Show us proof that Sosma is effective in reducing serious crimes - Suhakam
KUALA LUMPUR – It is high time for the government to show proof that the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) has been effective in reducing serious crimes in Malaysia, which was touted as the main objective of the controversial law.
There has to be statistical justification to support the continuous use of Sosma, given how records from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) showed a peculiar trend that seemed to suggest a lopsided enforcement.
“95 – 98 per cent of everyone who has been arrested under Sosma and charged come from either the middle-class, lower-middle-class or the B40. Surely, they cannot be gang leaders or masterminds behind organised crime,” said Suhakam commissioner Ragunath Kesavan.
To the unfamiliar, Sosma was introduced as a response to national security concerns, granting police not just enhanced powers to combat security threats but also detention without trial for 28-days.
“They seem to be targeting the poorest, the weakest and the most vulnerable people in society. They may be involved in petty crimes, but they should be given the benefit of the doubt and be regarded innocent until proven guilty.
“The biggest players are all out there. We would like the government to give us justification in terms of these people who have been arrested, has all major gangs in Malaysia been crippled,” Ragunath said.
Speaking in a recorded keynote address at the launching ceremony of a report on the socio-economic impact of Sosma on its detainees and their families, Ragunath raised a bevy of questions that the government needed to answer.
“Has there been a massive reduction of illegal gambling? Massive reduction of drug trafficking? What about those who are involved in these huge underground activities? Have they been targeted?
“Has any one big-time leader of these gangs, these syndicates been arrested under Sosma?” Ragunath questioned.
Yesterday, Deputy Inspector General of Police Datuk Seri Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, mooted the expansion of Sosma to cover several offences including smuggling of contraband cigarettes and alcohol.
It was an idea that, did not sit well with human rights activists, who believed that Sosma was prone to abuse by the authorities in coercing guilty confessions out of those who were allegedly wrongfully arrested.