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Controversy over the use of Sosma

  • There are other laws which the police can use to launch an arrest operation to ensure that human rights are protected and transparency manifested while fighting terrorism.

Sin Chew Daily

A total of 12 people have been nabbed by the police for suspected involvement in “Tamil Tigers” terrorist group, including two state assemblymen from DAP.

Bukit Aman Special Branch counter-terrorism division chief Ayob Khan has said the police will carry on with the investigation on LTTE, with more people expected to be arrested soon.

Police investigation shows that there are LTTE cells in various states of the country, and the police have to launch the arrest operation to prevent the organisation from getting too large to be manageable.

It is understandable that the police have taken a proactive stance in combating terror organisations to ensure the country's security. However, citing the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) in the arrest of suspects is itself a point of contention. Under Sosma, a suspect can be detained unbailable for up to 28 days without trial.

The public have no objection to the police taking firm actions to ensure the safety of Malaysians, but some feel that other laws can be used to assist in the investigation instead of Sosma, especially when two of the detainees are elected representatives.

As a matter of fact, the police can always summon them to give their statements instead of arresting them under Sosma.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) has also hit out at the police for arresting the suspects under Sosma.

Pakatan Harapan has promised to abolish Sosma, and prime minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad said shortly after taking office last year that the government would abolish the act. Nevertheless, the act is yet to be repealed but has been used by the police for the detention of individuals suspected of involvement in terror activities.

In a democratic society, human rights have to be respected, but Under Sosma, a suspect can be detained for up to 28 days without trial, which lacks transparency and does not conform to the principle of modern democracy.

Malaysia is a country ruled by law and boasting a modern judicial system. If the police have the evidence in hand, they can charge the suspects in the court and give them a fair trial to prove their innocence.

It has to be emphasised here that Malaysians in general support the police's action to battle terror organisations as this entails national security. Anyone involved in terror activities must be handled justly and impartially by the police regardless of their political backgrounds or status.

We need to reiterate that Malaysians unambiguously stand alongside the police on the issue of fighting terrorism. We cannot deny that the police have indeed done a good job in ensuring the country's security including the detention of several IS terrorists earlier on.

No one will question the police's effort, but what raises a controversy is the inappropriate use of Sosma and the negative impact from it.

The effort put in by the police is highly approved by the people, but using Sosma to detain a suspect is simply not the best option.

Under Malaysia's legal system, there are other laws which the police can use to launch an arrest operation to ensure that human rights are protected and transparency manifested while fighting terrorism.


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