Dr M: Security law review will clarify threats

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference in Parliament December 3, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference in Parliament December 3, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — Putrajaya’s review of security laws such as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 or Sosma will more clearly define what is considered a threat to national security, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said his administration considered such laws to be too broad, in reference to the invocation of Sosma to detain 12 people over alleged links to the now-defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“In enforcing the law, the power must be given to those who are tasked with enforcing the law. In this case, the police are in charge and it is up to them to gather credible evidence before they take action under the law including Sosma.

“However, the government is in the opinion that this law is not complete as it does not differentiate light and serious offences,” he said.

He was responding to Segamat MP Datuk Seri Dr R. Santhara Kumar during Minister’s Question Time in Parliament today.

The MP asked for the government’s progress in repealing and reviewing “draconian” laws such as Sosma, Prevention of Crime Act 1959, Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, and the National Security Council Act 2016, among others.

Dr Santhara also asked the prime minister to specify which activities would invite the use of the Sosma, after pointing out that it was used in the case of an allegedly unwitting donation of RM300 to a listed group.

Dr Mahathir said Sosma was there so the authorities could detain those seeking to harm the country but said the police must responsibly differentiate between violent and non-violent threats.

“In general, under this law that we used to detain those involved in terrorism, for example, those who strapped themselves with bombs or plan to kill someone

“But at the same time, there is evidence, which is not that strong, where they are trapped to be pictured with those who have been recognised as a terrorist. It is not his fault as, on the other hand, he may not know the person.

“In terms of the money donation worth RM200 or RM300 which cannot topple the government, it is up to the police to differentiate between baseless charges and credible charges that threaten the nation’s security,’’ he said.

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