SEPANG, Nov 23 — The Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) was used on Maria Chin Abdullah in order to combat Open Society Foundations’ (OSF) attempt to purportedly topple the country, the police said today.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar explained that the Bersih 2.0 chair’s arrest had nothing to do with her political belief or the recent Bersih 5 rally, but was because the police needed time to investigate certain documents seized in the polls watchdog’s office during a raid this month.
However, he refused to confirm if the documents were linked to think tank OSF, founded by US billionaire George Soros.
“[The detention was] for us to decipher the evidence that we have found at their office — all the computers and documents that we’ve seized. We need time to go through [them],” Khalid told a press conference here.
“Maria herself has admitted to receiving money from OSF once. We all know what OSF is, how many countries in the world that it has toppled through their ways.”
The IGP however contradicted himself later when he revealed that Maria is also being investigated under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 for not fulfilling requirements for a public assembly, in addition to Section 124C of the Penal Code, related to acts detrimental to parliamentary democracy.
Police raided Bersih 2.0’s office in Petaling Jaya ahead of the Bersih 5 street protest last week, and was said to have confiscated all of the group’s belongings.
Khalid said the police has received more than 15 police reports regarding Bersih 2.0’s activities and alleged foreign funding, and therefore the police needs Sosma to ascertain Bersih 2.0’s “status” and whether it is allowed to receive such funding.
“This has nothing to with politics. This issue is a threat towards our country’s security. It threatens the practice of parliamentary democracy. It’s not as if we don’t know OSF’s track record. We have to take steps to make sure we don’t fall into their trap to topple our country on purpose,” he added.
Civil liberties lawyers had told Malay Mail Online this week that Putrajaya has reneged on its pledge never to apply Sosma against political dissent, citing Section 4(3) in the Act that states “No person shall be arrested and detained under this section purely for his political belief or political activity”.
They also claimed that Sosma was designed to only combat terrorism or those seeking to overthrow the government through violence and unconstitutional means.
Khalid refuted such claims today, saying that Sosma can also be used against organised crime, human trafficking and crimes against the state, unlike the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 that is exclusively for terrorists.
Police detained Maria on November 18 and invoked Sosma for the arrest. The law permits the police to hold individuals for up to 28 days without trial.
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) confirmed earlier today that Maria is being held in solitary confinement and denied a bed as she previously alleged.