KUALA LUMPUR: Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong claimed 2016 as the worst year for cases of detention without trial since Operasi Lalang in 1987.
“The detention of people like Maria Chin Abdullah is reminiscent of what happened back in 1987 with Operasi Lalang,” he said at Suaram’s Human Rights Report 2016 launch today, referring to how more than 100 people, including opposition leaders, activists and even a priest were nabbed under the ISA on Oct 27 1987.
He said the large number of people who are detained without trial only happens when the government felt threatened.
“Back during former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s time, it happened because he felt threatened by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s rising popularity. Now the current PM Najib Razak is using Sosma to do the same thing after the US Department of Justice’s report showed that the whole world is questioning the 1MDB scandal.”
He also accused the government of lying to the people about how other countries had laws that allowed for detention without trial.
“In other countries, detention without trial is used against foreigners, never their own citizens. This is the misinformation that the Malaysian government is giving the people.”
Meanwhile, Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy noted how the government had abolished ISA but the number of people being detained without trial is just as high as it was back when ISA was still around.
“This is a post-ISA era but in 2016 alone 102 people were detained without trial under Sosma.
“And Sosma is not the only law that allows for detention without trial as we also have the Prevention of Crimes Act (PCA) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota). We are moving backwards,” he said.