KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — The Attorney-General’s Chambers will examine the cases of over 400 people held without trial with an eye on filing possible charges against them, said a deputy minister.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin announced this in response to the hunger strikes launched by 118 people held under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act or Sosma.
“The Attorney-General, in his capacity as public prosecutor, is considering whether his chambers can amend the charges against the detainees,” the deputy minister said in a statement reported by Bernama.
The law allows for detention without trial and is considered the spiritual successor of the Internal Security Act notwithstanding its safeguards that are meant to prevent abuses.
The Sepang MP said the AGC was prepared to proffer charges against 442 detainees held variously over suspected offences under the Societies Act and the Penal Code.
The Sosma is only invoked to allow preventive detention and is not used to directly prosecute.
Sosma detainees launched hunger strikes in the Klang Valley and Penang this week to force the government to release them on bail and honour its pledge to do away with the security law.
The deputy minister explained that once charged, the existing detainees could either plead guilty to the offence or claim trial and begin the previously stalled due process.
However, Hanipa said this would not apply to any Sosma detainees under investigation for terrorism-related activities.