Criminal Defence

Probe reveals returns promised are not from gold trading

KUALA LUMPUR: Investigations into the accounts of the recently-raided gold trading firms revealed that the amount of assets and monies held by these companies do not match the amount collected from their investors.

The schemes offered by the firms were, therefore, unsustainable.

A joint press statement issued by Bank Negara Malaysia, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the police, said it was discovered that these companies are operating schemes that are believed to be not sustainable to provide the promised high monthly returns, nor would they be able to provide the buy back guarantee of gold.

“The returns promised are not funded through gold trading, but from the monies invested into such schemes,” it said.

It added that these companies were found to have delayed returning gold or money to the investors within the promised stipulated time.

“Such signs are early warning indications prior to the collapse of such schemes that would result in significant losses to investors.

“These raids were conducted in the interest of protecting the investors as well as the public at large from falling victim to illegal schemes,” the statement said

On Oct 1, the police, Bank Negara, Companies Commission of Malaysia and Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry jointly raided Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd and its affiliates in the country over suspected offences.

Days later, three other companies, Pageantry Gold Bhd, Caesar Gold Sdn Bhd and Worldwide Far East Bhd, were also raided.

Meanwhile, consultants and clients of Genneva Malaysia have sought Umno Youth’s help.

The wing’s public complaints bureau chairman Datuk Khairun Aseh said they would send a letter to Bank Negara to urge it to lift the freeze on the gold trading firm’s accounts.

“We want them to give a clear timeline on when they can return the assets to the respective owners,” he said yesterday.

Khairun added that they would also propose that payment for this month proceed as usual.

“We have received complaints of parents having to ask their children to return from abroad because they cannot afford to pay for their expenses,” he said.

Khairun also called on Bank Negara to come up with proper regulations with regard to gold trading to prevent a repeat of such incidents.

A-G mulling MACC Act amendment to increase body’s effectiveness

KUALA LUMPUR: The Attorney-General’s Chambers is currently looking into amending the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 to improve the body’s effectiveness in tackling bribery in the country.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan said among the suggestions made to improve the Act was the inclusion of a provision to hold companies liable if their employees were found guilty of corruption.

“The Government is ready to study and introduce improvements to existing laws to address weaknesses in the system,” he said in a written reply.

Low also revealed that 1,310 people were brought to court for corruption offences between 2009 and May 2013.

“Of this total, 888 people were found guilty of various corruption offences.

“As part of the Government Transformation Programme, the names of the offenders were uploaded into the database on the MACC’s website,” he said.

Low said as of May 2013, 36 people out of the total 106 accused of corruption were found guilty.

At a press conference in the Parliament lobby, Rafizi Ramli (PKR – Pandan) said Low faced a big challenge to boost MACC’s image in the eyes of the public.

Comparing the MACC with Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Rafizi said 68% of cases were successfully prosecuted by the MACC while ICAC’s success rate was 86%.

“These numbers prove that the public still doubts the effectiveness and independence of the MACC in conducting probes.

“This is compounded by the fact that only one in every five MACC reports end up being investigated. A big portion of the cases end up being categorised as ‘no further action’,” he claimed

Bar against move to resurrect any law similar to Emergency Ordinance

PETALING JAYA: The Bar Council is against any move to resurrect any law similar to the Emergency Ordinance (EO), which was repealed two years ago.

Council president Christopher Leong said the current crime situation had nothing to do with the abolition of the EO.

“The EO was used to detain syndicated criminals.

“What we have now is an increase in snatch thefts, house burglaries, stabbings, and robberies at ATM machines and restaurants. These crimes are not as a result of the repealing of EO,” he said.

He said the EO was never about detaining such criminals and pointed out the police have sufficient investigative abilities to address the current crime situation.

“We are not in favour of the EO being resurrected in the shape or guise of some other laws,” he said.

Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN- Ayer Itam) said all angles and possibilities should be looked into to find a proper way to tackle crime.

“We must find the right mechanism. The enactment of a new law to replace EO can still be argued. Perhaps there can be other ways, including having more stringent policies, enforcement and manpower,” he said, disagreeing that the repeal had caused crime to spike.

Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli (PAS-Kuala Krai) said the problem did not lie with the repeal of the EO but the failure of the criminals’ rehabilitation process.

Criminologist Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat denied that there was a link between the abolishment of the EO to the recent spate of violent crimes.

“Factors in the spate of violent crimes include the level of moral decay, a higher threshold of violence tolerance through media portrayal, social desensitisation and individualisation of norms,” she said, adding that there was also not enough police personnel to cover a wide geographic area.

Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) secretary-general Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria said serious police work was necessary, such as undercover operations, a better informer system, more professionals in investigation teams and better witness protection programmes.



EMERGENCY ORDINANCE: Preventive Law to Combat Crime Needed

BY the middle of last year, the Emergency Ordinance (EO), a preventive law that allows the police and Home Ministry to detain a person for two years and can be renewed after two years without trial and place him or her in detention centres, was repealed.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said the government was ready to make changes in the law. This decision was a victory for human and democratic rights.

However, for the research team on crime and policing at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), we knew that the country was going to see a surge in violent crimes, especially those involving gangs and recidivists (repeat offenders), based on our research on this matter.

In 2010, this team, based on a study conducted on crime, recommended that the Restricted Residence Act be repealed as it was ob-solete in modern Malaysia, whereas the EO should be sustained, with amendments to prevent abuse by the authorities.

The EO is a preventive law that was developed to deal with subversive and criminal elements which threatened national security.

Although it has been criticised as draconian, inhumane and undemocratic, it cannot be denied that the EO served its purpose in dealing with terrorists, secret societies, gangs, recidivists and organised crime members since its implementation in 1969.

Most of the detainees under the EO in the last three decades were alleged to have been involved in gang activities, extortion, kidnapping, gaming and executing operations for crime bosses. Almost 2,000 criminals were released after the repeal of the EO last year.

Since then, according to the police and as reported in the media, most of them are back in business.

However, they are now more daring and commit crimes openly. The crimes are violent, inhumane and cruel.

According to reports, these criminals display their gang identities and symbols during funeral processions, community activities and religious events.

They fear no one, including the police, and this means that if anyone happens to be in the wrong place or time, the innocent party may end up injured or killed.

Let us not ponder if we have given up a little of our liberty and democratic rights, so that these criminals could have been prevented from committing crimes.

We, the research team from USM, would like to ask citizens: “To what extent are we willing to give up safety for the sake of liberty and democracy?”

Malaysia is going through a transitional phase from a developing to developed nation.

All sorts of changes are experienced by this nation as we progress.

We have a track record of being a safe nation, but if we do not equip our authorities with tools to deal with criminals, we will not win the war against crime.

A preventive law similar to the EO, with checks and balances and without any room for abuse, must be reconsidered by all.

Even if such a law is implemented, this does not mean that the police and other law enforcement agencies can take crime prevention for granted.

There are many aspects of crime, where offenders can be charged under criminal laws. The law should be used only for specific crimes. This law is not meant to be a shortcut for investigating criminal cases.

It is to keep away violent gang members, recidivists and organised crime members, who are good at beating the criminal justice system.

If we do not act soon, then please be prepared to see the further erosion of safety and peace by criminals.

Associate Professor Dr P. Sundramoorthy, Principal researcher, Research team on crime and policing, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang

Read more: EMERGENCY ORDINANCE: Preventive law to combat crime needed – Top News – New Straits Times

Fight corruption on all fronts

IN the ongoing war against corruption, we tend to distinguish between major and minor cases, even though the principle elements are the same.

We get excited over the cases where big names and big sums of money are involved because that is an indication that the graft busters are really going after the big fish.

Smaller cases, the so-called ikan bilis, rarely excite us because we think they are too commonplace and not worth the time and resources spent to nail them.

Two cases reported last week exemplify this scenario.

The first case, which hit the front page of this newspaper, was about chartered arbitrator Yusof Holmes Abdullah being charged with solici­­ting RM6mil from a businessman in George Town.

