Don’t appeal but let Sosma detainees apply for bail, Bar Council urges AG

Abdul Fareed commended the judge’s ‘historical’ decision for recognising that the Sosma provision overstepped the boundaries of justice. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Abdul Fareed commended the judge’s ‘historical’ decision for recognising that the Sosma provision overstepped the boundaries of justice. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — The Bar Council is hopeful that Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas will not attempt to stop DAP lawmaker G. Saminathan’s bail application pending his trial on charges of supporting a defunct terror group.

The Gadek assemblyman is one of 12 Malaysians currently held at the Sungai Buloh Prison under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) that allows for preventive detention after being arrested in October for alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“Section 13 of Sosma is repugnant and is antithetical to the rule of law and the Federal Constitution. It has been used to deny bail to numerous persons detained for security offences provided in Part VIA of the Penal Code.

“This should not be allowed to continue and the Executive should accept the decision of the High Court. The Malaysian Bar therefore urges the Attorney General not to pursue an appeal in this regard,” Malaysian Bar president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor said in a statement today.

DAP lawmakers P. Gunasekaran and G. Saminathan, along with S. Chandru, are ferried to the Melaka Sessions Court in Ayer Keroh October 29, 2019. — Bernama pic
DAP lawmakers P. Gunasekaran and G. Saminathan, along with S. Chandru, are ferried to the Melaka Sessions Court in Ayer Keroh October 29, 2019. — Bernama pic

In a landmark decision on November 29, the High Court ruled that the Sosma provision that barred the courts from considering bail to be unconstitutional.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the provision effectively allowed the executive to override the judiciary, violating the separation of powers among the different branches of government.

Abdul Fareed commended the judge’s “historical” decision for recognising that the Sosma provision overstepped the boundaries of justice.

“In a new Malaysia, we expect the Executive to take a more nuanced and circumspect approach to court decisions, instead of just adopting a knee-jerk, mechanical approach, when decisions do not go in its favour,” he added.

The statutory body representing lawyers in peninsula Malaysia reiterated its call to repeal Sosma.

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