MALAYSIA — The Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture Abolitionists (MADPET) has called for the immediate repeal of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).
The statement came in response to a parliamentary reply by Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, who revealed that 401 people were punished under the act in 2022.
SOSMA is designed to provide special measures relating to security offences to maintain public order and security. However, the law allows for arrest and pre-conviction detention, which can lead to abuse by authorities.
MADPET called on the Home Minister to resign, or for Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to remove him as Home Minister.
According to MADPET, Saifuddin Nasution may be a good Member of Parliament and politician, but he does not qualify to remain as Home Minister.
The movement claims that the minister does not understand the Rule of Law, justice, and human rights. MADPET also criticized the minister for condoning police abuse of powers and for using the law for ulterior motives such as punishment before conviction.
Saifuddin Nasution had earlier defended the use of SOSMA, saying that it is still a relevant act to maintain national security.
The minister argued that the police still need the law to implement any urgent action to prevent panic among the people and address threats to the country’s sovereignty and the well-being of the people.
MADPET believes that law enforcement does not need SOSMA, as it is not a detention without trial law.
The movement argues that post-arrest detention without trial should only be used for the purpose of investigation and not to punish anyone.
MADPET calls on the Malaysian government to compensate victims of SOSMA and other criminal laws for their loss of liberty, rights, and losses when they have held in detention in the administration of criminal justice.
MADPET reiterated the call for the immediate repeal of SOSMA, as the law wrongly allows for not certain requirements of the Malaysian Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act.
The movement argues that the law can provide for longer maximum periods in detention for the purpose of investigation, but the role of the Magistrate must be maintained to ensure no abuse.
It said that SOSMA excludes the Magistrate role, which is necessary to protect the suspect’s rights and to ensure that the police do not abuse their powers, including by torture, when police custody post-arrest detention is only permissible for the purpose of investigation.