Thursday, October 17, 2013

Now, opposition wants Agong to intervene in new detention law

BY V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
OCTOBER 17, 2013
The Dewan Rakyat passed the PCA amendments in the wee hours of October 4. - The Malaysian Insider pic, October 17, 2013.The Dewan Rakyat passed the PCA amendments in the wee hours of October 4. - The Malaysian Insider pic, October 17, 2013.Having failed to prevent the amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act from being passed by both houses of Parliament earlier this month, the opposition is now seeking the intervention of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, hoping he will refuse assent to the Bill.
The appeal to the King, the first of its kind in recent Malaysian history, will be delivered to the palace tomorrow, said DAP’s Bukit Gelugor MP, Karpal Singh.
He said the amendments were draconian and the time had come for the King to show his displeasure.
Putrajaya decided it needed to amend the PCA to fight rising gang-related violent crime after the Emergency (Prevention of Crime & Public Order) Ordinance 1969 was repealed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2011, which was followed by the repeal of the Internal Security Act last year.
"The amendments reintroduce detention without trial and there are no adequate checks and balances to the PCA," said the senior lawyer.
Karpal said no one had expected the return of these draconian laws in the form of the amendments to the PCA, stressing that it was against national interest. 
He said it would be in the interest of the public for the King to refuse his assent to the amendments.
"The King should send a clear message to the government that he will not automatically assent Bills which do not constitute the essence of the rule of law," he said.
Karpal said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was the apex of Parliament and any displeasure from the King would not reflect positively on the government of the day.
Under Article 66 (4) of the Federal Constitution, the King has 30 days to assent to a Bill after it is presented to him.
Article 66 (4A) states that a Bill becomes law at the expiration of the 30 days even if the proposed law was not assented to.
Before the Constitution was amended in 1994 to include Clauses 4 and 4A, by convention the King assented to all Bills passed by the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara.
With the amendments, however, the King can refuse to assent to a Bill by both houses.
"This has never happened before," said Karpal.
On October 10, the Dewan Negara passed the amendments to the PCA after a two-day debate.
The Dewan Rakyat had approved the PCA amendments in the wee hours of October 4 following intense debate. Putrajaya said the law was needed to check on gang leaders and the rise of violent crimes. – October 17, 2013.
~ The Malaysian Insider

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