KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 — A rights group today denounced Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Putrajaya for refusing to abolish the controversial Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) said the move to justify keeping the Act and the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca) is a betrayal by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.
“The civil societies’ demand on this is simple. Abolish Sosma and Poca. Give detainees an opportunity to defend themselves fairly in court in line with established principle of the right to fair trial.
“Failing which, Pakatan Harapan should drop the charade and acknowledge that they are no different from Barisan Nasional,” it said in a statement.
In his winding-up speech during Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s annual assembly, Muhyddin who is also party president said the government will retain Sosma for national security, claiming the preventive detention law is necessary despite its shortcomings.
In response, Suaram accused Muhyiddin of suggesting that Malaysia’s criminal justice system, under the Criminal Procedure Code and the Penal Code, is irrelevant or incapable of addressing criminal matters or providing justice.
It also labelled ambiguous and arbitrary claims of Sosma and Poca’s effectiveness without explanation as “irresponsible and malicious.”
Suaram said Muhyiddin had previously committed to engage civil societies on the issues, and to establish a working group to review the laws while a moratorium is placed on them -- but the Home Ministry has since fell silent.
“With the backtracking and failure to fulfil its commitments, Pakatan Harapan administration has proven themselves only capable of maintaining the Barisan Nasional’s institutional direction and governance structure which disregard peoples’ welfare and human rights.
“If the current administration fails to uphold the spirit of reform which led to its rise to power, the failure will undoubtedly contribute to its premature downfall as support among the public dwindles,” Suaram said.