PETALING JAYA: Last month’s arrest of 12 people suspected of having links to the defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was part of a deep state plan to damage the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s reputation, Deputy Rural Development Minister R Sivarasa has alleged.
He noted that the arrests were made under the controversial Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), parts of which the government has promised to repeal.
“As far as I know, the arrests were never endorsed by the top but were a fait accompli by the police,” he told reporters at the venue of a discussion on Malaysian social movements.
The 12, including assemblymen P Gunasekaran and G Saminathan of DAP, have claimed trial to charges of terrorism under the Penal Code. They were charged in a Melaka court on Oct 29, two weeks after the end of a crackdown on alleged sympathisers of LTTE.
Sivarasa, who sits on PKR’s central leadership council, said the arrests upset a significant number of the party’s Indian supporters as well as some Malay and Chinese supporters and was a cause of PH’s devastating defeat in the Tanjung Piai by-election on Nov 16.
Noting that LTTE was destroyed in 2009, he said PH supporters had complained that the coalition used Sosma on frivolous grounds even after promising to repeal its draconian provisions.
“Our supporters are upset,” he said. “People who are doing this are intending to cause political damage to PH. They are inside institutions such as the police and have loyalties to the old government.”
He said the prime minister was trying to “cool things down” when he declared that he wanted amendments to Sosma done by next March.
Sivarasa spoke of “huge” police powers under Sosma in its current form but also implied that the cabal in the deep state included people in the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
He noted that the attorney-general was on holiday at the time of the arrests.
“He should have acted to stop the prosecutions, but seemed unable to do so,” he said. “It appears that the person at the top also has his limits.
“I do hope, however, that the AG will quickly complete the required amendments to remove all of Sosma’s draconian provisions.”