‘Treaty on criminal matters to enhance coop’



Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia on Tuesday said a landmark treaty signed with India on mutual assistance in criminal matters showed their strong commitment to combat the menace of transnational crime through international cooperation.

The historic treaty, signed yesterday after four years of negotiations, has been viewed as timely in the wake of escalation in transnational organised crime like drug trafficking, smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and terrorism.

Sanjay Singh, Secretary (East) Ministry of External Affairs, on behalf of India and Abdul Gani Patail, Attorney General of Malaysia, signed the treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.

The Attorney General's Chambers described the signing of the treaty as the highest commitment by both governments at preventing and combating transnational criminal activities through international cooperation between their respective law enforcement authorities.

"The treaty between Malaysia and India is intended to facilitate this process between the two countries by putting in place a formal bilateral mechanism for the gathering of relevant evidence in each other's countries for the purpose of criminal investigations and criminal proceedings in their respective countries without affecting the existing informal mechanism," A-G's office here said in a statement.

Under the treaty, Malaysia and India will provide the widest measure of mutual assistance in connection with investigations and proceedings pertaining to criminal matters.

The treaty features a broad range of assistance, including the taking of evidence by way of judicial process, the taking of voluntary statements of persons, the provision of relevant documents, records and items.

This also includes making arrangements for a person to assist in an investigation or appear as witness, executing search and seizure, effecting service of documents, identifying, tracing and recovery of proceeds of crime and property and instrumentalities derived from or used in the commission of an offence and any other form of an assistance not prohibited by the laws of the requested state.

"Thus, in addition to the existing agency-to-agency informal cooperation mechanisms, this treaty will facilitate the gathering of evidence and the recovery and repatriation of proceeds of crime where compulsive measures as court orders are generally required under the laws of the requested state," the Malaysian statement said.

It added that the request for mutual assistance in criminal matters would be transmitted and executed by the respective central authorities of the two countries.

PTI