Bar Council: Appalling Statements By Minister Of Home Affairs Brings Disrepute To Malaysia

The Malaysian Bar is shocked and appalled by recent revelations in the media with respect to what was said by Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid bin Hamidi, Minister of Home Affairs, at a speech delivered at the Malacca International Trade Centre in Ayer Keroh, Malacca, on 5 October 2013.

The Minister of Home Affairs was reported to have stated in effect that:

  1. the police are to shoot first and ask questions later;
  2. the recent amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 providing for detention without trial was his own law; and
  3. in the event there is no evidence or there is insufficient evidence, the suspects would be put away for two years.

The Minister of Home Affairs is also reported to have said that the majority of gangsters were Malaysians of Indian descent, that the victims were of another race, and that there was therefore nothing wrong in arresting or shooting them. The Minister of Home Affairs is further reported to have said that a criminal group known as Tiga Line, which has been declared unlawful by the Ministry of Home Affairs, to be benevolent gangsters and had encouraged them to continue with their activities.

The Malaysian Bar deplores and condemns the statements by the Minister of Home Affairs because they reveal his complete disregard for the rule of law, his indifference to human rights, and his utter lack of respect for debate and argument in Parliament. His statements could be interpreted to support extra-judicial killings by the Police.

The Minister’s scant regard for the views of fellow Parliamentarians demonstrates that any talk about considering the views and proposals of others, including non-governmental organisations and civil society, is a charade.

It should be remembered that the Minister of Home Affairs promised to produce data and statistics to Parliament and the public to justify his statement that the spike in serious crime was due to the repeal of the Internal Security Act 1960 and the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969. He has failed to provide an iota of evidence to support his contention. Instead, it is reported that he resorted to collusion with the Inspector General of Police and the Minister in charge of Parliamentary Affairs in the push for the amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act 1959.

The Minister of Home Affairs has also apparently threatened reporters from reporting on what was said at the event in Malacca and gone on to threaten to shut down newspapers. This attempt to silence the media is indicative that he appreciates the wrongness of his statements. It is outrageous for the Minister of Home Affairs to threaten to use his official position in an attempt to cow the media and shield himself.

His statement supporting the use of excessive force in dealing with criminals in effect encourages a shoot-to-kill policy. This is extremely worrying and irresponsible conduct by the Minister of Home Affairs.

The Minister of Home Affairs appears to have overstepped the line and possibly committed an offence under the Sedition Act 1948. The statements by the Minister of Home Affairs are shameful and have brought the Government and the country into disrepute.

Christopher Leong
Malaysian Bar

Dated 8 October 2013

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