The statement today by Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division principal assistant director Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay that the investigation papers in relation to those recently arrested and detained under the Security Offences (Special Offences) Act, 2012 (SOSMA) have been submitted to the Attorney General’s Chambers is confirmation that the investigation process in respect of the same have been completed.
In light of the above, there is no need for the detainees to be further detained although they have been remanded for a period of 28 days under SOSMA.
According to Ayob Khan, it is now up to the AG to decide whether or not to charge the said detainees. As such, there is no longer a need to hold them under SOSMA and they should, accordingly, be charged forthwith if the AG is of the view that there is evidence against them.
No doubt, they can be charged for an offence under the Penal Code read with SOSMA whereby bail can be refused. I, however, urge the AG to charge them in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code and offer them bail if he is of the view that there is sufficient evidence against them as refusing them bail serves no useful purpose as they are only suspected of committing an offence at this stage.
Furthermore, two of the said detainees are elected representatives and denying them bail pending trial would result in them being unable to serve their constituents.
If the authorities are so confident of the purported evidence it possesses against the said detainees, there shouldn’t be a problem charging them pursuant to the CPC without the need to resort to the draconian provisions of SOSMA during their trials, which I maintain, ought to be repealed, particularly in light of the Harapan government’s promise to do so in its GE14 election manifesto.
In the circumstances, I urge the AG to either charge the said detainees under the CPC and offer them bail pending trial or release them forthwith. It is imperative for the AG to recognise that the deprivation of the liberty of the said detainees is a gross violation of their human rights if later found to be unlawful.