Amend Sosma, don't abolish it, say crime analysts

Nor Ain Mohamed Radhi

KUALA LUMPUR: The Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) should be amended instead of being abolished.

Crime and security analysts believe that abolishing the act would only open up space to not just provocations on sensitive issues but also organised crime and terror related cases.

Crime analyst Shahul Hamid Abd Rahim said such a law is necessary as it can play a large role in curbing security threats. Sosma, he said, should be amended at the most and not abolished completely.

“We need a strict law, not only to protect the country and its people, but also to curb security threats. Therefore, Sosma is the suitable law and must remain in place to preserve public order.

“It is best to get all the respective enforcement agencies to sit together and discuss on the amendments that they deem suitable to better improve Sosma.

“It is best to amend instead of abolishing it completely,” he told NSTP.

Shahul Hamid was commenting on a New Straits Times report on Tuesday, which quoted a highly-placed source as saying that the abolishment of Sosma will make it even tougher for the authorities to gather evidence as they would no longer be able to make use of statements of protected witnesses.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on July 22 had said that the government would abolish the controversial law, which was passed in 2012.

Pakatan Harapan in its “Buku Harapan“, pledged to abolish several draconian laws including Sosma, the National Security Council Act and other laws which are said to oppress the people.

Meanwhile, another crime analyst, Kamal Affandi Hashim said the rule of law was to ensure systematic and humane treatment of one’s right as stated in the constitution as well as the criminal justice system.

“Unless one breaks it, then be prepared to surrender either in part or all of one’s right.”

He said calls for the abolishment of certain laws, including Sosma, are nothing new as it had been done before.

”I am puzzled by the obsession of some quarters with the idea of abolishing laws that they feel are curbing individual freedom or not in line with universal act of freedom.

“Unless we live in an ideal society that obeys the law, only then do we not need laws to ensure the safety of the majority.”

He said that for ordinary people, no matter how ‘oppressive’ the law is, such as the death sentence for drug-related offences, it does not affect them because they have no intention of becoming lawbreakers.

“The law will only affect those who have the intention to circumnavigate or break the law,” he said.

Recently, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin was quoted as saying that the Attorney-General was considering amending the charges against 442 people remanded under Sosma.

A total of 42 men - accused of being members of organised crime group Geng 360 Devan- already had their charges converted from Sosma to Section 43 of the Societies Act 1966, which provided for lighter sentences.

Under the amended charge, the suspects face a maximum of three years’ imprisonment or RM5,000 fine, or both, for being members of an unlawful society.

They were previously charged with being members of an organised criminal group and could have been jailed between five and 20 years if found guilty. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd