Dewan Rakyat rejects govt’s motion on Sosma

pic by TMR FILE

THE Home Ministry’s motion for a five-year extension of subsection 4(5) under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) was rejected in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday through a bloc vote.

The subsection allows for an individual to be detained for up to 28 days without trial, after the initial 24 hours following the arrest. It is slated to expire on July 30, 2022.

The bloc voting was agreed upon as more than 15 MPs stood up to push forth the bloc vote after the Opposition stated their objection towards the extension during the debate on the motion yesterday.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun said 84 MPs were for the extension while 86 of them were against it after 10 minutes of voting. He added that 50 people were not in the lower house during the bloc vote.

The results drew loud cheers mostly from the Opposition bloc whereby some of them chanted “Hidup Rakyat” and Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching even called for the resignation of the Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

The bloc voting did not go smoothly as three government MPs entered the Dewan Rakyat during the voting process, which caused a brief outcry in the lower house.

Among the MPs who voiced against it were Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil (Lembah Pantai), Khalid Abdul Samad (Shah Alam) and Sivarasa Rasiah (Puchong). Azhar, however, stated that votes from the latecomers would not be included.

It has been ruled that MPs cannot enter the hall after the doors are closed for voting.

During the presentation of the motion in the morning session of the sitting, Hamzah said if the 28-day detention period is not maintained, it may affect the investigation process by the police because the procedures would be done in a rushed manner within 24 hours of the arrest.

The procedures include conducting an investigation, preparation of investigation papers, completion of investigation papers and the presentation of the papers to the deputy public prosecutor for further actions, the minister said.

“In my opinion, those who do not agree with Sosma 2012 or do not support the extension of subsection 4(5) are those who allow for crime and terrorism to dominate the country. However, individuals who love the country and peace would definitely provide ample space for the Royal Malaysia Police to play their roles.

“Therefore, Sosma is the best mechanism to overcome security threats. The effective period of subsection 4(5) of the Act needs to be extended for another five years beginning July 31, 2022,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday when he presented the motion.

Sepang MP Mohamed Hanipa Maidin was among those who were against the motion. During his speech, he stated that Sosma is “evil from the get go” due to its cruel provisions.

Hanipa also told the Dewan Rakyat that he would stand firm with his views if former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is detained under Sosma.

“If Pekan MP was detained under Sosma, I would be against it because we should not accept it. Even if I really hate Pekan because he destroyed the country, I would still be the first person to voice out against his arrest if it was done under Sosma,” he said in his debate yesterday.

The subsection came into force on July 31, 2012, and was renewed for the first time in 2017.

Sosma is an Act that was specifically enacted to provide provisions for special measures with regards to security offences to maintain peace and safety.

It was formulated to replace the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960.

ISA was an Act that allowed for detention without trial or criminal charges under limited and legally defined circumstances.

Under Article 149 of the Federal Constitution, it allows for the government to enact laws to fight against subversive acts, actions that could deteriorate public order and other related to it even if the laws are contrary to any provision under Article 5 (personal freedom), Article 9 (ban on deportation and freedom of movement, Article 10 (freedom to congregate, speak and form an organisation) and Article 13 (rights to property).