Changes to Penal Code to penalise those who help terrorists
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will amend its Penal Code to punish not just terrorists but also those who provide financial services or facilities to them.
The proposed amendments seek to penalise those who give support for acts of terrorism, recruitment and training of members, and solicit property for the commission of terrorist acts.
According to the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2003, which was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, lawyers and accountants who provide financial services or facilities, including acting as nominees or agents for any terrorist group, face death if the terrorist act results in death.
Otherwise, they face a jail term of between seven and 30 years.
Anyone who harbours, prevents or interferes with the arrest of any person who is known to be or believed to be a member of a terrorist group will be punished with a life term and a fine.
Under the bill, “harbours” means supplying a terrorist with shelter, food, drink, money or clothes, arms, ammunition or transport in any way to evade apprehension. It also includes providing medicine, bandages or any other form to a wounded terrorist, except by a person employed in a government hospital.
“The introduction of the new chapter VI (A) in the Penal Code will enable Malaysia to accede to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on Dec 9, 1999,” according to the explanatory notes on the bill.
Under the bill, terrorists who commit acts which lead to the deaths of other people will face the death penalty, or jailed between seven and 30 years otherwise.
Those who provide explosives or lethal devices to terrorist groups, incite acts of terror, recruit members into a terrorist group or provide facilities in support of terrorist acts may be jailed up to 30 years.
These “facility providers” include building owners who knowingly permit meetings to be held at their place; aircraft pilots or vessel operators who allow their facilities to be used; or those who let the terrorists use their equipment for recording or conferencing via technology.
Another amendment states that those who intentionally omit to give information relating to terrorist acts can be jailed up to seven years or be fined (amount not stated.)
One new section seeks to make it an offence for anyone to take hostages to compel the Government or any international organisation to act according to his will.
Offenders can face the death penalty if the act results in death.
The Penal Code will also be amended so that the 20-year maximum jail term is changed to 30 years for those who kidnap a person in order to kill, commit gang robbery in which murder is committed, carry out housebreaking causing deaths or commit culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Among the other amendments is to provide for a jail term of between 15 and 30 years and whipping of not fewer than 10 strokes for incestuous rape.
If the victim dies, the perpetrator faces the death penalty.