“Abandoning SOSMA ‘not in pipeline’, gov’t to improve instead” says Ramkarpal

THE government has no intention to repeal the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) which allows lengthy detention without trial.

Law and Institutional Reforms Deputy Minister Ramkarpal Singh has outlined a different approach. He stated that the government’s focus lies in enhancing the existing law through a phased introduction of amendments.

“It’s not in the pipeline. But we are looking at improvements,” he told reporters in Putrajaya this morning when asked if there is any plan to abolish SOSMA.

Ramkarpal added that the ministry has completed the groundwork for reviewing the act, which included engagement sessions with stakeholders.

Although a specific timeline for the review has not been established, the Deputy Minister expressed the intention to promptly present the proposals gathered from the engagement sessions to the cabinet, according to news portal Malaysiakini.

“There is no timeline as such, but as I said, our groundwork is more or less complete.” Now we are preparing the summary.

“At this stage, we plan to bring up two main proposals to the cabinet for Sosma improvements. These improvements will not be done in one go, but perhaps in several stages,” he said.

Ramkarpal has indicated that the primary suggestions involve enhancing SOSMA concerning the issue of bail.

Moreover, SOSMA is a controversial law that allows up to 28 days of detention.

While the government has expressed its intent to evaluate SOSMA provisions, human rights advocates have been advocating for their total abolishment.

In the previous month, approximately 100 relatives of 69 individuals detained under SOSMA initiated a hunger strike outside Sungai Buloh Prison. Their objective was to call for the release of their imprisoned family members who are held without undergoing a trial.

Around 34 detainees are presently confined in Sungai Buloh, while the rest are incarcerated in Alor Setar, Kedah.

Furthermore, in response to this situation, Ramkarpal advised patience as the government is actively examining enhancements to the act. – Aug 23, 2023


Main photo credit: Bernama

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