Pua: Khairy must demand Maria’s release after defending Sosma

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PETALING JAYA: The arrest of Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah under the Securities Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) proves that opposition MPs were right all along.

In saying this, DAP’s Tony Pua also challenged Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to demand that police revoke the charge and release Maria as it goes against Khairy’s own argument during the debate prior to the passing of the law on April 17, 2012.

“Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin had criticised the opposition’s arguments against Sosma as ‘misleading’ and reiterated that legitimate political dissent including peaceful assemblies or even, Bersih ‘is not detrimental to Parliamentary Democracy’,” the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said, referring to Hansard records over the two days prior to the law being passed.

Pua also called out Khairy for praising the Sosma Bill by saying that Prime Minister Najib Razak was “on the side of civil liberties” and mocking then opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in the process.

“Khairy had mocked the opposition’s fear, claiming that they were not only unfounded, but that the letter of the proposed law was extremely clear and had no room for the purported abuse.

“He also criticised then opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, for not understanding that activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy means, ‘an activity carried out by a person or group of persons designed to overthrow or undermine Parliamentary Democracy by violence or unconstitutional means’,” the DAP national publicity secretary said in a statement released yesterday.

Maria was detained on Friday afternoon, on the eve of the Bersih 5 rally, and was later charged under Sosma, as police are investigating her for “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”.

This, Pua said, was exactly why the opposition led by Anwar, had argued furiously that the new law’s clause on “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” was too broad and would be subject to abuse by the authorities.

“Will Khairy Jamaluddin do the honourable thing now to demand that Maria Chin be immediately released because she has been wrongfully arrested?

“Or will he, more likely, keep his mouth shut and pretend that he had never said in Parliament that the Sosma and Penal Code Amendment Bills will not be used on peaceful assemblies or Bersih?”