggam is an easy way out, and I do hope the Deputy Minister of Internal Security was only using his announcement as a ruse for buying time before coming up with a real solution.


okay ler.. you sound like a Pillay tho..
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