PETALING JAYA: Preventive detention laws in Malaysia such as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012 were enacted to address terrorism concerns, said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).
"The Commission is perturbed that the broad characterisation of "security offences under Sosma now suggests that its ambit extends beyond terrorism offences, contradicting the Prime Minister's guarantee in 2011 that no individual will be arrested merely on the point of political ideology," said its acting chairman Datuk Dr. Khaw Lake Tee in a statement on Monday.
Khaw said that recent arrests under Sosma contravened Section 4(3) of the Act which reads that "no person shall be arrested and detained for his political belief and political activity."
"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," said Khaw.
On September 23, former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chief Khairuddin Abu Hassan was arrested under Sosma at the Kuala Lumpur High Court for alleged acts of sabotage.
This was followed with the arrest of Khairuddin's lawyer, Matthias Chang on Oct 8 after visiting Khairuddin at the Dang Wangi police station.
On Monday morning, both Khairuddin and Chang were charged under Section 124(L) of the Penal Code for allegedly attempting to sabotage the country’s banking and financial systems.
Responding to this, Khaw said that the authorities, in particular the Royal Malaysian Police risked injuring their credibility if they "continue to misuse anti-terrorism and/or security laws for non-terrorism purposes".
"The Commission calls for enforcement personnel to be given proper guidance and training on the use and application of such laws and regrets 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,"