SOSMA: Been a victim myself, will do my best to help, says Klang MP Ganabatirau

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 – Member of Parliament for Klang, Ganabatirau Veraman (DAP) today took receipt of a memorandum from a group of families seeking freedom for their family members who were detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) and have since been in detention for two years while awaiting their case.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s Deputy Chairman Arulchelvan passed the memorandum to the MP on behalf of the families.

They also sought the abolishment of Sosma, a controversial security law that provides for the arrest and detention of an individual believed to be involved in security offences without a warrant.

The Sub-section 4(5) of Sosma allows the police to detain a person suspected of being involved in terrorist activities for a period not exceeding 28 days for investigations, without a court order. It replaced the supposedly even more draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), which allowed for detention without trial.

Ganabatirau who assured the crowd that he will do his best to pass the memorandum and help find a resolution, said he himself had been detained under the ISA for 495 days and “understood how the families felt just as his family did during his time.”

He also took note of the fact that the crowd came mostly from Kedah, saying that it did not matter as the whole country had shown care for him when he was detained.

He also said it was also challenging period for the government as there were several factions who were out to find fault with anything the members of the current administration said or did.

Ganabatirau said he would try to convey his views to the PM and be also consulting DAP’s National Legal Bureau Chairman, Gobind Singh Deo beforehand.

As for the 33 families from Sungai Petani, Kedah, it has been hard luck, since police arrested their sole breadwinners under Sosma in 2020.

The men aged 22 to 60 have since remained in remand waiting for their court hearing, after being subsequently charged under the Penal Code.

The police reportedly had also kept the families in the dark for more than two days after the arrest in September 2020, before informing them that the detainees were being held at the Pendang police headquarters pending investigations.

They said police initially told the families that the detainees were picked up as suspects for involvement in murder, secret societies, and drug trafficking before finally telling them of their arrest under Sosma.

Meanwhile, the defence lawyers for the 33 detained had objected to a testimony of an investigating officer during hearing of the case at the High Court in Sungai Petani, Kedah, saying that the details of the report by inspector Theodore Peter Dien, a senior narcotics investigations officer from the state police headquarters, were the same as a drug case pending at the High Court in Alor Setar.

The court is to decide if the testimony will be admissible in February next year.

Early last week, new Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said Sosma could be amended based on needs and situation. He added that the Act will not be reviewed for now.