Tuesday, July 23, 2019

IGP is wrong, Sosma must be repealed(Malay Mail)

IGP is wrong, Sosma must be repealed ― Charles Hector

JULY 22 ― MADPET is appalled by the fact that Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador is trying to lobby that the draconian Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) 2012, which the Pakatan Harapan in their election manifesto promised will be repealed, should be retained. He said, amongst others, that “ if Sosma is taken away from us, it means you take away our 'guns' to fight terrorists...”.

He claimed that “ The Counter Terrorism (E8) Division of the Bukit Aman Special Branch department has racked up an impressive number of arrests and stopped planned attacks from happening here ” (Malay Mail, July 21, 2019).

This claim, however, is not substantiated by the number of convictions after an open trial. If Sosma only was used, then there must be a trial. Preparing or planning for a crime is also a crime in Malaysia which will be tried. Maybe, the government could give us the statistics of the number of persons who have tried and convicted for terrorist offences, including the offence of preparing to carry out terrorist actions.

Sadly, the IGP also seem to be unhappy with the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA), that draconian Detention Without Trial (DWT) laws have been abolished by the then Barisan Nasional government, who then simply extended the scope of Poca, another DWT law, and enacted also enacted a new DWT law being POTA. MADPET is now concerned about the suitability Abdul Hamid Bador as Malaysia’s Inspector-General of Police, noting that this was a political appointment.

The IGP also recently said that the arrest and detention of Maria Chin Abdullah, using Sosma, was justified. He forgets that the now Member of Parliament Maria had after her release sued the government with regard to her arrest and detention, and the government has since agreed to pay her compensation of “ RM25,000 in damages and RM5,000 in costs to Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah over her detention in 2016 under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 ” (Sosma) (Malay Mail, February 18, 2019). This is an indication or rather an admission that the government has done wrong in arresting and detaining her using Sosma.

Hence, what the IGP says now seems to be against the current government position OR alternatively an allegation that the government acknowledgement of fault and the payout of compensation was wrong. Was Maria then accorded “special treatment” because she, who was then the Chairperson of Bersih, had since been elected as a Pakatan Harapan Member of Parliament.

Sosma has, amongst others, three main draconian elements being:

1. Removes the requirement of bringing before a Magistrate within 24 hours, hence ousting the judicial authority of Magistrates to consider whether to allow further remand. Arrested suspect needs to be brought before a Magistrate 24 hours after arrest. During remand applications by the police to enable a suspect to be kept in detention for the purpose of investigation, the Magistrates decides after hearing the police, the suspect(or his/her lawyer) and then makes the appropriate just order ― no further remand or remand for how many days. In the case of Sosma list of “security” offences, there is  no need to bring before a Magistrate, and all that is required is “a police officer of or above the rank of Superintendent of Police may extend the period of detention for a period of not more than twenty-eight days, for the purpose of investigation.” [Section 4(5)]

2. Denial of Bail for persons charged in court ― In ordinary criminal cases, the accused is generally entitled to bail, but no bail, if one is charged with any one of over 70-100 “security” offences listed in Sosma. Section 13(1) states “(1) Bail shall not be granted to a person who has been charged with a security offence.”

3. Allows the use of Evidence that is not allowed by our Evidence Act in criminal trials, and also allows for “special procedures” during trial including the ability for “court shall hold an inquiry in camera by questioning the witness concerned or any other witness in the absence of the accused and his counsel”. That means the lawyer and the accused cannot even cross-examine or challenge the evidence. It will not be a fair trial.

The need for the police to bring the arrested before a Magistrate within 24 hours is a right provided for in the Federal Constitution, and our Criminal Procedure Code. To just trust the police will exercise their power rightly is not something that any reasonable person can accept, and that is why the right to be brought before a Magistrate within 24 hours exist ― and why the Magistrate is empowered to evaluate the complete facts to determine whether further remand is allowed or not, and for how long.

The legal principle that one is presumed innocent until found guilty by a court ― not the police or the government. This principle must always be respected.

The Barisan Nasional government also introduced a new kind of offence, being “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”, which is just too vague and is open to abuse. This must certainly be repealed. There, small offences like receipt of publication detrimental to parliamentary democracy is also a Sosma listed “security” offence. MADPET calls for the repeal of Section 124B to 124J of the Penal Code, all the offences concerning “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”.

In Malaysia, there is still no criminal compensation scheme that will compensate persons who have been detained wrongfully by the police or in prison. After 28 days in detention by police, one is not charged but released, and this suggests that the detention was wrong. After languishing is prison because Sosma denies bail, and the court finds you not guilty. It is unjust that an innocent man is not compensated for his loss of liberty.

Remember that these suspects or those that languish in prisons because bail is denied are fathers, mothers, spouses and siblings, who do have responsibility to families and dependents. Prolonged detention can result in loss of employment, income and also business.

Whilst acknowledging the right of the Inspector=General of Police has the right to his personal opinion, the government should not falter in doing justice by the abolition of Sosma and all Detention Without Trial laws.

Therefore, MADPET:

― Reiterates the call for the immediate repeal of Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012;

― Call for the repeal of Section 124B to 124J of the Penal Code, all the offences concerning “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”;

― Reiterates the call for the repeal of all Detention Without Trial laws like the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca), Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015(Pota) and the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985, which also denies the right for the victim to file for judicial review against the reasons used for his/her detention/restrictions.

