KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 ― An online petition condemning the use of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 against Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah and demanding her immediate release is steadily gaining traction, getting over 37,000 signatures since it kicked off on Monday.
The “#MansuhSOSMA and #BebasMaria” petition on ipetitions.com has secured 37,804 signatures so far, under 3,000 signatures shy of its intended 40,000 target.
“When tabling the bill in Parliament in 2011, the government assured and promised Malaysians repeatedly that Sosma will not be used on the basis of differences in political ideology, but it is evident today that the administration led by Prime Minister Najib Razak is reneging on its promise.
“In our view, this is a clear abuse of legislative and executive powers,” the petition read.
It has since been shared on Facebook 7,200 times.
Police detained Maria on November 18 under Section 124C of the Penal Code that criminalises the attempt to commit activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy, and invoked Sosma for the arrest.
Sosma permits the police to hold individuals for up to 28 days without trial.
Maria’s family yesterday submitted a habeas corpus application to the Kuala Lumpur High Court, asking it to compel the police to release her from a 28-day detention order.
Outrage over Maria’s detention under the Sosma was further exacerbated by her allegation that she was being held in a permanently lit and windowless cell measuring 15x8 feet, conditions that the Malaysian Bar have called “oppressive, inhumane and degrading”.
Supporters had also been holding nightly vigils at Dataran Merdeka that grew in numbers each day, until the Kuala Lumpur mayor yesterday closed the square to the public.