PETALING JAYA: A hunger strike by more than 50 relatives of those detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) outside Sungai Buloh prison has ended.
Deputy law and institutional reform minister Ramkarpal Singh said the hunger strike was called off at 2pm yesterday.
“I was very concerned for their health and was grateful to see them eating and drinking again,” Ramkarpal said in a Facebook post today.
The families of the 69 detainees – 34 in the Sungai Buloh prison and 35 in the Alor Setar facility – began their hunger strike on Sunday to protest the continued incarceration of their loved ones.
Some of the detainees have been held for as many as three years without trial.
The protesters demanded that the government release the detainees. They said some of them were their families’ sole breadwinners, and they had struggled to get by without their main source of income.
Ramkarpal had asked the families to end their protest for the sake of their children who were also part of the hunger strike.
He said efforts to examine and amend Sosma according to the current climate were ongoing.
Sosma was introduced in 2012 to replace the Internal Security Act. Both laws allow for prolonged periods of detention without trial.
Sosma has been used to detain a variety of people – from Jemaah Islamiyah members to prominent civil rights activists such as Maria Chin Abdullah. Maria’s detention resulted in widespread condemnation from rights groups and the US State Department.