DAP wants detention without trial to remain

SOSMA needed to combat Muslim extremists and Indian gangsters

(Malaysiakini) – A Pakatan Harapan lawmaker today opined that the controversial Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) can be maintained but only after undergoing some adjustments.

DAP’s Perak executive council member A Sivanesan said the country’s security should remain the focus of all security-related laws.

“I have attended a few Sosma-related cases. In my opinion, Sosma should be maintained. It is still needed to protect the country from the threat of extremism. But at the same time, it should be reviewed,” Sivanesan, a lawyer by profession, told Malaysiakini.

One of the major aspects which needed to be rectified was allowing Sosma detainees to be tried in court, added the Sungkai assemblyperson.

“In some of the cases I attended, Sosma detainees were tried in court unfairly.

“Although the detainees’ side had some solid evidence, it was still not easy to win in Sosma-related cases,” he said.

According to Sivanesan, Indians are the “most affected” by the law as they made up the largest number of detainees charged under the law.

He pointed out that there were other provisions under existing laws in the country which could be used to charge such detainees.

“If terrorism can be tried in court, then Sosma detainees should also be given the same opportunity.”

Crime factor

Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was reported saying that the government will abolish Sosma which is often dubbed as draconian. It allows any suspected individual to be arrested and detained without being taken to court to be formally charged.

Meanwhile, S Baradithasan, PAS Supporters’ Congress elections department (DHPP) director, did not rule out the possibility of gangsterism cases among Indians going up if Sosma was abolished.

“Personally, I’m not a big fan of Sosma, but at the same time I would not rule out the possibility of crime incidences in the country going up if the Act is abolished.

“The best way is to replace Sosma with a new law, or review Sosma,” he told Malaysiakini, further claiming that occurrences of crime among Indian youths had “drastically gone down” since Sosma was introduced in 2012.