KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 — The prime minister today defended the police detention of 12 people, including two DAP lawmakers, over links to defunct Sri Lankan terror group, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the police must have strong reasons for the arrests under Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), in response to Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy’s criticism yesterday.
“The situation now is different, we are not just simply arresting people for no reason. There is a reason and I have received an explanation from the police on the reasons why the have taken action and I am satisfied with police explanation.
“If Ramasamy is not happy, then he is not happy the fact remains that this has happened and there is a reason why it has happened,” Dr Mahathir told reporters at the launch of Malaysia Medical Device Expo 2019 and International Medical Device Conference 2019 here this morning.
Ramasamy said the arrests were a bitter pill to swallow as Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders had in the past been critical of the police using draconian laws, and had promised to repeal them, including Sosma.
The Penang lawmaker told news website Malaysiakini yesterday that he was disappointed with Dr Mahathir’s stand, claiming that it did not reflect PH’s electoral promise to do away with such laws.
Two DAP assemblymen, P. Gunasekaran from Negri Sembilan and G. Saminathan from Melaka, were among 12 people arrested over suspected links to the LTTE last week.
Bukit Aman’s Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said that large financial transactions were made to reactivate the LTTE, and that his team has been monitoring them since November last year.
Sosma allows the police to hold suspects without trial for infinitely renewable blocks of 28 days at a time.
DAP lawyers and MPs Ramkarpal Singh and RSN Rayer have said they will challenge the detentions of Gunasekaran and Saminathan in court.