Sunday, September 1, 2013

Malaysia's All-out War Against Criminal Elements

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We can’t have the whole of Malaysia turning into a Gotham City, can we? And so our Malaysian police have launched an all-out war called "Ops Cantas Khas" against former Emergency Ordinance detainees whom the police claimed were responsible for the sweeping epidemic of shootings and other violent crimes in the country.

According to Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar, the operation, launched nationwide on August 17, 2013, is to detain individuals who have links with gangsters or organized crime.

In just eleven days, the Deputy IGP Bakri Zinin boasted that Ops Cantas Khas was a success! He didn’t provide any crime statistics though but he was so adamant that the police have succeeded brilliantly. I have to assume that this fellow is really smart and he has his ears on the ground and so, he knows what he is talking about! Even if there were six shooting cases since the start of Ops Cantas Khasread my earlier blog, in case you couldn’t keep track of all the gun violence that is taking place. 

PKR vice-president (and lawyer) N Surendran has described this pursuit as a “public relations exercise” which has resulted in mass “random arrests” under an “antiquated” law. He said that by using the little known Prevention of Crime Act 1959, the authorities are “attempting to punish” those indiscriminately picked up by holding them for more than 70 days without charge. 

He added that the remand period under the PCA is excessive, considering the offenses for which police claim the individuals are being picked up in Ops Cantas Khas. “Under the Criminal Procedure Code, even a murder suspect is only remanded for 14 days. Fourteen days is adequate to carry out an investigation and bring down the crime rate. We don’t have to rely on the (PCA),” he insisted.

And his pronouncement: “I am concerned for public safety. This is an attempt by the police to show they are doing something about crime”. I am inclined to agree with Surendran.

Anyway, Bukit Aman anti-vice, gambling and secret societies’ division head Senior Asst Comm Jalil Hassan announced that police have detained 4,777 individuals in the said operation conducted around the country in the last 2 weeks (The Sunday Star, September 01, 2013, p 18).

The prime minister is asking the police to continue Ops Cantas Khas, saying that it was needed for the people to live without fear for their safety. Is the country safe now? Your guess is as good as mine.

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