Strengthen provision to banish hardcore criminals

  • Letters
  • Thursday, 15 May 2003

By V.K. Chin

THE Government should go ahead and tighten the Restricted Residence Enactment 1933 to deal more effectively with criminal elements who have been carrying out their illegal activities with impunity. 

It is obvious that the present Enactment has outlived some of its usefulness and needs to be strengthened to apprehend those who continually defy the law because its present scope is limited. 

This legislation has been used to curb those who habitually indulge in such anti-social activities to the detriment of the residents.  

While they may have broken the law, the difficulty lies quite often in getting sufficient evidence to convict such offenders in a court of law. 

By using this Enactment, the Home Ministry has been able to detain such culprits and banish them to other parts of the country.  

The purpose is that such isolation would cripple their illegal operations. 

Before the advent of the mobile phone, such banishment was a great inconvenience to such people as they would be cut off from their family members and partners in crime. 

However with the easy availability of hand phones, they can be in constant touch with their henchmen and so it does not really matter where they are being sent. 

So it is necessary to review the Enactment to plug such loopholes to make it more difficult for these criminals to ply their activities.  

Perhaps, there should be a provision to allow such elements to be detained for a certain period. 

In the past, the enforcement agencies had used the Enactment to banish those who operate illegal four-digit lotteries, illegal casinos, prostitution or who are hardcore gangsters. 

While the authorities would love to convict these people in court, the difficulty is in getting witnesses to give evidence against them for fear of reprisals. 

Now they have to contend with Tontos who are used by the syndicates to warn the operators of raids by the JPJ or the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs department officers. 

These workers are so daring that they are prepared to use violence to harm the enforcement officers or to deter them from raiding their employers' premises.  

Instead of arming such enforcement officers, as recommended by some quarters, it is better to strengthen the law making it easier for the relevant agencies to deal more effectively with such criminal masterminds and their hired thugs and to hound them out of business. 

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