Sosma, other draconian laws to be amended soon, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir Mohamad and other Pakatan Harapan leaders at a press conference after the PH Presidential Council meeting on Tuesday night.

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad tonight said the government has decided to table amendments to laws that are considered draconian.

Speaking to reporters after a Pakatan Harapan (PH) Presidential Council meeting here, Mahathir said Putrajaya will make amendments to such laws as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012 – even if it does not completely abolish the laws – to avoid misuse.

“We will fix certain areas in these laws that allow for arrests without charges.

“We will carry out these amendments as soon as possible, because if not, it is likely that they will be wrongfully used.”

Mahathir said the government will try to table the amendments during the ongoing session of Parliament, but if that is not possible, then they will be tabled at the next session, beginning in March.

He denied that the amendments had anything to do with the recent arrests of people allegedly linked to the now-defunct terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“We have made these promises before, but we were delayed because of certain factors.

“So we now feel that we should take action immediately in case they are misused again,” he said.

PH has recently come under fire for going back on its promise to repeal draconian laws, as stated in its election manifesto, following a crackdown on people accused of links with LTTE, while rights group Suaram has called for a moratorium on the use of Sosma following the arrest of 12 suspects.

De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong had also said the provisions to be reviewed include the period of detention and access to legal representation.