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Home ministry retables motion on extension of Sosma clause

Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin says the clause allowing the police to detain suspects for up to 28 days is necessary for dealing with threats to the country.

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A police patrol car makes the rounds in Kuala Lumpur in this May file picture.
A police patrol car makes the rounds in Kuala Lumpur in this May file picture.

Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin today retabled in the Dewan Rakyat the motion for an extension of the enforcement of Subsection 4(5) of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 or Sosma for another five years beginning July 31.

He said extension of the enforcement of the subsection was necessary to deal with threats to the country’s sovereignty, security and public order.

Sub-section 4(5) of Sosma, among others, states that a police officer with the rank of superintendent or higher may extend the period of detention for a space of time not exceeding 28 days, for the purpose of investigation.

"We cannot compromise with elements that threaten national security. The duty of the police and all security agencies in this country is to ensure that the country is peaceful and safe to live in," he said when tabling the motion.

Hamzah said although the subsection provides for a suspect to be held for 28 days, in reality the police have only 21 days to investigate. 
"This is because the police have to hand over the completed investigation papers to the Attorney-General's Chambers for further instructions seven days before the end of the 28-day period," he said.

During the investigation period, he said, the police need to obtain information from other enforcement agencies, as well as assistance from other countries for cross-border cases, which takes a long time.

Hamzah said Sosma (Act 747) provides justice for the people who are detained, including the opportunity for them to meet with their lawyers.

He said Sosma should not be compared with the Internal Security Act 1960 as there were many differences between the two laws.

On the issue of detention without trial, he said, Sosma requires the person detained to be charged if there is sufficient evidence as stated in Section 12, with all security offences to be tried by the High Court.

On July 20, the Dewan Rakyat approved a motion to revoke the decision made by the House on March 23 rejecting the extension of the enforcement of Subsection 4(5) of Sosma.