Pakatan is telling us that the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) is actually the ISA reincarnated.
Yet more than a quarter of its MPs failed to turn up in the Dewan Rakyat to block the passing of the bill yesterday/this morning.
The opposition has 89 Members in Parliament. Only 66 Pakatan MPs were present in the House to vote against the PCA.
MCA objects to something (urm, not sure what) in the bill — see its vice president’s statement below. But did the Chinese party MPs use their 7 votes to block the relevant sections of the bill which the MCA claims that it objects to? I guess not.
PCA amendments: What checks and balances?
MCA vice president Gan Ping Sieu’s press conference last week is reported in the party website, titled ‘MCA supports amendments to PCA except detention order without trial‘.
The contentious section of the PCA to which the MCA objects is the section that allows detention of up to two years plus another two years without trial.
Following the proposed amendment, this power of ordering the detention will be transferred to a three-member board led by a judge appointed by the YDP Agong, explains Gan.
“Pointing out that the PCA had introduced “sunset clauses,” Ping Sieu drew attention to the amendments which inserted a review of detention orders every five years and the annual report to the government, thereby showing good governance to ensure check and balances.”
Earlier we were told that the PCA allows a detention order of up to two years plus another two years without trial. That makes four years.
Now Gan tells us that the bill provides for a review every five years. Sorry, I don’t get him.
Does this provision of “review every five years” actually imply that someone who has been detained four years might conceivably be subjected to a further two-year extension during his 4th year of detention and awaiting the 5th year when his case can be put up for review?
What status on judicial review?
Furthermore, Gan tells us that the “newly-introduced Section 15A(1) explicitly reads that no judicial review is allowed against the board’s decision or findings in the exercise of its discretionary powers”.
This is confusing:
“Nevertheless, Ping Sieu pointed out that a judicial review was allowed to challenge the board’s decision to issue a detention order. “Based on the amendment bills which I have had read, only the issuance of a supervision order was not allowed to be challenged except for matters concerning procedural requirements. MCA feels that it needs to be standardized.”
“With regards to the detention order, the Kluang MCA Division chief alerted that “just like the previous Emergency Ordinance (EO), judicial review is allowed. This is a vast improvement compared to the old EO and Internal Security Act.”
Somehow, Gan’s belief that the PCA is “a vast improvement” on the EO and ISA is not reassuring at all.
MCA’s position on PCA
We’re told that Gan chaired the MCA committee looking into these new or to-be-amended crime prevention laws.
Gan Ping Sieu’s question (tweeted above): “Do you agree to hv detention w/o trial with judicial oversight?”
No, no, no, no, no.
I most certainly do not agree to detention without trial, period.
The J-Star‘s scaremongering
To prep public acceptance of this PCA piece of legislation, the MCA-owned newspaper had splashed sensational murder stories on its front pages for weeks running during the height of the induced panic season.
Anyone reading The J-Star would have thought, from its stories about targeted killings, that Malaysia was the crime capital of the world. Where a man was shot every minute, where released EO detainees flooded the streets, and where every Tom, Dick and Harry had a gun to shoot dead the next victim to be featured on the newspaper front pages.
But have you noticed that after that particular propaganda blitzkrieg, suddenly all became quiet? The phenomenon of men being shot daily suddenly disappeared from the saturation news coverage. The ‘Catch & Release’ EO detainees suddenly disappeared from the streets/news reports. And the Tom, Dick and Dirty Harry gun toters suddenly took a vacation to play Sudoku at home.
J-Star browbeating the public
Does Gan Ping Sieu recall what his party mouthpiece published previously?
The J-Star CEO Wong Chun Wai in his editorial titled ‘Off with the kid gloves‘ (4 Aug 2013) urged that “you have to deal with criminals the hard way”.
“Enough is enough. Let’s not expect our cops to fight crime with their hands tied behind their backs. Let them do their job with our support and the necessary laws to clean up the streets.”
He also declared that “Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar have the fullest support of this writer [the J-Star CEO] to crack the whip on criminals who don’t deserve any sympathy from us”.
That was The J-Star scaremongering about violent crime all over its pages when the BN government was softening up the public to accept its ‘Detention Without Trial’ clauses.
Using the fear factor – by making the public panicky and fearful as if they could well be the very next person indiscriminately shot dead – it is then no surprise that the government managed to bulldoze through its ISA 2.0 bill amidst public acceptance or compliance with the ostensible need for tough law enforcement measures.
Eh, where have all the shooting stories gone now?
Where have all the deadly shooting stories, that used to hog the J-Star front pages a couple of months back, now disappeared to?
The paper that is controlled by MCA had colluded with the government propaganda drive, which was carried out to prepare/soften the ground for bringing back the EO and ISA.
And now MCA is saying that the party “objects” to sections of the PCA?
So how’s Gan gonna vote?
[ … ]
This section redacted. Just checked. Gan Ping Sieu is no longer a Senator.
He’s just a park bench warmer. — updated: 2.55pm