In this part, I shall embark on discussing with myself the way the government handled the BERSIH 2.0 situation.
So it has been reported today that the EO6 or PSM6 depending on how you look at them, will be charged on 3rd August 2011 for being in possession of, and distributing subversive materials. Therefore, I shall address this issue before embarking on other issues relating to how the government handled the whole BERSIH 2.0 issue.
The PSM members were caught by the police distributing subversive materials (read: communist) several days before the BERSIH 2.0 rally. They were held under the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance, 1969. Personally, I do not think it was the correct Act used to put them in detention. A more appropriate Act would have been the Internal Security Act, 1960. The alledge crime committed was too serious to just use the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance; furthermore, there were more than one person that the police needed to investigate, and the process would have taken longer than just a few days or weeks. They would need to check their background, their links, contacts etc to determine if the whole network could be taken down. Section 29(1) of the Internal Security Act, 1960 would have covered the necessity to detain the six, while Section 29(3)(a)(b)(c) of the same Act would have sufficed in determining the nature of their offence. Section 29(4) further explains that “every subversive document shall be presumed to be a subversive document until the contrary is proved.”
The PSM6 should, as required by law, have immediately surrendered the “subversive documents” to the Police. This is stated in Section 29(2) of the Internal Security Act, 1960, among which states that:
“Any person or any office bearer of any association or any responsible member or agent of any organisation who receives any subversive document shall deliver the same without delay to a police officer…”
I can only guess why the government did not use the ISA on the PSM6; and my guess is whoever made the decision was either misinformed, ill-advised, pussy-footed, not well-versed, and even wanting to be populists. However, those are my guesses. The real reason remains with the authorities in concern.
If at any time then the authorities had felt that the use of the ISA would have been an overkill (which I personally do not), then holding them under the Societies Act, 1966 would have sufficed. Whoever advised the Home Minister should have known that Sections 47 and 48 of this Act cover the alledged offences, as the Communist Party of Malaya remains an unlawful society.
Whatever it is, the government should have allowed the police to hold the six much longer (the Inspector-General of Police has at his discretion the authority to hold them under the Emergency (POPO) Ordinance 1969 for 30 days. Allow the police to do their job properly so justice could be served to all parties involved, including to the six as well as to their family members.
It looks like this posting on the EO6 alone have taken up so much blog space. I guess I will have to continue in another blog posting.