The National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) is livid over the recent arrests under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), calling them “flagrant constitutional violations”.
Its acting chairperson Khaw Lake Tee said this is a direct breach of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s 2011 guarantee that “no individual will be arrested merely on the point of political ideology”.
The arrests also contravene section 4(3) of the Act which states that “no person shall be arrested and detained for his political belief and political, Khaw, a retired law professor said.
“As such, the commission is most indignant at such widespread and flagrant constitutional violations and is deeply concerned that preventive detention, terrorism and security laws are being misused to suppress political expression and dissent,” she said.
Former Batu Kawan Umno deputy chief Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer Matthias Chan
g were arrested under Sosma, after Khairuddin lodged complaints over state investment firm 1MDB with international enforcement agencies.
The duo was charged with trying to sabotage the banking system this morning.
Khaw said Suhakam agreed that the law to be used to address terrorist activity related to security offences, adding the government should promote and implement the provisions of all laws effectively and in good faith, .
Suhakam however, she added, stresses their use must be proportionate to the challenges faced after having sufficient and reliable evidence of an imminent terrorist attack.
"The commission is alarmed that despite having extensive powers to charge a person for a criminal offence using existing criminal procedural laws without resorting to Sosma, the authorities have chosen not to do so," she said.
"The commission further cautions that the authorities, in particular the police, risk injuring their credibility if it continues to misuse anti-terrorism and or security laws for non-terrorism purposes," she said.
She called for enforcement personnel to be given proper guidance and training on the use and application of such laws.
"We regret that government critics have been targeted through national security laws and calls for these charges to be immediately dropped as Sosma, when misused, has proven to cause, and will cause serious human rights violations," Khaw noted.
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