Kit Siang: “Give priority to SOSMA reforms to ensure past atrocities do not reoccur”

VETERAN lawmaker Lim Kit Siang said the Government make completing the previous administration’s legal reforms to the “draconian reforms” under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) a top priority. 

The former Iskandar Puteri MP this is to prevent a repeat of the abuses suffered in the last decade under the law. 

He explained that the previous administration under then prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob started consultations with stakeholders but needed more time to execute what the Cabinet decided during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s tenure as prime minister in 2019. 

“The Anwar Government should complete the consultations started by Ismail Sabri’s administration on the repeal of the draconian provisions in SOSMA and table the amendments to the Act to Parliament in the February session of the Dewan Rakyat,” Lim said. 

He added that he was one of 88 Pakatan Harapan (PH) MPs who voted against the extension of Section 4(5) of SOSMA for another five years in the Dewan Rakyat session last July. 

Section 4(5) of SOSMA allows the police to detain a person suspected of being involved in terrorist activities for a period not exceeding 28 days for investigations without a court order. 

This sub-section is to be reviewed every five years and will cease to have effect unless, upon the review, a resolution is passed by both the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara to extend the provision’s period of operation. 

Last week, Home minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said while the Government acknowledged that certain provisions in SOSMA will need to be reviewed from time to time, there will not be any amendments for now. 

In defending the controversial Act, Saifuddin said “the law allows the court process to take place”. 

He said this was in contrast to the now-defunct Internal Security Act (ISA), which allowed for detention without trial, and the emergency ordinances (EO) which allowed for detention of up to 60 days. 

Damansara MP Gobind Singh Deo urged the minister to reconsider his stance on the law, saying it was at odds with the position taken by Pakatan Harapan in the past. 

The DAP deputy chairman and former minister said PH’s stance had been that SOSMA was “problematic and needs to be dealt with”, adding that Anwar said in 2019 that certain parts of SOSMA needed to be amended as the law was “too harsh”. 

Former Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah had similarly urged Saifuddin to reconsider his position. Maria, the former Bersih chief, was arrested in Nov 2016 under SOSMA – a day before the Bersih 5 rally. – Dec 22, 2022 

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