Arrest under SOSMA utterly inappropriate Pakatan Harapan should abolish draconian laws without delay

DAP’s Malacca exco G Saminathan, Negeri Sembilan Seremban Jaya assemblyperson P Gunasekaran and 5 persons were arrested by the police over their alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).

The arrest conducted by the police under SOSMA is utterly inappropriate. This is because LTTE has been a defunct organisation since the civil war in Sri Lanka and therefore does not pose threats to our country’s security and safety.

Malaysia has adequate and complete laws to deal with threats relevant to crimes and terrorism. If the police have found clues and believe that there is a need to investigate, they can call the two state assemblypersons and any other relevant parties to cooperate in the investigation process under the Penal Code. The use of SOSMA in the arrest is therefore completely unnecessary and inappropriate as the invaluable resources and time that the police force should have spent on protecting citizens are wasted.

In the Pakatan Harapan Manifesto, the 27th promise clearly states that once Pakatan Harapan comes into power, it will strive to abolish several laws that have severely suppressed human rights in order to right the wrongs and remedy the damages created by the then Barisan National government that only wished to preserve its political interests.

Prime Minister Mahathir clearly mentioned in July 2018 that as SOSMA allows the government to arrest anyone without having to go to court, the government will abolish this oppressive law. The attorney-general Tommy Thomas assured in August 2018 that SOSMA as a preventive detention law infringes on civil liberties and will therefore be abolished.

Apart from that, in January this year, Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that the government is taking steps to amend or repeal six laws, including Sedition Act, Peaceful Assembly Act, and SOSMA that is currently being used.

In order to revive and further safeguard human rights of all Malaysian citizens, the police must stop using SOSMA and other repressive laws immediately to arrest and investigate any dissidents. At the same time, the PH government should also speed up its effort of abolishing various repressive laws, particularly SOSMA so that bills can be tabled to the Parliament as soon as possible.

Since the government openly promised several times that laws that infringe on human rights will be abolished, the arrest of two assemblymen and other parties by the police is hence unacceptable.

The PH government must keep its promise of abolishing draconian laws in order to safeguard rule of law, defend the basic rights of citizens regardless of race and social class that are enshrined in the constitution, and ultimately to protect all Malaysian citizens from living in fear and white terror whereby dissidents are suppressed by those in power due to political interests.

Chiong Yoke Kong
Media statement by Chiong Yoke Kong in Cameron Highlands on Friday, 11th October 2019