Hanipa meets Sosma detainees over hunger strike

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Hanipa Maidin says as a lawyer, he cannot accept Sosma.

SUNGAI BULOH: A deputy minister has urged Sosma detainees to end their hunger strike as Putrajaya has “got the message”.

Hanipa Maidin said they should not risk their lives in protest of Sosma, or the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act.

“Putrajaya has got the message, the attorney-general has already made a statement on this, you just need to be patient,” he said, referring to Tommy Thomas’ assurance that Sosma would be abolished despite resistance from certain quarters within the government and the legal fraternity.

Hanipa, who is the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said this before his meeting with the Sosma detainees, some of whom are being held for alleged links to organised crime.

The detainees have been on a hunger strike since Friday.

The Sepang MP also said that as a lawyer, he could not accept the law, which he described as cruel.

“I have no problem if it is abolished.”

Yesterday, some 200 family members of the detainees gathered outside the Sungai Buloh Prison urging the government to abolish Sosma.

Thomas had yesterday said that the law would “go soon” and is subject to consultation with many ministries.

In July, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government would abolish Sosma, which is widely seen as a replacement of the Internal Security Act (ISA), which has been repealed.

The previous Barisan Nasional government had defended this law, saying it was 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 those who were detained under the law were 1MDB critics Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer Matthias Chang, and former Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah.