ISA repeal led to gang wars, says ex-IGP

Musa Hassan, a former IGP, says the government should learn from repeal of the Internal Security Act. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Abolition of security laws in the past led to a rise in gang warfare and serious crime, according to former Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan, who cautioned the federal government about its plans to end several security laws.

He said the abolition of the Internal Security Act in 2012 should serve as a lesson to the government, which is considering repeal of laws such as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, Prevention of Crime Act and Prevention of Terrorism Act.

“We have already abolished the ISA and Emergency Ordinance and the repeal has led to a significant rise in serious crime cases, particularly involving gangs of secret societies fighting for their areas of control,” Musa said in an interview with Bernama.

“I don’t agree with repeal, if we can study in detail first…without SOSMA, POCA and POTA, we cannot contain trained terrorists’ activities such as the Daesh (Islamic State) group or well-organised, armed and violent groups of criminals,” he said.

Musa is the second former head of the police force to speak out against the repeal. On Thursday, former IGP Haniff Omar said abolition of SOSMA would complicate security investigations: he urged the authorities to find a replacement that would help prosecutors in “complex” cases.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said last week that the government sought to abolish the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act and other laws considered oppressive, such as the Prevention of Crime Act and Prevention Of Terrorism Act.

These laws provide powers of preventative detention, without trial.

Musa said he believed that strict preventive laws were needed to restrict the movement of extremist groups, militant groups and organised crime groups today.

He cited the 2013 “invasion” of Lahad Datu, Sabah, by a Suluk group from Mindanao, Philippines, as another lesson that threats to national sovereignty could occur at any time and should be contained from the start.

Nine members of the security forces and 54 of the Suluk group were killed, and about 100 people detained.

Musa dismissed claims that SOSMA affected the human rights of citizens; he said those arrested under this law were entitled to defend themselves.

SOSMA allows a police officer to arrest without warrant and detain a person for 24 hours, with an extension to not more than 28 days.

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