KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today said he will not apologise for introducing the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma, amid criticism of its use to detain an activist.
He said such legislation was needed to allow authorities to deal with the threat of the Islamic State terrorist group, also called Daesh, promptly.
“In some countries in the past, it was not an offence to support Daesh, nor to travel abroad for terrorist-military training. They have had to rush to bring in new laws.
“[So] let me be clear, I make no apology for making the security and safety of all Malaysians my first priority by passing Sosma, the Prevention of Terrorism Act and National Security Council Act,” he said when opening the KL International Youth Discourse at PWTC.
Najib added that while the force of legislation was necessary, prevention through education must also be given equal emphasis.
“We have set up the Regional Digital Counter-Messaging Centre to synchronise efforts to counter radical social media messages and to present the true image of Islam, within Asean and beyond.
“We have formulated a special rehabilitation module that has been so successful that it has been translated into three languages — Arabic, English and French — so that other countries can make use of our expertise,” he said.
Najib said over 100 people had gone through a deradicalisation programme devised by the government, and fewer than ten relapsed.
The one-day youth discourse is aimed at discussing current threats related to national security through various topics and a dialogue session between youths and lawmakers.
Police invoked the Sosma to detain Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah for 28 days without trial last week.
Putrajaya was criticised over the move, and accused of reneging on its pledge never to use the law against political dissent.