Sosma to Be Amended, Not Repealed

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Putrajaya will amend instead of repeal the Special Offences (Special Measures) Act, said Liew Vui Keong, following an outcry over the detention of 12 people, including two DAP elected officials, under the law last week.

De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong said the cabinet has discussed the law and decided that parts of it would be changed.

“Two areas the government looked at are the detention of 28 days and (lack of access) to lawyers,” he said in the Parliament lobby today.

The amendments will be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat after the Home Ministry has completed its review, said Liew.

“I was told they (Home Ministry) have been looking into it and if they can slot it into the current meeting, it will be good. Otherwise, we still have time next year,” he said.

Section 4(5) of Sosma gives power to the police to detain a person suspected of being involved in terrorist activities for up to 28 days for investigation.

Section 4(11) of Sosma states that sub-section 4(5) shall be reviewed every five years and shall cease to have effect when the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara agree not to extend it.

Parliament approved the extension to Section 4 in April 2017 and the section will come up for review in 2022.

Meanwhile, Liew told reporters a new law on political funding will be reviewed by a select committee before it is tabled in Dewan Rakyat.

“The Political Funding Act has been discussed in the cabinet and we have decided to refer it to the Consideration of Bills select committee as it involves all politicians.

Nazir Sufari/TMI

“Hopefully, we can table this law in the next sitting,” Liew said.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said should be reviewed and fined-tuned to prevent abuse, not abolished.

Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu, cited the arrest of Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah during the Barisan Nasional (BN) government as an example of the preventive detention law’s abuse.

Chin was arrested in 2016 for her part in organising a rally calling for electoral reform in Kuala Lumpur.

After BN lost power last year, she sued the government and police over the arrest. That suit was resolved in February, after the government agreed to pay damages.

“Maria was only involved in the Bersih rally. Things like this shouldn’t happen. So, the act needs to be amended,” Mohamad told reporters in the parliament lobby today.

Asked about the arrest of 12 people over alleged links to defunct Sri Lankan terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Mohamad said he trusted police would thoroughly investigate the matter.

“I am sure the police will be more careful handling this case. Hope they follow the rules,” he said.

Sosma allows detention for up to 28 days without a charge.

This morning, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Pakatan Harapan politicians had to understand that the changing situation in the country has compelled police to use Sosma to fight terror.