Entrepreneur Datuk Siaw Teck Hwa was charged with abetting Holmes. Both pleaded not guilty.

It is reportedly the first corruption case involving an arbitrator and the arbitration community is reeling from shock that one of its practitioners has been charged with such a serious offence.

Further inside the newspaper, there was a report about a Malaysian lecturer being sacked by his university after he had pleaded guilty to corruption charges in a magistrate’s court in Perth.

Foong Tuck Cheong admitted to taking bribes of A$1,500 (RM4,340) and A$3,000 (RM8,680) to raise his students’ marks.

The RM6mil in the first case and the small sums in the second are poles apart, but the fundamental reasons for the giving and the taking remain the same – to manipulate the outcome of a decision.

And that is why the war against corruption must be fought on all fronts.

Whether it is about a student giving a bribe to hike up his marks or a businessman giving a bribe to influence a positive account in an arbitration dispute, we must be firm that such acts of corruption, big or small, will not be tolerated.

We can do our part by not condoning even the smallest infractions, be it a small sum of kopi duit to escape a traffic offence or a couple of hundred ringgit to guarantee a pass in the driving test.

Often, the adults who commit such offences do it in the presence of their children, and so the vicious circle continues.

Let us bear in mind that values are caught, not taught, and the signals we send out hold the key to how seriously we view corruption.

If the right values are passed on, then the war against corruption can be won.


New law needed to solve violent crime

GEORGE TOWN: A criminologist has called for a new preventive law to tackle violent crime as criminals are now openly displaying their gang identity in public.

Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy of Universiti Sains Malaysia said many triad members and recidivists (repeat offenders) had returned to their criminal ways after the repealing of the Emergency Ordinance (EO) last year.

He said the new law could be used to deal with those involved in gangland-style executions, extortion, gaming and robberies.

“The brains behind these activities are well-informed and they know how to go about undetected. They have ‘advisers’ to guide them,” he said.

Dr Sundramoorthy proposed that an independent body be set up under the new law to submit recommendations to the authorities after studying case files containing statements from key individuals.

“They can either recommend that the person be detained if a case could be established or recommend that no further action be taken.

“The final review and recommendation should come from them and not the Home Minister.

“Of course, the panel would have the right to redirect the case if it finds elements where the offenders can be charged under existing criminal laws,” he said.

Dr Sundramoorthy, who is principal researcher on crime and policing at the university, added that specific types of crime must be spelt out in the new law.

Dr Sundramoorthy said provisions must also be included to seize assets, property and cash belonging to criminals.

Agent provocateurs and low-ranking triad members could be roped in as witnesses to link the masterminds of syndicates, he said.

“Similar to the EO, the statements of these people (undercover and eyewitnesses) are vital for the independent body to decide on the fate of the masterminds.

“These masterminds are known to the authorities but the question is how to go about nailing them,” he said.


Criminal Defence

Our counsels are experienced and tenacious in undertaking criminal defence representation of diverse nature inclusive of cases where prosecutions are carried out by the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Securities Commission Malaysia, Central Bank of Malaysia, Royal Malaysian Police Force, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Royal Customs and Excise, Immigration Department, Employees Provident Fund Board, Road Transport Department, Health Ministry, the Forestry and Wild Life Departments and other statutory bodies. Primarily, we focus on “white-collar” crimes involving all forms of commercial, corporate and securities fraud. Our lawyers have dealt with several high profile criminal cases in Malaysia.

Our criminal practice area extends to:

  • Possession of drugs under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952
  • Drug trafficking
  • Gaming
  • Cheating / Forgery / Fraud
  • Criminal breach of trust
  • Theft
  • Assault and battery
  • Habeas corpus applications
  • Handling stolen property
  • Offences under the Road Transport Act
  • Offences pertaining to illegal travel documents / immigration laws under the Immigration Act
  • Offences under the Customs Act
  • Offences under the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2001
  • Offences under the Securities Industry Act 1983/Capital Markets and Services Act 2007
  • Bribery and Corruption