Remove repressive amendments to CPC, says Suaram

Sevan-DoraisamyKUALA LUMPUR: The proposed amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) threaten to undermine human rights and will lead to more detentions of dissenters, says local civil rights NGO Suaram.

Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy said today the proposed amendments to the CPC, expected to be tabled in the May sitting of Parliament includes a shocking amendment that would restrict bail for all offences under Section 124 of the Penal Code.

He said: “Section 124 has been invoked countless times in 2015 against civil activists and politicians during the #KitaLawan rallies and subsequently invoked against media such as the Malaysian Insider earlier this year.”

“It is self-evident that the Government of Malaysia has chosen to crack down on dissenters through Section 124.”

Sevan pointed to the use of the law to arrest and investigate civil activists, politicians and journalists, and said the amendments would make arrests such as that of Khairuddin Abu Bakar and Matthias Chang a more common occurrence.

He called it an attempt to revive the powers of the now-defunct Internal Security Act 1960.

“It is likely that such detentions would become the norm with the denial of bail for those charged under Section 124 of the Penal Code,” said Sevan.

Sevan called on the government to retract the amendment, adding: “(The government must) cease its blatant attempt to stifle civil liberties and human rights in Malaysia.”

“Failure to put an end to this obtuse move would only put Malaysia one step closer to becoming a failed state and a laughing stock among our international peers.”

Section 124B of the Penal Code states that “whoever, by any means, directly or indirectly, commits an activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty years.”