KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — Opposition lawmaker Nurul Izzah Anwar asserted today that no one should be subject to detention under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) no matter how detestable.
The Lembah Pantai MP was weighing in on the use of the security law intended to curb terrorism to hold Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah on the eve of the Bersih 5 mass street rally last week, adding that she wouldn’t use it on even Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos who leads the Red Shirts movement.
“I mean frankly — no matter how much I detest Jamal — I would never subject anybody to these conditions,” she was quoted by The Star Online as telling reporters at Parliament.
“Even if you talk about terrorism suspects, charge them in court,” she added.
The PKR vice-president reportedly questioned the government on the need to hold the social activist under the law that allows for detention without trial.
“They are detaining a woman who is a mother of three children. How can any Malaysian justify that she is a threat?”
She said Maria’s Sosma detention proved the Opposition was right to oppose the law when it was proposed, claiming it is now being abused by the government to curb dissent instead.
Maria was arrested last Friday under Section 124C of the Penal Code that criminalises the attempt to commit activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy.
Hours earlier, the police had raided the Bersih 2.0 office in Petaling Jaya, Selangor and seized a number of their belongings, including 10 computers, mobile phones and two boxes of funding documents.
Civil liberties lawyers have criticised the decision to apply the Sosma against Maria, noting that the law expressly states that it may not be used against any individual purely for their political beliefs.
At a news conference in Petaling Jaya earlier today, Maria’s son Azumin Mohamad Yunus claimed his mother was confined in a small cell with no proper bed, no blanket, windows and with the lights on round the clock, depriving her of restful sleep.
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has also rapped Putrajaya for using Sosma on Maria, reminding it of its past promise.
“The Government’s assurance in 2011 promised that no individual will be arrested merely on the point of political ideology.
“In Suhakam’s s view, the preventive detention of Maria Chin is a misuse of the law, an abuse of the legal system and of law enforcement,” its chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said in a statement.