Court okays MCO remand proceedings at police stations

The Dang Wangi district police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. The Federal Court says police stations may hold remand proceedings while the MCO is in effect.

PUTRAJAYA: All remand proceedings normally held in courts will be shifted to the police stations where suspects are held for the duration of the movement control order (MCO).

Federal Court chief registrar Ahmad Terriruddin Mohd Salleh, in a letter to Deputy Inspector-General of Police Mazlan Mansor, said Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat had no objection to the move.

However, the approval came with several conditions.

“Court officials must be given early notice and their safety including that of lawyers must be guaranteed,” Terriruddin said in the letter sighted by FMT.

He said the right of suspects to be represented during remand proceedings should not be denied, either.

“The police must also adhere to the health ministry’s Covid-19 guidelines that are issued from time to time,” he said.

The approval came after Mazlan wrote to Terriruddin earlier today to seek assistance from the judiciary for magistrates and court registrars to be despatched to police stations until the CMO is lifted.

Under normal circumstances, police will bring suspects to the courts to obtain a remand order, which may be up to 14 days, for investigation purposes.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir, who received a copy of Terriruddin’s letter to Mazlan, said the move is timely to check the spread of Covid-19 among detainees in police lock-ups.

“We received feedback that suspects were packed in a police truck to be taken to court,” he said.

Salim also said the move will prevent the identity of child suspects (those below 18 years of age) from being exposed to the public.

“The Child Act is particular about it and has also prescribed punishments against those who expose their identity,” he said.

He urged police to inform the National Legal Aid Foundation in all states so that lawyers could be there to appear for those who were unrepresented.