by parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Parliament House on Wednesday, 4th December 1985.
The Dangerous Drugs (Special preventive Measures) Amendment Bill 1985 is to legalise illegal detention orders and offends against the fundamental rule of law against retrospective legislation.
The Government has introduce another bill, to be taken through all its stages, in this parliamentary meeting which ends on Friday. I find the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Amendment Bill 1985 most shocking, for clearly it is designed to legalise the illegal detention orders made by the Minister and Deputy Minister of Home Affairs purportedly under the principal Act.
A detainee under the Emergency Ordinance, whose order was extended under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 had successfully sought habeas corpus to quash his detention, and the application for habeas corpus by other detainees under similar circumstances is pending before the Courts.
Now, the government has come to Parliament to legalise their illegal detentions, for the amendment bill would provide that any direction or order given by the Minister of Home Affairs to extend a detention or restriction order under the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 would be deemed to be valid and lawful. This would in effect make the court cases of the detainees applying for habeas corpus because of the illegal extension of their detention order by the Minister redundant.
This is again another case of government legalising illegal actions by its overwhelming majority in Parliament, as happened in the case of the unlawful take-over of Bank Bumiputra and the $2.5 billion MBF bad loans by Petronas. When the DAP challenged the legality of the Petronas take-over of Bank Bumiputra, the government rushed to Parliament to amend the Petroleum Development Act to legalise the illegality.
The Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Amendment Bill provides for retrospective for its various provisions, which offends against a cardinal rule of law that there should be no retrospective legislation.
The Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measure) Amendment Bill presented today for first reading would be bought for debate and passage on Friday. The Barisan Nasional Government expect all MPs, not just Barisan MPs, to be ‘yes man’! This shows the government’s supreme contempt for Parliament.
The Bill makes a mockery of the Select Committee hearings and Report on the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measure) Bill, for if the Bill could be amended in a matter of two days, without giving the public and all concerned organisations an opportunity to submit their views, then the whole Select Committee proceeding was just an empty gesture. All the safe-guards agreed on in the Select
Committee hearings could, with a stroke of the pen, be taken away by hasty amendments to the principal Act.
In all justice, the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measure) Bill should be referred back to the same Select Committee to report back to the House.