Mat Sabu says govt discussing plan to ‘improve’ Sosma, not its abolition

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu is pictured at the Parliament lobby October 15, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu is pictured at the Parliament lobby October 15, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 ― The government does not need to do away with the controversial Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), the defence minister said today amid calls for its abolition as promised.

Mohamad Sabu, better known as Mat Sabu, also revealed that the Home Ministry headed by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was instead having talks to “improve” the law allowing detention without trial.

“Sosma, no need to abolish it, just need to be improved as it could be misused,” Mohamad told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

He added that it was his personal opinion that the preventive law only needs improvement following its use by the former Barisan Nasional administration on Maria Chin Abdullah, another Pakatan Harapan MP.

“Right now, it is being discussed. But I can’t guarantee when it will be tabled. It’s being discussed by the Home Ministry itself,” Mohamad said.

Maria, a former co-chair of electoral reform watchdog Bersih 2.0, was arrested under Sosma and held for 10 days from November 18, 2016, ahead of the Bersih rally that was to start the next day.

The law was recently invoked in the arrest of 12 people, including two DAP assemblymen, suspected of trying to revive a defunct Sri Lankan terror group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today reiterated his defence of the arrests under Sosma, saying he was satisfied with the reason given by the police.

Yesterday, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he agreed with the police use of the Sosma to address issues involving terrorism.

However, the PKR president said that certain aspects and sections of Sosma should be amended and improved, for the benefit of all parties, as the law has been deemed too harsh.

The LTTE was a separatist group that had been active in Sri Lanka until it was officially defeated 2009. It has been classified as a terrorist group by 32 countries including Malaysia, which did so in 2014.

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