A special sitting of the Dewan Negara today approved 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.
The motion, tabled by Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin, was approved by majority voice vote.
Hamzah said the extension of the enforcement of the subsection was necessary to deal with threats to the country’s sovereignty, security and public order.
Subsection 4(5) of Sosma states, among others, that a police officer with the rank of superintendent or higher may extend the period of detention for a length of time not exceeding 28 days, for the purpose of investigation.
Hamzah, in winding up the debate on the motion, denied that the extension of the subsection would allow oppression or cruelty against detainees.
He said that their basic rights, the right to see a lawyer and the right for the next-of-kin to be informed about the arrest were already in the act.
"Section 5 of Sosma provides the suspect with the right to be informed of the reason for the arrest. In addition, the suspect is also given the right to be tried in court under Section 12 of Sosma," he said.
A total of 24 senators participated in the debate session.
The motion was passed by the Dewan Rakyat yesterday after a bloc vote in which 111 MPs voted in support and 88 MPs against, while 21 MPs did not attend.