Thursday, September 23, 2021

Rights lawyer, Muda leader calls for use of Sosma law on ‘constitutional criminals’

Lim Wei Jiet says any move to repeatedly and intentionally block Parliament from reconvening would be detrimental to parliamentary democracy.

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A human rights lawyer and co-founder of the yet-to-be registered Muda party today urged authorities to arrest those he said were blocking the reconvening of Parliament under a controversial provision of the Penal Code.

Lim Wei Jiet, who is also the secretary-general of the National Human Rights Society, said authorities must seriously consider investigating “constitutional criminals” under Section 124B of the Penal Code, a provision that has long been under attack from rights activists.

“If you repeatedly and intentionally prevent Parliament from being convened, you are committing an act detrimental to parliamentary democracy (both directly and indirectly),” Lim said on Twitter, in an apparent attack on the Perikatan Nasional government in light of a debate on the revocation of the emergency ordinances.

Rights groups including the Bar Council have strongly criticised Section 124B, which deals with “activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy”, providing for up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

The section is among several provisions introduced into the Penal Code when the previous Barisan Nasional government enacted the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), one of many draconian security laws which Pakatan Harapan pledged to abolish before it came to power in 2018.

Critics have said that the section is too widely couched and is open to abuse by the authorities.

In 2015, it was reported that the section was used to investigate student protesters who staged a sit-in outside the Parliament building to press for the resignation of then-prime minister Najib Razak over his role in the 1MDB scandal.

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