Tuesday, February 7

Prevention of Crime Act to be extended to Sarawak, Sabah if amended


KUCHING: The Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (PCA) (Amendment and Extension) Bill if passed in the current parliamentary sitting, will be applicable to Sarawak and Sabah.

PCA was not applicable in Sarawak and Sabah as the law was passed in 1959 before the formation of Malaysia.

However if Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamid’s effort to amend it was successful the act would be extended to East Malaysia.

The bill is expected to be passed without difficulties as only a simple majority is needed and the ruling coalition presently holds 133 seats out of 222 total parliamentary seats.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar when contacted clarified that the amendment of PCA was not an indirect way to reintroduce Internal Security Act (ISA) which was abolished in 2011.

“The new proposed amendment to the PCA will not make it a new ISA.  It is a law with many safeguard mechanism.

“The police and minister have no final say. The courts will be the final arbiter of law when a person is aggrieved by its enforcement,” said Wan Junaidi to The Borneo Post here yesterday.

The Santubong MP pointed out that the Prevention of Crime Board which would be formed following the amendment of the PCA would be made up by those who are fit to be high court judges and they would not be from Home Ministry or the police.

Meanwhile, despite the multiple reiterations that PCA amendment was not a reintroduction of ISA, state PKR secretary See Chee How still believed that the amendment would bring back the essence of ISA which was initially enacted to fight communism.

“A new law should be introduced especially just to tackle serious and organised crime, then no one would object to it. We all want a proper law to tackle organised crimes like 20 over other countries in the world.

“Yet, our government is only coming up with the amendment of an old Act which has no specific reference to serious organised crimes but very general,” said See.

The Batu Lintang assemblyman stressed that the amendment of PCA if passed would back prevention detention, arbitrary arrests and evasion of judiciary scrutiny.

He further pointed out that since the amendments involved Sarawak and Sabah, there should be consultative effort with local legal experts or bodies such as Bar Council or Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) before tabling the bill but it was somehow conveniently overlooked by those proposing the amendments.

AAS chairman Azmi Mohd Hasbie when contacted said he had not been sent a copy of the draft of the proposed amendments nor was he consulted in any way with regards to extending PCA to Sarawak.

“Without reading through the proposed amendments, I can’t really comment on it,” said Azmi.

On the related matter of amendments of Legal Profession (Amendment) Act 2012 (Amendment) Act 2013 and Legal Profession (Amendment) Act 2013 which was tabled by Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri, the Batang Sadong MP clarified that as the Legal Profession Act was only applicable in the Peninsula and whatever amendments made would not affect both Borneo states of Sarawak and Sabah.

The amendments of Legal Profession (Amendment) Act 2012 (Amendment) Act 2013 and Legal Profession (Amendment) Act 2013 will allow foreign lawyers to practise in Peninsular Malaysia, provided that their entry does not exceed 60 days.