SOSMA Must Go and Juvenile Detainees must be Freed Immediately

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) welcomes the announcement by Tun Mahathir Mohamad regarding the administration’s plans to abolish the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).

Since its inception, SOSMA has been used extensively by the Royal Malaysian Police with more than 1,600 detentions since July 2012. Despite assurances by the former administration, the denial of the right to fair trial and torture in detention remains prevalent with SUARAM’s documenting countless case of brutal torture akin to those faced by detainees under the Internal Security Act 1960.

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Home Affairs must Intervene on Minors Detained under POCA/SOSMA Immediately

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) welcomes the stance adopted by the new Minister for Home Affairs, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on reviewing draconian laws and the acknowledgement for the need for engagement with civil societies.

While the promises for consultation and review of draconian law is a much appreciated after decades of repression, SUARAM would like to remind the Minister that there are urgent matters which requires his immediate interventions.

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Siti Noor Aishah Re-Arrested

Siti Noor Aishah Re-Arrested

On 27 March 2017, SUARAM was notified that Siti Noor Aishah, the research student at University Malaya who was previously detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) for possession of 12 ‘illegal’ books. After her release on 29th September 2016, she was re-arrested under Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA). After her 60 days detention under POCA, Siti Noor Aishah has been sentence to house arrest with an electronic monitoring device (EMD) attached to her.

Despite the repeated failure by the police and the attorney general chamber in establishing a case against Siti Noor Aishah, the attorney general chamber appealed the High Court’s decision to discharge Siti Noor Aishah. Following her hearing at the Court of Appeal this morning, Siti was re-arrested and returned to detention under SOSMA pending the continuation of her trial at high court.

SUARAM strongly condemn the use of laws such as SOSMA that provides detention without trial. To date, Siti’s detention remain one of the most deplorable use of SOSMA and POCA. With no clear evidence against her, the repeated attempt to deprive Siti of her freedom through unscrupulous means can only be described as abuse of power and a gross human rights violations.

The fact that Siti Noor Aishah is already sentenced to house arrest with EMD under POCA and the finding by the High Court judge stands in her favour, it is abundantly clear that there is no need for her to continue her detention under SOSMA while her case proceeds to full trial. On this note, SUARAM calls on the Attorney General Chambers to rescind its stance on the matter and allow Siti to be released from SOSMA detention.

In Solidarity
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director

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Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 24 November 2016

In 1987, the Mahathir government tried to justify the mass arrests and detentions without trial under Operation Lalang with a “White paper” on the supposed clandestine connections of all the people caught in the dragnet. We called it a “Whitewash caper” over the detention without trial of Malaysian citizens – apart from the overall lie, it was filled with half-truths, distortions and generally, bad fiction. Even Archbishop Anthony Soter Fernandez at the time (Now Malaysia’s first Cardinal) castigated the poor attempt at fiction writing:

“The White paper’s reference to the use of Liberation Theology by the so-called ‘Marxist Group’ appears to us a cheap imitation of the allegations of the Singapore Government against those arrested last year (1987) on similar charges.”

Operation Lalang was really a cynical attempt by the Mahathir government to frighten the population and social activists into submission to the will of the state. After it began, the Tunku declared:

“Overnight, Malaysia has become a police state.”

Only insecure regimes need detention without trial laws. That is why after finally being forced to jettison the ISA, the government finds the need to have SOSMA, POTA and POCA in its convenient box of tricks to deal with dissidents who think outside the box.

The same bad fiction in 2016

Maria was arrested under Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) a day before the Bersih 5 rally, for investigations under Section 124C of the Penal Code for attempting “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”. This is tenuously linked to the fact that the electoral reform movement has received funds from the George Soros-linked Open Society Foundations.

The inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar has said that Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah’s detention under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act is not politically-motivated or related to the recent rally. He said Maria was arrested following the discovery of “documents” during a raid at the Bersih office in Petaling Jaya last week:

“There were enough reasons for us to investigate her under Section 124C of the Penal Code, so we arrested her after the raid… The arrest was for a potential threat to national security…We all know what the OSF is and how many countries it has ‘toppled’ in its own ways,” he said. Khalid clarified that Sosma, unlike the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015, has a wider scope and could be used against other forms of threats to national security.

Umno information chief Annuar Musa has chipped in to claim that Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah has links to US intelligence bureau Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) through the tenuous connections of the NGOs she has worked for.

And what will 28 days of interrogation reveal?

First of all, what bearing does the view of this Umno leader have on police investigations? Secondly, what will 28 days of solitary confinement reveal when the Government’s six agencies already failed to pin any charges on SUARAM after more than six months of intense investigations over the same tenuous links in 2012 and 2013?

The UMNO chief Annuar has also pointed out that Maria was involved in human rights and feminist NGOs which are pro-LGBT, such as the Women’s Development Collective (WDC), Empower and Sisters in Islam (SIS). Is that also subject to investigation under SOSMA? Is UMNO unaware that all these NGOs he has named are legitimate and legal organizations which have been operating in Malaysia for decades?

Government should be a good role model for integrity

To be “a society that is at peace with itself” (Vision 2020), the government cannot go on writing bad fiction. It must set itself up as a role model for integrity. Integrity springs from strong adherence to principles of truth, social justice and the rule of law. We will never be at peace with ourselves as long as we continue to detain people without trial and proceed to justify this with lies, distortions and generally, bad fiction…