KUALA LUMPUR: An opposition MP called out home minister Hamzah Zainudin for saying that the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) will not be used against the government’s political opponents.
Salahuddin Ayub (PH-Pulai) reminded the Dewan Rakyat how similar promises made on the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA), which was repealed in 2012, were broken in the past.
Debating the motion to extend the maximum 28-day detention period which is supposed to end next month for another five years, he said Malaysians have not forgotten how the ISA was used for political reasons in the past.
“History has shown that the ISA was repealed due to the cruel nature of the Act. For decades the law was abused, although it was initially enacted to combat the communist threat.
“The home ministry at the time gave an assurance that no politicians will be detained under the Act, because its focus was to combat communism and any armed insurgency against the country and King,” he said.
“But as time went by, that was not the case. Maybe you (Hamzah) were never detained under the ISA, but many of my friends were.
“For me, it was never about the period of detention but about how detainees were subjected to cruel treatment under detention.”
The Amanah deputy president then listed out the serving MPs who were arrested under ISA, including Khalid Samad, Mohamad Sabu, Lim Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim.
According to Salahuddin, when Pakatan Harapan (PH) controlled Putrajaya, its Cabinet had discussed reviewing Sosma, with police involved in the deliberations.
“We wanted to review and not abolish it, as we understand that the country needs a law to combat terrorism as well as racial and religious extremism.
“I agree that the country needs such a law, but the provisions have to be reviewed. The powers given to the police need to be monitored and limited so that detainees would not be subject to cruelty under Sosma,” he said.
He added that if the bill is not reviewed, the opposition will reject the proposed amendment.
Yesterday, Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, who was a former Sosma detainee, renewed calls to abolish the controversial law as she said the existing laws were sufficient to address the offences it would be used against.
Hamzah proposed that sub-section 4(5) of the Act, which allows police to detain a person for 28 days without trial, be extended for another five years beginning from July 31.