A non-governmental organisation (NGO) has demanded that Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail be removed as Home Minister, saying that Malaysia needs a Home Minister who adheres to human rights and upholds the rule of law.
Malaysians Against the Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET) cited how Saifuddin reportedly said 401 people had been “punished” under the controversial Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or SOSMA, in 2022.
According to Saifuddin, 140 out of the 624 people detained under SOSMA last year were released, 71 were charged in court, and 12 were still being investigated.
MADPET spokesperson Charles Hector said the law cannot be used to punish anyone unless they were charged, tried, found guilty, and sentenced.
“The sentence is the only punishment permissible by law. Arrest and pre-conviction detention should never be abused to punish anyone.
“SOSMA is not a detention-without-trial law. Post-arrest detentions without trial is only for the purpose of investigations, nothing else. Police cannot use detention, even under SOSMA, for the purpose of ‘punishing’ anyone,” Hector said in a statement.
Hector also called for the abolition of SOSMA, despite Saifuddin’s stance that it was still necessary, and despite the fact that the abolishment of the draconian law was part of PH’s election manifesto.
He stated that other existing laws could be used by the police, as SOSMA permitted the police to detain an individual for a maximum of 28 days without a magistrate order. Therefore, he deemed that SOSMA as unlawful.
“Sadly, our current Home Minister and government, despite the call of the Malaysian Bar, The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), civil society and justice loving Malaysian fails to understand the need for the immediate repeal of SOSMA,” Hector remarked.
“Saifuddin, the PKR and PH secretary-general, may be a good MP and politician but, to MADPET, he does not qualify to remain the Home Minister.
“MADPET calls on the Home Minister to resign, or alternatively urge Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to remove him as Home Minister, or even from the Cabinet. Choose a Home Minister that understands and respects human rights, and will always uphold justice.” – March 13, 2023
Main pic credit: Bernama