Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) condemns the reversal of the Minister of Home Affair, Muhyiddin Yassin’s position on the abolishment of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) and the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA).
The claims that SOSMA and POCA provides and guarantee the safety and security of Malaysia is deceitful at best. By claiming that these laws are critical for national security, the Minister is suggesting that our criminal justice system under the Criminal Procedure Code and the Penal Code that has withstood the test of time is irrelevant or incapable of addressing criminal matters or providing justice.
The Minister is merely making the same superfluous claim as the Barisan Nasional administration in his attempt to justify the need or existence of a parallel ‘justice’ system under SOSMA and POCA where fundamental rights protected by the Federal Constitution and fair trial principles are dismissed and ignored. Ambiguous and arbitrary claims that these laws are effective in combating national security threat without establishing how it does so and how the Criminal Procedure Code and Penal Code fail to do so is irresponsible and malicious.
Furthermore, Muhyiddin’s suggestion that SOSMA and POCA would not be abolish is yet another betrayal by Pakatan Harapan administration. When SUARAM and other NGOs submitted a memorandum to Muhyiddin, the Minister committed to further engagement with civil societies on the issues and claims that he will establish a working group with civil society to review the laws while a moratorium is implemented against it. Since then, both commitments have fell silent with no further feedback and communication from the ministry.
With the backtracking and failure to fulfil its commitments, Pakatan Harapan administration has proven themselves only capable of maintaining the Barisan Nasional’s institutional direction and governance structure which disregard peoples’ welfare and human rights. If the current administration fails to uphold the spirit of reform which led to its rise to power, the failure will undoubtedly contribute to its premature downfall as support among the public dwindles.
The civil societies demand on this is simple. Abolish SOSMA and POCA. Give detainees an opportunity to defend themselves fairly in court in line with established principle of the right to fair trial. Failing which, Pakatan Harapan should drop the charade and acknowledge that they are no different from Barisan Nasional.