- Advertisement -

Sosma leads to abuse, Kit Siang reminds Anwar govt

The DAP veteran urges the government to move ahead with the process started by the previous administration to amend the controversial law giving wide powers to the police.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang. Photo: Bernama
DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang. Photo: Bernama

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang today became the latest to speak up against the government's decision not to review the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), urging Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's administration to prioritise legal reforms in order to do away with the abuse long linked to the controversial law. 

Lim, speaking in the wake of Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail's defence of the law, said it was because of such abuse that MPs from Pakatan Harapan (PH) had voted in July against the extension of Subsection 4(5) of Sosma, which gives the police special powers to detain suspects without producing them in court. 

Lim recalled, among others, the arrest of former Bersih chairman Maria Chin Abdullah and Pejuang's Khairuddin Abu Hassan under Sosma, saying the government should ensure zero repeat of "the abuses of Sosma in the last decade". 

He also reminded the government that former home minister Hamzah Zainudin had agreed with MPs from both sides of the divide that there were unfair clauses and provisions under Sosma, and that the government needed more time to conclude consultations with stakeholders before moving ahead with amendments.

"The Anwar government should complete Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government consultations on the repeal of the draconian provisions in Sosma, and bring the amendments to Sosma to Parliament in the February session to prevent a repeat of the abuses of Sosma in the last decade," Lim added.

The debate on Sosma arose after Saifuddin said at a press conference on Dec 13 that the government had no intention of reviewing the law. 

He maintained his stand despite calls, including from his PH colleague in DAP, Gobind Singh Deo, for him to reconsider his position.

He said Sosma allowed the court process to take place, and compared it to its predecessor, the Internal Security Act, saying that under Sosma, the period is "only 28 days". 

He also said that arrests under Sosma were only done on "reliable intelligence and evidence". 

He later acknowledged that there were several sections and clauses in Sosma that needed to be amended and studied by the home ministry. 

"Certain sections and clauses cannot remain there forever and should be given due consideration over time. 

"But at the moment, I say no, because I have only been at the ministry for two weeks," he told reporters on Dec 15.

The stand also ruffled the feathers of rights activists and drew criticism from government backbenchers who urged PH to be consistent.

"When faced with legislation oppressive in nature, discussions must be held and points of view taken moving ahead in line with our push for reforms," said Damansara MP Gobind.