― Calls on the government to ensure justice is done and ensure that everyone is accorded the right to a fair trial. - Malay Mail, 22/7/2019

See Full Statement at 

MADPET says IGP is Wrong, SOSMA must be Repealed


IGP on fight against terrorism in Malaysia and why we still need Sosma

Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador answers questions during an interview with Malay Mail at his office in Bukit Aman Kuala Lumpur July 17, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador answers questions during an interview with Malay Mail at his office in Bukit Aman Kuala Lumpur July 17, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador credits Malaysia’s counter terrorism success to the sharing of information with international counterparts who have more experience in fighting extremist ideologies.

The Counter Terrorism (E8) Division of the Bukit Aman Special Branch department has racked up an impressive number of arrests and stopped planned attacks from happening here.

“We have been watching closely the developments taking place in the Middle East as there had been earlier concerns that the defeat of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq could lead to frustrated fighters who have yet to fulfill their mission to become martyrs,” Abdul Hamid told the Malay Mail.

“The concern is that they would return to their countries of origin like Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines and will conduct their final act in their home country.

“But so far this has not been realised except for maybe the Philippines but that too investigators are not sure if the perpetrators are those returning from that region,” he said, referring to the Middle East.

In March, major news outlets reported that the IS has lost the last pocket of territory in Syria and Iraq which it controlled, bringing a formal end to the caliphate it proclaimed in 2014.

The group controls no territory in Iraq and Syria, attacks are down and the number of foreign fighters it continues to recruit is a fraction of what it was at its height.

But the notorious terrorist group remains a serious, violent threat. Many of its top leaders are still alive and it continues to carry out attacks.

Abdul Hamid said police are always concerned when it comes to terror threats in the country and are constantly vigilant.

“We are constantly monitoring social media and at the same time we have increased the engagement with foreign intelligence organisations, sharing information especially with the experienced ones such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and of course our long-time partner Indonesia who has been very cordial with us.

“We have been brotherly with these countries in our joint effort in tackling this issue,” he said.

Don't take away Sosma’

Abdul Hamid said terror networks feared Malaysia's Internal Security Act (ISA).

“For them, they knew ISA is the end for them... that's how it was. But now that ISA is history, we have this powerful legislation the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012, which helps us.

“I want to share with the public... if Sosma is taken away from us, it means you take away our 'guns' to fight terrorists... the public should be educated about this,” he said.

Abdul Hamid said such laws allow the police to act, not to wait until a threat is in the advance stage.

“We know our limits. I for one would not allow the police to use torture tactics, I have made it very strict to my men in the counter terrorism department.

“That is why I have made it clear that there must always be CCTVs in interrogation rooms and everywhere else. I always remind my men to not tackle this issue by torturing the subjects as that will make it worse.

“We will not implement torture tactics to illicit confessions,” he said.

Abdul Hamid said the terror suspects are misled on ideology and it is important for the authorities to use experts from religious departments to reason with them.

Terror threat is real, Malaysians must not be complacent

The top cop also reminded Malaysians that the threat of terrorism is not something that can be taken lightly.

“There are people who take it for granted, sometimes not appreciative or complacent that it’s not going to happen here. At times they have been unfair to us. We have spent a lot of time and energy to ensure it (attacks) doesn't happen here.

“We need the public to be aware and we need their co-operation so that they can continue providing tip-offs of any suspicious behaviour,” he said,

Abdul Hamid said in many instances the police were able to prevent an attack from happening at the final stage.

“We want the public to know about this so they can help, that is why I go to the press and talk about all this,” he said.

Police monitoring 'wolf pack' terrorism

Abdul Hamid said police are also closely monitoring terrorist activities by lone wolves and "wolf packs.”

He said in contrast to IS, these terrorists have no network or links with militant cells and move in small groups of six to seven members.

“We have to continue monitoring and ensure we can abort attacks before the militants can launch them.

“So far we have been successful in singling them out,” he said adding that such threats are the reason why the police has always empowered the E8 division.

Abdul Hamid said he had also recently briefed the Council of Rulers about the fight against terrorism.

“The Council of Rulers is also very concerned about it and I have told the Rulers that police will continue to engage with the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) to educate the public against extremist ideologies.”

Rohingyas easy target for international terrorist groups

Abdul Hamid said there is a concern that Rohingyas in the country might become an easy target for terrorist organisations and the police are closely monitoring the situation.

During a recent crackdown against terror cells, four Rohingya suspects were detained; two of them had planned to assassinate four VIPs and launch large-scale attacks on non-Muslim houses of worship, as well as entertainment centres in the Klang Valley.

“We have to understand they have been suppressed just like the Palestinians, we have to understand their predicament, there will be a small number of them... the frustrated ones who will resort to subscribing to terrorism but the majority are not.

“When you talk about Rohingyas, there have been concerns raised by Bangladeshi intelligence and we are sharing information with them.

“Our intelligence gathering has worked in thwarting terror plots... that is why we cannot lag behind. 

We may not realise this but another reason for us to perform well in this area is also thanks to our government's foreign policy that has been very consistent. I can tell you terror groups fear us,” he said. - Malay Mail, 21/7/2019



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