Top anti-terror cop defends Sosma

Bukit Aman counter-terrorism chief Ayob Khan Mydin with Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu at the Asean Security Symposium today. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The nation’s top anti-terrorism officer today defended the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 or Sosma, as calls grew on the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to repeal it as promised in the coalition’s manifesto.

Bukit Aman’s Counter-Terrorism Division head Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said Sosma was effective in fighting terrorism and extremism in the country, and allowed enforcement agencies to conduct operations to disrupt terrorist activities.

“When we have information, we can strike, arrest them and charge them in court for planning a terrorist attack, unlike in some countries where you have to wait up to the final stage to arrest (terrorists),” he told the Asean Security Symposium today.

But Ayob said Bukit Aman would abide by any decision by Putrajaya, whether to amend Sosma or to abolish it, adding that police would find alternative ways to nab suspects.

“When the government repealed the ISA, we managed to find ways and means under Sosma. In the earlier stages, we had problems, but (we managed) after a few months,” he said, referring to the draconian Internal Security Act.

He rejected a claim by critics that Sosma was similar to the ISA which allowed detention without trial.

“They (Sosma detainees) have every opportunity to engage lawyers. We charge them in court,” he said.

Ayob said the 28-day detention period under Sosma was still shorter than in Indonesia where terror suspects could be detained for up to 260 days.

Yesterday, PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim backed calls for Sosma’s abolition, following a hunger strike by 160 Sosma detainees at the Sungai Buloh Prison.