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Sections 7C and 7D of the 1969 Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 5 Preventing Judicial Review Of Detention Or Restriction Orders should be abolished to prevent any dispute of abuses of discretionary powers by Minister or Deputy Minister
by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): Sections 7C and 7D of the 1969 EMERGENCY (PUBLIC ORDER AND PREVENTION OF CRIME) ORDINANCE 5 preventing judicial review of detention or restriction orders by Ministers should be abolished to prevent any dispute of abuses of discretionary powers by Minister or Deputy Ministers. Both the Minister of Internal Security and his deputy has wide powers under the ordinance to issue both detention and restriction orders under Section 3 & 4 which can not be challenged in court.
Any law that provides absolute discretionary powers to an individual whether to detain or release an individual in a process that is neither accountable nor transparent will lay itself open to charges of abuse of powers, double-standards or biasedness and prejudice. Such absolute discretionary powers is provided under
According to news reports today, The Anti-Corruption Agency Investigations director Mohd Shukri Abdull has already initiated investigations into a senior politician who is alleged to have taken RM 5 million in bribes for helping to free organised crime detainees held under the Emergency Ordinance.
The investigations were begun immediately after the ACA received an anonymous letter and articles in a website alleging the improper release of three men suspected of being in a secret society and other illegal activities, including loan sharking, extortion, prostitution, assault and gambling. One of the men who is a kingin of a secret society who was released, was alleged to be related to another Deputy Minister.
According to the New Straits Times today, a special officer to the senior politician alleged to have taken RM 5 million, would hold a press conference to "clear the air" It is clear from news reports and the website that the the senior politician alleged to have abused his powers is Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum. ACA's Shukri said another "insider" was also being investigated.
Whether the allegations against Datuk Mohd Johari is true or not will depend on the outcome of investigations by the ACA. DAP hopes that the ACA will conduct the investigations impartially and freely to ensure that justice is not only done, but is seen to be done.
More importantly, the government must resolve the root of such problems which stem from laws granting absolute discretionary powers. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Whether Datuk Mohd Johari is guilty or not is a key issue.
The bigger issue is to remove such absolute discretionary powers by allowing judicial review of Ministerial and his deputy's orders decisions to allow transparency and accountability. Only by abolishing section 7C dan 7D, can we institutionalise accountability and transparency as the bedrock of good and clean governance.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP