KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya must clearly define the limits of the anti-terror law, Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), and Section 124(c) of the Penal Code, which relates to activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy, said Maria Chin Abdullah.
The Bersih 2.0 chairman pointed out that she is seeking those explanations not because she was detained under Sosma, but simply because Putrajaya owes this to the people.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing of her habeas corpus application in the KL High Court today, Maria questioned if Sosma will now be used on NGOs and other individuals.
“They really owe the public an explanation on Sosma. It is not just about my case; we see that it is affecting Empower.
“Is this going to be extended to other NGOs and individuals? This is a national question that we have to answer,” Maria said, referring to the police raid yesterday at the Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower).
Maria said that Prime Minister Najib Razak had effectively replaced the Internal Security Act (ISA) with Sosma, given how they have the same provisions.
“It has the same provisions as the ISA. No counsel, no access to family, you can be detained up to 28 days.
“The general public must know why you have to use Sosma and how you define terrorism.
“Civil society has done its role in being the check and balance, asking questions about free and fair elections. Does that warrant Sosma being used against us?”
Lawyer Gurdial Singh Nijar elaborated on the matter, saying that the government had to properly define the meaning of “political beliefs” and the parameters of Section 124(c).
“They say you cannot arrest a person for political beliefs. What does that mean? Was she arrested on the basis of her political beliefs? What is the criteria to decide political beliefs?
“Section 124(c) – undermining parliamentary democracy – what are its parameters?”
Gurdial pointed to the Hansard, quoting minister Nazri Aziz’s comments on the law saying that it applies to situations where you are going to overthrow a system.
“(It doesn’t work) when you say that there are misgivings about how governance and elections are carried out. That is not the intention of 124(c).
“It is an offence against the state and system of the state by violent means. The Bersih rally was as peaceful as it can get. Does that warrant this?”