Penang, Malaysia—Malaysian Police launched the nationwide anti-crime push Saturday following a growing public outcry over lawlessness that for the past month has seen near-daily shootings and other violence.
More than 200 suspected criminals have been arrested since Saturday under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Amended 1983), which allowed for detention up to 72 days.
This operation comes following the spate of shootings nationwide which resulted in 22 deaths since May.
National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters in the northern state of Penang where Monday’s shootout erupted that 200 suspects have been rounded up nationwide.
“Since Saturday, we set up operations centres and targeted operations to probe the suspects, secret societies’ nests and suspected drug traffickers,” he was quoted by news portal Malaysiakini as saying.
He said five gang suspects were killed in an exchange of fire early Monday when police moved in on their hideout in Penang. Police have yet to track down the shooter or offer a clear explanation of the crime.
The crackdown launched at the weekend in the capital will include increased roadblocks and patrols to corral “suspicious” people and gradually be expanded nationwide, police have said.
Police will employ a previously little-used law allowing them to detain people for 28 days without a court order according to reports.