The New Straits Times
by ILI LIYANA MOKHTAR
by ILI LIYANA MOKHTAR
IN THE WORKS: Act will have them serve their sentences here
KUALA LUMPUR: A COMMITTEE has been formed to draw up legislation to have Malaysians in prisons overseas serve their sentences in local prisons, the Dewan Negara was told yesterday.
Deputy Foreign Minister A. Kohilan Pillay said the committee, established by the Home Ministry together with the Foreign Ministry, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and the Prisons Department is considering drafting a specific law to make this possible.
"The Act is called Akta Pemindahan Antarabangsa (International Transfer Act).
"When it is accepted, we will also need to sign a bilateral treaty with other countries to enable us to bring back Malaysians who are imprisoned overseas to serve their sentences here," he said in reply to Senator Datuk Chin Su Phin during question time.
Chin wanted to know the number of Malaysians who were in prisons abroad, the crimes committed and the government's efforts to extradite them back to be tried.
Kohilan said that the Home Ministry as the lead agency was in the midst of studying and preparing the protocols and mechanisms to bring home the prisoners and enable them to serve their sentences locally in accordance with the Prisons Act 1995 and Prisons Regulations 2000.
He said as of June, there were 2,500 Malaysians detained in foreign prisons for various offences such as drug trafficking, murder, falsifying credit cards, commercial offences, theft, illegal immigration, cheating and falsifying documents and human trafficking.
He said there were 10 countries with a large number of Malaysian prisoners, with Singapore heading the list.
"In Singapore, 1,096 Malaysians are detained, followed by Thailand (404), China (231), Indonesia (148), Taiwan (137), Australia (77), Spain (47), Kuwait (33), Vietnam (29), and France (25)," he said.
Kohilan said the government was always concerned about the fate and welfare of Malaysians detained abroad.
But he stressed that the government respected and would not interfere with the laws of other countries.