KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — Human rights group Suaram today called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to review the Security and Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, better known as Sosma, to kickstart his government reform agenda.
Its executive director Sevan Doraisamy said the non-government organisation had documented 116 cases under Sosma this year, and added that the law that allows for detentions without trial was prone to abuse when used against political dissenters.
Speaking at the launch of Suaram’s Human Right Report 2022 here, Sevan said Anwar should remember how laws that allow for detentions without trial are easily abused, having been subjected to a similar situation when he was locked up under the Internal Security Act (ISA) back in 1998 after his sacking from the government.
“Anwar was detained under Internal Security Act and that was detention without trial. He was tortured in custody.
“He had the black eye, not just by the police personnel but the IGP at that time. These are all violence he should know,” Sevan said in the press conference at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.
The ISA was abolished in 2012, but replaced with the equally controversial Sosma that retained the clause allowing for suspects of an investigation to be detained without trial for up to 28 days at a time.
A previous review of the preventive law was taken to Parliament earlier this year, where the controversial clause, Subsection 4(5) of Sosma, was allowed to continue for the next five years beginning July 31.
Sevan said that Anwar should not delay tabling changes to Sosma, which he claimed went against the spirit of parliamentary democracy.
He said the current provisions for detentions for purposes of investigation under the Criminal Procedure Code were sufficient, adding that suspected security or organised crime offenders were more likely to cooperate with the police when not subject to the harsh conditions under Sosma.
He cited the case of Nicky Liow, the founder of Winner Dynasty Group and the alleged boss of an organised crime syndicate, who surrendered himself to police in March after fleeing the country and was charged with multiple counts of money laundering before the government reversed the Sosma clause in July.
Asked to comment on Inspector-General Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah’s defence of Sosma, that the extension clause helps investigators to be more efficient, Sevan said there were other detention options under the Criminal Procedure Code.
“It can be seven plus seven days under the oversight of the magistrate, and it should be enough for investigation.
“There’s already a showcase that Sosma can be misused and there’s so much torture that happens in the 28-day period and not so much of investigation,” Sevan said.
He added that Suaram has documents to show that police have not fully utilise the 28-day detention for investigations and questioned the need for such lengthy custody of suspects.