KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — The federal Cabinet would not have arrested activist Maria Chin Abdullah under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today.
The former de facto law minister who had tabled the Act in Parliament added that the decision was made by the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.
But Nazri also said Maria made a mistake when she asked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to resign, claiming that such a call is unconstitutional and therefore Sosma can be invoked.
“I still maintain — if you ask me — that Sosma should not be used against politicians,” the tourism and culture minister said in an interview with The Sunday Star.
“But the decision to arrest Maria Chin was not mine. It wasn’t the Cabinet’s nor the Government’s. Had it been our decision, I think Maria Chin would certainly not have been arrested under Sosma.”
Nazri had in 2012 pledged that nobody could be arrested under Sosma for their political beliefs, as long as they are not doing it through violent or unconstitutional means.
“When I promised that Sosma would not be used against any politician, I could only assure it if I — or the Cabinet — made that decision.
“But this [decision] was made by the IGP. I was kept out of this, totally unaware,” he said earlier in the interview.
However, Nazri maintained that Maria had threatened national security, saying it was “wrong” for Maria to organise a rally to bring Najib down.
“Maria Chin’s mistake was asking Najib to resign. She should have just said she is not happy with the answers on 1MDB,” he said, referring to state sovereign fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
The mistake was her saying the purpose of Bersih 5 is to ask Najib to resign. That is unconstitutional. If you want to bring him down and have a rally, that is wrong,” he added, but did not specify which Article in the Federal Constitution that the Bersih 2.0 chief had breached.
And she is out!!!! Free!!! pic.twitter.com/b45VYBZJXR— Ambiga Sreenevasan (@Ambiga_S) November 28, 2016
Police detained Maria, 60, on November 18 under Section 124C of the Penal Code that criminalises the attempt to commit activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy, and invoked Sosma, allowing them to hold her without trial for up to 28 days.
She was released on November 28 after 11 days of detention, following global condemnation and nightly vigil by polls reform group Bersih 2.0 supporters.