PUTRAJAYA: Wielding the baton of the law alone will not keep the country’s security and harmony intact and community leaders must remind Malaysians to accept that they live in a diverse society, says Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic).
“When you just talk about enforcement, people in my ministry can be perceived as being harsh but that is not true all the time.
“Laws help but they cannot solve every problem. It is important for leaders in the community to play the role to always remind all that we should accept the fact that we are multiracial (and) multi-religious and as much as there are differences, we have to accept that as part of Malaysian culture and life,” he said.He was speaking to reporters in an interview held in conjunction with the Pakatan Harapan government’s first anniversary.
These efforts, added Muhyiddin, were taken to ensure laws were more humane and that these did not appear to be too draconian or punitive.
He said he was also pushing to review the standard operating procedures (SOPs) used by authorities such as the police so that they would not be misinterpreted by the people as being too harsh in enforcing laws.
However, he admitted that reviewing the laws and SOPs was just part of the solution as Malaysians must also make efforts to uphold peace and security in the country.
“There is a need to show concern to any issue faced in society. There is a need for you to intervene before things (get worse).
“Hopefully, with the change that we are trying to introduce, the public will feel that we are more caring, concerned and humanitarian in our approaches,” he said.
Such efforts, said Muhyiddin, were underway as the government moved to amend or abolish legal provisions that were considered cruel, such as the Sedition Act 1958, Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) 1959, Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984, Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015.
“The Bills to amend Sosma and the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 are now in the final stages before these are brought to the Cabinet for approval. I expect these Bills to be presented in Parliament at the next session,” he said.
Muhyiddin said he was also aware of an urgent need to change public perception that authorities such as the police had been misused during the previous administration to cover up misdeeds.
“I always remind my officers – not only the police but also others in the ministry – that we are here to serve the people the best we can.
“I set a certain standard when I work in the government – if possible, par excellence – a higher standard,” he said, adding that the ministry had pledged to fight corruption.
On overcrowding in prisons, he said the ministry was looking at the possibility of placing drug addicts (not caught for trafficking) in rehabilitation outside under carers.
He added that illegal migrants continued to be a problem that needed to be countered cleverly.“We will continue to enforce the law to nab all the illegals coming into the country but there are always people involved in it like the heads of syndicates – those who are actually bringing in foreign workers and landing them somewhere in the coast of Malaysia,” he said.Irresponsible employers trying to save money by taking in illegals and underpaying workers were the main reason that there were so many of them, Muhyiddin pointed out. He said authorities were working with the states and the grassroots, especially village heads, as they knew better how these illegals were brought in.