PKR rep says excessive to charge security guard over T-shirt of LTTE leader

Bukit Tengah Assemblymen Gooi Hsiao Leung speaks to the press in George Town November 15, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Bukit Tengah Assemblymen Gooi Hsiao Leung speaks to the press in George Town November 15, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

SEBERANG PERAI, Nov 15 — PKR assemblyman Gooi Hsiao Leung has questioned the Attorney General’s Chambers for charging a security guard with supporting terrorism for simply possessing a T-shirt with the image of a dead Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) commander.

Beyond that, the Bukit Tengah assemblyman said M. Pumugan, 29, only shared some pictures and videos of LTTE’s struggle on his mobile phone and Facebook.

“If this is all the evidence the prosecution has against Pumugan, then I believe the AG’s chambers has committed a grave error of judgement for charging him with the most serious of offences that carries a life sentence,” he said at a press conference at his service centre today.

He added that it was unjustifiable for Pumugan to be charged under Section 130J(1)(a) of the Penal Code with soliciting or supporting a terrorist group.

The offence is punishable by life imprisonment upon conviction.

“The AG’s Chambers ought to re-consider the criminal charges brought against Pumugan. The charges should be dropped altogether,” he said.

Gooi also questioned the need to call Pumugan’s sister in for questioning yesterday when he was already charged last month.

“He was already charged in court, any investigations should have been completed before he was charged so the whole exercise of recording a statement from his sister has only caused further emotional distress and suffering on the family. It was unnecessary harassment,” he said.

He said he accompanied Pumugan’s sister to the police station in Bukit Tengah to have her statement recorded yesterday.

Gooi said Pumugan was not allowed bail as he was detained using the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

He said it is time that the government abolish the Sosma or urgently amend it.

“Section 13 (2) of Sosma which disallows bail goes against the fundamental criminal justice principle of innocent until proven guilty so the government must immediately amend this section,” he said.

He said Sosma is an unjust law that must be repealed or amended to safeguard the fundamental rights of the suspects.

“The government cannot sit idly by and do nothing,” he said.

He said Pumugan did not do anything to deserve being detained without bail or to be charged with a heavy offence that carries a life sentence.

“Every day Pumugan spends in detention without bail, he is being denied of his right to be treated as innocent until proven otherwise,” he said.

He stressed that Pumugan did not pose any danger to society so he should be allowed bail and be reunited with his family pending his trial.

Pumugan was charged with possessing items linked to LTTE in a handphone at a parking area in front of NSE Lorry Transport Sdn Bhd office, Lorong Industri Ringan, Permatang Tinggi, in Seberang Prai Tengah at 3.16pm on October 12.

He was charged with a second offence of possessing items linked to LTTE at a house in Juru, Bukit Mertajam at 4.15pm on the same day.

He was then slapped with a third charge, along with four others, under Section 130J (1) (a) of the Penal Code for supporting LTTE via his social media account under the name Pumugan Tamilan between January 11 and October 11 this year.

The four others who were similarly charged were S. Thanagaraj, S. Arivainthan, S. Chandru and R. Sundram.

The five men and several others, including Gadek assemblyman G. Saminathan and Seremban Jaya assemblyman P. Gunasekaran, were arrested on October 10 and 12 in various parts of the country under Sosma for their alleged links to LTTE.

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