KUALA LUMPUR, February 25 – Lawyer Asiah Abd Jalil informed NMT that 6 clients of hers are currently held under the questionable Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA) after being released by magistrates not once but twice in the span of 3 weeks. Malay dailies reported the Mat Top Gang arrest earlier this month after Kuala Lumpur Chief of Police, Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim announced that the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) have defeated a gang of snatch thieves.
Arrested on February 2, according to Asiah’s Facebook post on 15 February (8.25pm) the suspects have been rearrested twice after magistrate rejected PDRM’s request to extend the remands.
Chain-remand is not new in Malaysia
Various law practioners have criticised the police practice of “chain remand”, where a suspect is arrested, released and rearrested several times.
It is said that such practice happened frequently and even for high-profile case such as Datuk R. Sri Sanjeevan, an anti-crime activist and chairman of MyWatch back in 2016.
According to MalayMail back then, MyWatch chairman Sanjeevan, was first arrested on June 22 over alleged criminal intimidation and extortion. He was later re-arrested and remanded a total of nine times based on varying police reports under Sections 384 and Sections 506 of the Penal Code.
In 2017, at least 2 cases became news, one was of Thuraisinggham A/L Loganathan in June 2017, and of Kanapathy A/L Perathapan (16 years old) and Ang Kian Kok (16 years old) two minors arrested and rearrested by the police, according to NGO, Suara Rakyat Malaysia, SUARAM.
SUARAM’s Executive Director Sevan Doraisamy in his statement then said,
“The practice of rearrest and chain remand represents a blatant abuse of power by the Royal Malaysian Police and it is an infringement of an individual’s fundamental human rights both under the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This practice exploits the existing loopholes and abuse the remand proceeding in order to unlawfully detain a person under the veil of legality.”
The same approach seem to be used on Asiah’s clients where varying police reports under Section 379A, Section 392, Section 395 of the Penal Code and upon failing to charge the suspects in court after 2 weeks, the police are using POCA to hold the suspects.
Torture used to force admission
Asiah mentioned in her Facebook post that her suspects had been tortured using electrical shocks, to force the suspects to admit to the crimes.
NMT have confirmation from Asiah that she sighted abuse marks on one of her clients. “Police used electrical shocks on February 14, 2019” according to Asiah.
Another suspect was hospitalized on February 12, 2019 after being beaten severely in custody. “It was a cop who beat” said Asiah to NMT.
Under POCA, the police will have another 21 days to hold the suspects in custody without hearing.
NMT fear for their safety and whether they will be forced to admit to the crimes the police could not prove.
Why did KL Chief of Police made Press Conference on the case without enough evidence to charge?
According to various Malay dailies, the KL Chief of Police held a Press Conference earlier in the month to announce that PDRM have defeated the Mat Top Gang.
It’s an irony now that the courts released the suspects twice and police have not been able to charge them. Worse than that, the police have to resort to holding the suspects longer under POCA.
Pakatan Harapan promised to repeal POCA etc
Pakatan Harapan have failed to repeal POCA just as much as they have failed to deliver many election manifestos.
It is our hope that whilst certain promises are not as important as others, Pakatan Harapan will deliver on promises such as repealing acts that do not comply with fundamental human rights.
Will the government look into this, or will they prove that they are nothing better than Barisan Nasional’s Janji Dicapati?