The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia notes the positive outcome of the habeas corpus application by Dato’ R Sri Sanjeevan to challenge his detention under Section 4(1)(a) of the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca).
In this case, the commission commends the judiciary for playing its crucial role in ensuring that detention under Poca follows due process.
Poca provides for detention without trial and the denial of an individual’s right to legal representation, which violates a person’s human rights and contravenes internationally recognised human rights standards.
While the commission acknowledges the need for effective laws to combat crime and bring perpetrators to justice, it believes that such laws must be accompanied by adequate and stringent safeguards against potential abuse, and should not deprive a person of his or her right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and to be given a free and fair trial before a court of law.
The commission therefore reiterates its call to the government to review all laws that provide for detention without trial, including Poca, with a view to making them in line with human rights principles, enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Suhakam is ready to provide constructive formulations to effectively deal with accountability and to ensure the welfare and dignity of the detained person.
Razali Ismail is chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).