Malaysia Plans Crackdown After Wave of Killings, Memo Shows

Malaysia will use a section of its Crime Prevention Act for the first time to hold suspects without filing charges in a crackdown on violence following a wave of killings, according to a copy of an internal police memo seen by Bloomberg News.

The police will use Section 105 of the act to detain suspects for as long as 24 hours without charging them, according to the memo. While it says the operation is likely to start tomorrow, it will probably begin sooner, according to a police spokesman yesterday, who asked that he not be named because he wasn’t authorized to comment.

The rise in violence is partly due to the abolition of the Emergency Ordinance in 2011, which led to 2,600 people being released from detention, the malaymailonline reported July 9, citing Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Prime Minister Najib Razak repealed the law in a bid to boost civil liberties.

“Gangsterism” must be addressed, the memo reads. The first phase of the operation will start in the Klang Valley, which includes Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur. Inquiry officers have been appointed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the memo states.

The police action comes after Najib vowed to introduce legislation to tackle a surge in crime that included the July 29 slaying of AMMB Holdings Bhd. founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi. The prime minister’s coalition was returned to power in May elections by its narrowest margin since independence from Britain in 1957. Najib promised during his campaign to make fighting crime and corruption a policy priority.

Crime Concern

Voters cited crime and social problems as their biggest concern after the economy, according to a survey of 1,018 people conducted in December by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research.

Calls made to Hamidi’s mobile phone yesterday went unanswered.

A 26-year-old man in the town of Kapar was killed Aug. 15 by a gunman riding the back of a motorcycle, a shooting police suspect is related to a gang rivalry, the Star newspaper reported, citing North Klang deputy police chief superintendent Jani Ahmad. In Dungan, a restaurateur was shot to death outside his eatery Aug. 13 during what police said was an attempt to steal his Toyota Hilux, according to the New Straits Times, citing Terengganu Criminal Investigation Department Chief Assistant Commissioner K. Manoharan.

This month there have been three shootings in the northern city of Penang, including one man killed at point-blank range at a traffic light, according to an incidents list compiled by the Star newspaper and confirmed by police. An unemployed man was killed and a woman injured in Kelantan state. There was also a shooting at the Thai border, the list showed.

A primary school clerk was killed when a package he took from the top of a relative’s car exploded in Kelantan yesterday, the Star reported, citing local criminal investigations chief Lai Yong Heng.

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