Hundreds held under Sosma, Poca and Pota last year

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 624 individuals were detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) last year, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (pic).

The Home Minister added that 140 of these detainees had already been released.

“Of those detained, 71 were charged in court, 401 were punished, 140 were released and 12 are still under investigation,” he said in a written reply to a question by Chow Yu Hui (PH-Raub) in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Chow had asked about the number of those detained under Sosma, as well as the breakdown of their race and ages.

He also enquired about the number of those detained under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota).

Last month, Saifuddin Nasution, in a written reply to RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong), said Sosma was still a relevant law to maintain national security because it allows the police to take immediate action to defuse any threats to national sovereignty and harmony.

Repealing Sosma was not among the pledges in Pakatan Harapan’s GE15 election manifesto, though several DAP leaders had previously criticised Sosma as having draconian provisions.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin Nasution said those detained under Sosma last year were between 18 and 69 years old and included 247 Malays, 83 Chinese, 89 Indians, 47 of other races and 158 foreigners.

On Poca, Saifuddin said that 132 individuals were detained, of which 67 were Malays, 13 Chinese, 38 Indians, 13 of other races and one foreigner.

He said those detained were between 19 and 59 years old.

Poca, which was amended in 2015, is a preventative law to deal with criminals, particularly members of secret societies, terrorists and other undesirable persons.

Saifuddin Nasution said that only one individual, a Malay, was detained under Pota and is currently under a detention order.

Pota, which was passed in April 2015, allowed authorities to take action against Malaysians suspected of being involved with the Islamic State or other terrorist organisations.

To a written question by Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan (PN-Tasek Gelugor), Saifuddin said that as of Jan 30 this year, 195 individuals were detained under Sosma and are currently undergoing trial.

Of this total, 46 were for smuggling and human trafficking, two for terrorism and 147 for organised crime under the Penal Code.

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