By Shaila Koshy and Shahanaaz Habib

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 722 people have been detained under the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance (EO) 1969 in the first eight months of this year.

The bulk of them are from Selangor (275), Johor (86), Kedah (58), Sarawak (56) and Kuala Lumpur (50). The smallest number is from Sabah which recorded only two detention orders (see chart).

These figures are from statistics released by the Bukit Aman’s vice, gambling and secret societies D7 unit which oversees EO cases.

Detainees under Section 4(1) are held in one of the three EO detention centres in the country Simpang Renggam, Machang and Muar.

Source: The Star Online
Besides detention, police also use Section 4A(1) of the EO which provides for banishment of suspects to other states/districts and restricts their residence for two years and imposes other conditions like reporting to the police on a daily basis.

From Jan 1 to Aug 22, police sent 86 people off to other places on restricted residence.

Senior Asst Comm Abd Jalil Hassan, who is the principal assistant director of Bukit Aman’s D7 unit, said police were forced to use the EO in cases where they were certain the suspect had committed the crime but there was insufficient evidence for a conviction in court.

He said it was done to safeguard public interest and security.

“It is not easy to use the EO. There are many layers and checks before a detention order is signed,” he said, adding that the number of people held under the EO was negligible as compared to the overall crime rate.

Most of those detained under the EO are males, with only about 10 female EO detainees.

Last year, the total number of criminal cases was 177,520 and cases of street crime was 24,837 but total detention orders were 768 and restriction orders, 385.

This article was originally published by The Star on 11 September 2011. Click here to view original.

Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR) is a non-profit based in Kuala Lumpur with the mission of promoting active democratic participation and human rights awareness.