Sosma never meant to be used on criminals, says lawyer

Police stand guard outside the Sungai Buloh prison during a protest against the use of Sosma in this file picture taken on Aug 25 last year. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer has urged the police and prosecutors not to abuse the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act or Sosma when handling hardcore criminals, including by denying bail to such individuals.

Baljit Sidhu said Parliament passed Sosma in 2012 to help law enforcement agencies handle security offences like terrorism activities.

“It was never intended to be used against suspected criminals,” he said in response to a police statement that they would rely on Sosma in prosecuting the criminal gang known as “Emi Keju”.

Criminal Investigation Department director Huzir Mohamed had said yesterday that Sosma procedures would be used as gang members charged with criminal offences in the past had disappeared after being allowed bail.

But Baljit said the police could have lodged reports on their disappearances, and prosecutors could have raised past examples of gang members jumping bail in order to keep them as remand prisoners pending the outcome of their trials.

He added that the gang members could have been charged with serious offences such as murder and armed robbery under the Penal Code and Societies Act, while prosecutors could rely on the Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act to prove their cases.

Baljit Sidhu.

“Sosma procedures should not be abused as the law was intended for different reasons.”

Sosma, he said, gives prosecutors the upper hand in securing convictions while denying the defence a fair trial.

He also noted that the Pakatan Harapan government had promised to either abolish or amend draconian laws.

He cited a case in which 42 men accused of being members of organised crime group “Geng 360 Devan” were freed last year after a special court sentenced them to a year’s jail on a reduced charge of being members of an unlawful society.

The 19 men from the “Emi Keju” gang were charged in the Selayang Magistrate’s Court today with involvement in organised crime.

Eighteen of them were charged under Section 130V(1) of the Penal Code for alleged participation in criminal organisations between 2017 and this year.

The 19th man, Mohamad Yusuf Mat Nasir, was charged under Section 130W of the Penal Code with allegedly assisting the gang members.

If convicted, they face jail of between five and 20 years.

No plea was recorded as the case will be transferred to the High Court, since Sosma procedures will be used during trial.