Home minister: Sosma preventive detention period may be shortened

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said more safeguards would be introduced to prevent authorities from abusing the security law. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said more safeguards would be introduced to prevent authorities from abusing the security law. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 ― Amendments to the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 or Sosma might include reducing how long suspects can be held without trial, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

He said more safeguards would be introduced to prevent authorities from abusing the security law.

“Many are saying that the 28 days period is too long and they think it should be shorter. But the enforcement agency like police said that if it relates to terrorism, they would need more time to research so the decision they make is right.

“But there are views that maybe we give them 14 days (of detention without trial) and to get another 14 days, they must bring the detainees to court and get a judgment from the judge. That is one example to provide check and balance.

“It would not give full powers to the police, that all is in suggestion (to amend Sosma),” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.

He also asserted that the law would not be invoked for cases such as economic sabotage such as in the case of lawyer Matthias Chang previously.

He said he was chairing the special committee to review Sosma that was consulting stakeholders such as the Bar Council and others for feedback.

“I think for now, with the Parliament session to end soon and we have yet to finish the Cabinet papers to bring the matter to Cabinet first. I think we could bring to parliament in the next session, on March 2020.

“About three months ago actually we have discussed it in Cabinet, the ministry is ready but some in the Cabinet gave their views so we have to do more research,” he said.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said security laws seen as “draconian” would be reviewed.

On Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-Terrorism chief Datuk Ayub Khan’s assertion that visa-free entry for visitors of some countries was why Malaysia was suspected of being a staging point for terrorist groups, Muhyiddin said this will be studied.

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