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Police criticised for threat to use new security law

 | April 11, 2013

PKR says the Securities Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 is open to abuse.

PETALING JAYA: PKR today criticised the police for threatening to use the Securities Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) to ensure the smooth running of the 13th general election.

PKR supreme council member R Sivarasa told a press conference here that his party was concerned that the authorities might abuse the new law. This was one of the concerns expressed by several quarters when the relevant bill was tabled in Parliament last year.

Referring to a police statement that Sosma would be applied to ensure order during the official election campaign period, Sivarasa said: “This only proves our concern that powers under Sosma, relating to so-called offences detrimental to parliamentary democracy, could be easily abused.”

A news report yesterday quoted a Bukit Aman official as saying that those arrested between nomination day and polling day on suspicion of causing unrest could be investigated under Sosma and charged under the Penal Code.

“This includes the new Section 124B of the Penal Code concerning activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy, which is punishable by imprisonment of up to 20 years,” said Razali Basri, who is the principal assistant director of Bukit Aman’s Legal and Prosecution Division.

He added that Section 124 C of Sosma referred to an attempt to commit an offence, which carries a maximum jail sentence of 15 years.

Razali also said the police would use the Peaceful Assembly Act of 2011 to deal with incidents occurring before nomination day, which is April 20.

In his criticism against Razali, Sivarasa reminded him that offences committed during the campaign period would fall under the Election Offences Act.

“The Election Commission [EC] is the sole custodian of the election process,” he said. “Razali’s statement only shows his lack of understanding of the whole matter.”

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail also spoke at today’s press conference. He said EC chairman Abdul Aziz Yusof had told political parties during a meeting in March that the election process would be monitored under the Election Offences Act.

“Therefore, the police cannot use the Peaceful Assembly Act as well,” he said. “It’s confusing for the police to come up with such statement. I urge the EC to respond.”

Saifuddin said PKR had always observed election rules strictly.

“Check our records and you will see that we are a clean and a responsible party,” he said. “For this election, we will also remind our leaders on the dos and don’ts during the polls.”

Yesterday, Abdul Aziz dismissed the opposition’s claim that the general election would be the dirtiest polls ever, saying the EC had put in place various reforms to ensure the integrity of the contest.

“Detractors fail to see EC’s efforts of introducing 19 new rules to improve the conduct of the polls,” he was reported as saying.

However, Sivarasa said the EC had failed to serve as a neutral referee.

“We are not only talking about the inaction on the incidences of political violence but also the EC’s failure to clean up dubious voters from its rolls,” he said.

Also read:

EC: GE13 not dirtiest, but the best


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