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Is preventive law such as SOSMA needed as a preventive measure to safe guard the

peace and harmony of society?


Every country needs to have its own law to prevent to be used as a preventive
measure to safe guard the peace and harmony of society, this is something the
government need to maintain the order of the country to prevent any radical event that
will cause ruckus. SOSMA was created to curb terrorism activities, however the
enforcement of the Act seems contradicts with the government's stand. As Malaysia is a
democratic country, people do have rights to voice out should be given the freedom of
speech. reventive law should only be use when there are an outbreak or when people
trying to make some racist discrimination. So, SOSMA is not the right act to maintain the
peace and human rights.
!n "#$", government finally repealed the !nternal Security Act $%&# '!SA( and
substitute it with the Security Offenses 'Special Measures( "#$" Act 'SOSMA( which is
administration detention without trial. !SA has been critici)ed for allowing preventive
detention for indefinite periods without trial. rime Minister *atuk Seri +a,ib -a)ak said
the government would no longer limit individual.s freedom but instead ensure their basic
constitutional rights were protected. On the surface SOSMA may be better and different
from !SA, but it is guaranteed that Malaysian.s basic rights will be protected and there
peace will be maintained/ 0nfortunately, the definition and enforcement of SOSMA is
1uestionable. Malaysia government passed laws permitting detention without trial,
dragged critics into court for staging protests and showing films, and continued its
dubious prosecution of the opposition leader.
2here are definitely positive aspects of the SOSMA which are as follows3
reviously !SA allowed police to detain individuals for &# days. +ow, under SOSMA,
this has been shortened to "4 days.
!SA allowed the home minister the discretion to place individuals under detention
without trial for two years, renewable indefinitely. +ow, this power has been
taken away.
!SA allowed police broad scope under which they could detain anyone acting in a
manner pre,udicial to the security of Malaysia, or to the maintenance of the
country.s essential services or economic life. 0nder SOSMA, only those
suspected of 5security offenses6 may be detained by the police.
*espite the positive aspects, there are issues with SOSMA.s implementation. 7irstly,
the definition for who may be arrested under SOSMA is too broad. 2he definition of
5security offenses6 includes committing acts 5pre,udicial to national security and public
safety6. 2his is not any better than the !SA definition. Such a broad definition gives
government sufficient power to bring partisan politics into decisions as to what is or is
not a security breach. 7or e8ample, the government could decide that the ongoing 9ersih
5clean elections6 campaign is a security offense as it is intended to influence or compel
the government to change electoral practices. Another e8ample would be the 9ersih ".#
rally where government stated that possession of :he ;uevera 2<shirts and Seksualiti
Merdeka is a se8uality rights festival which government categori)e as national security
threats that will affect the peace of people.
7rom all the interpretation above, SOSMA do not seems to be used to help people to
maintain peace but to allow the government to manipulate the Act according to their
benefits. Moreover, police should not have the power to authori)e communication
intercepts, and prosecutors not supposed to utili)e information as evidence without
disclosing sources but this is all happening in Malaysia under SOSMA. Secondly, the
power to detain suspects for "4 days is given to the police without ,udicial oversight.
eople that are arrested under SOSMA need not be produced before a magistrate. An
officer of higher rank may e8tend the detention for "4 days ,ust for the purposes of
5investigation6. Ordinarily, persons arrested by the police can only be detained for up to
"= hours. After that, the person must be released unless produced before a magistrate who
may order further detention for the police to complete their investigation. As we could
see, what SOSMA allows is e8ceeding the norms. 2his posted a 1uestion whether is
government truly concern about protecting the people.s safety and basic constitutional
rights or ,ust themselves and their power.
9ased on the actions, who do you think e8actly is a national security threat/ A person
ac1uitted under SOSMA can be imprisoned for an indefinite time pending appeal. A
government who genuinely wanting to respect constitutional rights and protect its
people.s safety would not introduce a security law with so many loopholes. !t would
institute tighter safeguards with ,udicial oversight and not leave citi)ens open to abuse of
police power.
Many says that !SA is used to protect the safety of the people and as SOSMA is a
replacement of !SA so this act supposed to continue to protect the citi)ens. *uring the
$%&#s and $%>#s, the Malaysian government used the !SA to suppress political activity.
Mahathir used the !SA e8tensively to imprison political opponents and human rights
activists, with the most prominent e8ample being Operation ?alang in $%4>, through
which the government detained $#& human rights advocates and political activists from
the ma,or political parties. According to +oh Omar, SOSMA is vital to deal with
gangsterism. !n $%4>, the nation almost saw a racial riot as some non<Malays started
1uestioning Malay privileges. @ithout the !SA then, Malaysia may not have seen peace.
5Aust because the communist threat is over, do you think there are no other threats/ ?ook
at Aemaah !slamiah. !ts members were all arrested under the !SA because they were a
threat to our country. Since !SA is no longer around, we have SOSMA. 2he new threat
are the gangsters were now wrecking havoc among Malaysians, causing public order
concerns6 said +oh Omar.
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2he first SOSMA detentions demonstrated the police.s ability to circumvent the law.
2here is this case about Da)id Sufaat, a former detainee of seven years under the !SA is
now detained under the SOSMA. 2his clearly shows that SOSMA is !SA. 2he lawyers
had lodged a report against the olice for allegedly denying his right to legal
representation. ?awyers were not allowed to see the detainees despite the new law
allowing police to deny such access for only =4 hours.
Other changes refer to the rules of evidence, where prosecutors can bring up
evidence without disclosing sources. !n conclusion, SOSMA preserves a way to detain
individuals for years by simply filing appeals. As long as the appeals process continues,
an ac1uitted suspect may be detained or tethered to a monitoring device, a blatant denial
of personal liberty that could potentially take years to resolve. 2he government states that
SOSMA is an improvement over the !SA but as actions they did, it does not seems true.
2he process may be different, but the resultant detention without trial is no different than
the !SA.
SOSMA is said to provide for special measures relating to security offences for the
purpose of maintaining public order and security and for connected matters. SOSMA
seems overriding the ob,ective of e8ternal security problems such as terrorism. !t is true
that preventive laws are needed to maintain the safety of the citi)ens, so if government is
concern about people.s right and to protect the safety of the people, then Malaysian
government should immediately withdraw the SOSMA provisions that violate protection
of fundamental human rights. 2hen it should eliminate the overly broad and often vague
language in SOSMA and associated bills that undermine basic human rights in the name
of national security. 7irst of all the definition of SOSMA shall be amended to be more
precise. !t could be amend according to the definition 0nited +ations '0+( :onvention
for the Suppression of the 7inancing of 2errorism to protect the safety of its people. 2he
0+ definition confines terrorist acts to those specifically intended to cause death or
serious bodily in,ury for the purpose of influencing government actions. And finally,
make SOSMA a law that can safe guard the peace and harmony that Malaysians deserve.