KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 (Bernama) — The government decided to repeal the Restricted Residence Act 1933 (Act 377) because the legislation is outdated and no longer relevant with current needs, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
Tabling the Restricted Residence (Repeal) Bill 2011 for the second reading at the Dewan Rakyat Wednesday, Najib said the government made the move based on two primary factors, namely the principles of democracy and justice, and advancement in ICT and urbanisation.
He said that in line with the progress achieved by the country, it was time for the government to also accept the reality of changes in the sociopolitical and socioeconomic landscapes.
“Contemporary events demand that we review the laws and practices which are no longer in line with the principles of democracy and justice,” he said.
To this end, he said, action against those who flouted the law should be taken in adherence to the principles that punishments were meted out based on convictions in court after taking into account all evidence, in line with universal principles.
This was also in line with the principles that convictions should not be clouded by doubts, and the common law maxims that “it is better that ten guilty men go free than the one innocent men to be convicted,” the prime minister said.
The government was also confident that the police now had the capabilities to gather evidence in a scientific and systematic manner following the advancement in modern technology, thus enabling them to carry out prosecutions effectively, the prime minister added.
“The government is committed towards improving the professionalism of the police in battling crimes more effectively,” he added.
Najib said the government firmly believed that this was done taking into account the sanctity of the constitution, the rule of law and the protection of human rights.
The prime minister also said that the advancement in the information communication technology had minimise the effectiveness of physical restrictions, with crimes being perpetrated even thousands of kilometres away without the need for any physical presence.
“For instance, individuals under the restricted residence order were previously transferred to remote places.
“Today, with physical infrastructure development, better transportation system and rise in urbanisation, nearly two-third of Malaysia have become urban areas. A large part of the country’s nooks and crannies have become accessible,” he said.
He added that mobile broadband, smartphones, email, Skype and WiFi and other advancements in the Internet age had rendered the use of restricted residence ineffective because virtual connectivity had become an alternative means of communication for the physically restricted individuals.
“Based on this, it was clear that the Restricted Residence Act 1933 is no longer needed and the government feels that the decision to repeal this act is appropriate,” he said.
The move would help achieve a more equitable implementation and administration of the legal system apart from safeguarding individual rights as provided for under the constitution, Najib said.
The Restricted Residence (Repeal) Bill 2011 is aimed at repealing Act 377.
The move will not involve any additional expenditure by the government nor will it effect on any order or action or proceedings carried out under the act before the repeal takes effect.
Source : Bernama