KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said there is only one individual whos is being held under the Criminal Prevention Act 1959 (Poca).
“As of Jan 30, there is only one individual under 18 years old who is being held for two years in a special rehabilitation centre in Kluang,“ she said in a press conference, after giving out mandarin oranges in conjunction with the Chinese New Year festivities at the Taman Muda market and Pandan Perdana morning market here.
Saying that she felt shocked after being told of a recent call by two human rights groups to release 142 children claimed to be held under security laws, Wan Azizah said she had immediately called the minister in charge to gain a better perspective.
She said the individual is being held because of being involved in a serious crime, specifically armed robbery.
She was responding to Suara Rakyat Malaysia and the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) who had demanded the release of the children, while asking Pakatan Harapan to fulfil its promise to repeal the Poca and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).
When asked if the detained individual will be released, she said the decision will be left to the police and the relevant ministry.
According to a statement by the Home Ministry, the individual is being held in Kluang separated from adult detainees.
Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said she will recommend to the relevant ministries that the juvenile detention system be reviewed.
“We have to look into it because any child should not actually be exposed to this sort of environment,“ she added.
On a question if a candidate has been fielded for the Semenyih by-election being held on March 2, she said the matter was still being discussed.
“Not yet ... we’ve just talked about it in a general way.“
The by-election is being held following the death of Assemblyman Bakhtiar Mohd Nor, 57, of Bersatu, of a heart attack on Jan 11.