kheru2006 (kheru2006) wrote,
kheru2006
kheru2006

ILKAP National Law Conference 2014: "Law and Social Order: Current Challenges In Malaysia" Part V

In addition, the Carnegie Report states that the loss of State legitimacy is a crucial factor in many crisis. Although transnational criminal groups attract law enforcement attention, their nefarious activities do not violate public expectations. Citizens have quite different presumptions of their governments. So when governments systematically behave in criminal ways, their legitimacy founders. Profound disenchantment results, and the very fabric of society begins to fray - with unpredictable consequences. The report cites the example of Nairobi residents exchanging grim remarks about the "Shabab bribe" (double the normal rate) that allowed attackers from the terrorist group al-Shabab to infiltrate the Westgate Mall in a September 2013 siege that claimed more than 60 lives.

The Carnegie Report also points out that corruption does not fuel these threats alone. It combines with other risk factors, such as ethnic, religious, or linguistic rifts in a population or severe economic disparities, to increase the likelihood of a security challenge.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Challenges from economic and other disparities and inequalities

Important pre-emptive lessons may be learned from an analysis of the Arab Spring uprisings undertaken by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The study surmised that the main causes of the social revolution were spurred by a potent combination of economic, social, and political grievances that created fertile grounds for dissent and united disparate groups in opposition to their autocratic systems. The protests as a whole were not ideological and did not seek to impose a particular set of beliefs or order. They united discontented citizens from across political, economic, class and religious divides in opposition to autocratic governments. The figures that united the protestors were ordinary people who had suffered at the hands of the authoritarian systems such as Mohammed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor frustrated by police harassment and humiliation who set himself on fire in protest on 17 December 2010.

The social and political causes included resentment of authoritarian rulers that denied freedom of expression and limited opportunities for participation in civil and political life, long standing "emergency laws", a malfunctioning or absent justice system, a repressive security state apparatus responsible for myriad human rights abuses, including torture and killings, a desire to re-assert individual and national pride. Furthermore, a feeling of a lack of dignity or an insult to their dignity spurred individual participation in the protests.

Social media was a pivotal platform for the expression of dissent and to organize and connect protest movements. Globalization and ease of travel were also contributory factors. Frustrated young people became acutely aware of their relative deprivation and understood there existed alternatives to the repressive governments under which they lived.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Threats from organized criminal groups

The activities of organized criminal groups also pose a challenge to social order and national harmony, not least because most triads and gangs in Malaysia are today still racially constituted. Hence the crimes perpetrated or the areas these criminal groups control become identified with a particular race. Thus their criminal activities do not just threaten social order but are also a potential sparking point for allegations of racially-based law enforcement actions or racially-based victimization. This was aptly demonstrated during the 2013 crackdown on organized crime where allegations were made that the police operations targeted Indians until the Inspector General of Police produced statistics to show that the numbers of Malays detained during the operations was actually higher than Indians.

Allegations are always easily made. But the danger is when these allegations are made and opinions given without having all the facts.

On this aspect, perhaps the lessons of the violent rioting in Ferguson, Missouri could be instructive. In that case, there were two conflicting versions of the shooting of Michael Brown and there was a clear racial gulf in how the events were perceived. Among the recommendations made were for the police to wear cameras, to work harder to improve relations with the communities they serve, and to have a police force that better represents the racial make-up of the community they serve. It was also recognized that the public are more likely to volunteer information to officers they trust. More importantly it was recognized that rioting would not solve the problem but on the contrary would make businesses flee.

Another challenge relates to the confidence of the law enforcement agencies themselves to handle organized criminal groups and other serious crimes without the crutch of an emergency proclamation, extraordinary powers under emergency laws and the use of detention without trial.

In this regard it should be understood that the guarantee in Clause (1) of Article 5 of the Federal Constitution, that "No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law" presupposes terms of imprisonment imposed by a court of law in accordance with due process. Preventive detention without trial is and always will be an extraordinary measure that must be expressly authorized under Article 149 or 150 of the Federal Constitution.

As amply demonstrated by the law enforcement agencies in the United States, Italy and many other countries, it is possible to take down large, violent organized criminal groups such as the mafia, Cosa Nostra, etc. as well as terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah through diligent, dedicated, targeted investigations and prosecutions.

In 2012 Malaysians entered a new era through the realization of watershed legislative reforms initiated by the Honourable Prime Minister under the Political Transformation Program (PTP) of the 2011-2020 National Transformation Policy (commonly known as the NTP). This led to the revocation of the long-standing proclamations of Emergency on 21 June 2012 and the lapsing of the laws made under its authority such as the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969. The Internal Security Act 1960, the Restricted Residence Act 1933 and the Banishment Act 1959 were also repealed.

The Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 was promulgated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong under Clause (2) of Article 150 of the Constitution and took effect on 16 May 1969, three days after the incidence of the racial riots on May 13, 1969. The preamble to the Ordinance explains the rationale for its enactment as "the existence of a grave emergency threatening the security of Malaysia" and that "the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that immediate action is required for securing public order, the suppression of violence and the prevention of crimes involving violence;".

We need to read provisions of law together with the justifications for those laws to properly understand why they were enacted, and the purpose they are to serve.

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