Sosma to go, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir Mohamad holds a mock cheque for RM3.4 million, contributed by Chinese associations for Tabung Harapan, at an event in Shah Alam.

SHAH ALAM: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said the government would abolish the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, the controversial law passed in 2012 widely seen as a replacement to the Internal Security Act (ISA) which was repealed some three months earlier.

“If a person is caught, there is no court hearing and if a person dies in custody, there is no inquiry,” he told an event related to the Pakatan Harapan coalition’s “Tabung Harapan” donation drive.

“This is the law that is passed by Najib,” he said, referring to the former prime minister.

“We will repeal that law. The rakyat must be protected by just laws,” he said.

PH in its “Buku Harapan”, which lists 60 promises to be fulfilled should the coalition win the 14th general election, has pledged to abolish several draconian laws including the National Security Council Act passed in 2016.

Activists have recently renewed a campaign to press for the abolition of Sosma, as well as the equally controversial Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) and Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota).

The previous Barisan Nasional government had defended these laws, saying they were needed to deter extremists including those linked to the Islamic State.

Under Sosma, a person can be detained for a maximum of 28 days, and police can delay his access to family and legal counsel for up to 48 hours after being arrested.

Among the hundreds who were arrested under Sosma was Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, who was detained for 11 days for her role in leading the Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur in November 2016. It was also used against former Batu Kawan Umno leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan over his role in reporting the 1MDB scandal to foreign authorities.

Meanwhile, at the fundraising event today, 18 Chinese associations in Klang came together to contribute RM3.7 million to Tabung Harapan.

Also present were Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari and Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad.

Tabung Harapan was launched by the ruling coalition to allow the public to help the government settle some RM1 trillion in national debt.