High Court to decide on Friday if DAP rep linked to LTTE will be allowed bail

Kenneth Tee
DAP lawmakers P. Gunasekaran and G. Saminathan, along with S. Chandru, are ferried to the Melaka Sessions Court in Ayer Keroh October 29, 2019. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — Gadek state assemblyperson G. Saminathan — who is currently detained under a security law over the probe into the now defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) — will know whether he will be allowed bail on Friday.

During today’s bail application hearing at the High Court, Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said he will deliver his decision on November 29 at 10.30am after hearing submissions from both prosecution and defence.

Earlier, Saminathan’s lawyer Ramkarpal Singh argued that judges were allowed to consider granting bail to an accused person despite being charged with a security offence.

He pointed out that this was due to the Security Offences Act (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) that was enacted in pursuant to Article 149 of the Federal Constitution that did not exclude the judiciary from granting bail under special circumstances.

“Article 149 which allows a law to be enacted on grounds of national security and public order cannot override the functions of the judiciary in granting bail,” he said during his submission to challenge the constitutionality of Section 13 of Sosma here.

Under Section 13(1) of Sosma, it is stated that bail shall not be granted to a person who has been charged with a security offence under the Penal Code.

Ramkarpal said while Article 149 took away the fundamental rights of a person, it did not diminish judicial power to consider bail for security offences.

Excluding terrorism-related offences under the Penal Code, the court was only limited to offering bail to women, those below 18 and the sick for offences against the State and organised crimes under the Penal Code.

“Judges cannot offer bail to those charged with terrorism-related crimes. Sosma has usurped the full discretion of the courts to offer under special circumstances,” Ramkarpal said.

He then cited the example of Samirah Muzaffar, who was charged with murder, which carries the death penalty under the Penal Code, but was allowed bail even though murder is classified as a non-bailable offence.

Lawyer Ramkarpal Singh speaks to reporters at Kuala Lumpur High Court on LTTE bail application November 26, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Saminathan, who is currently facing charges of supporting and possessing items related to LTTE, is currently remanded at the Sungai Buloh Prison under Sosma.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhammad Iskandar Ahmad argued that Sosma was passed by Parliament to pre-empt any individual from being a threat to national security and public order, in ensuring the country’s citizen lived in peace.

“We cannot afford to wait until something happens either a loss of life or property,” he added.

Muhammad Iskandar said parliamentary debates on Sosma would also reveal that basic rights of citizens, such as right to personal liberty, freedom of speech and freedom of movement, could be curtailed to serve the bigger interest of the nation.

The hearing, which began at 4pm to a packed courtroom that included the likes of several DAP leaders such as Yeo Bee Yin, Teo Nie Ching, Ong Kian Ming, Charles Santiago, and Lim Kit Siang, ended four hours later at around 8pm.

Saminathan had also previously submitted a letter of representation to Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas on the request for bail which involves the issue of the Constitution on November 11.

On November 1, the Sessions Court decided that there was merit in the application filed by Saminathan and 11 others under Section 13(2) Sosma before instructing them to refer the issue of the Constitution on the bail to the High Court.

The other 11 men were Seremban Jaya State Assemblyman P. Gunasekaran; V. Balamurugan; S. Teran; A. Kalaimughilan; S. Chandru; S. Arivainthan; S. Thanagaraj; M. Pumugan; R. Sundram; V. Suresh Kumar and B. Subramaniam.

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