KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail clarified today that he did not indicate that the government could review the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 or Sosma.
The minister insisted he had only commented on the circumstances around the law, and not suggest the government might amend the law when answering a reporter from Malaysiakini.
“I did not mention whether we will review (the Act) or not. I only clarified that Sosma, compared with the Poca (Prevention of Crime Act 1959) and Pota (Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015), is not a preventative law.
“Poca and Pota are preventative laws that do not end with being accused in court but end in a detention centre or being released, whereas Sosma has a 28-day limit given to police officers for investigation.
“That’s all that I explained yesterday when the reporter asked me if we were ready to review (the Act) or not,” he said in a video posted to his Facebook page.
Saifuddin conceded today that an unequivocal answer from him would have prevented the report suggesting that a review could be considered.
“I was telling them the current situation, that I have no comment whether or not we will review the Act,” he said.
On Tuesday, Saifuddin defended the law by saying “the law allows the court process to take place,” which led to many criticisms from political figures and rights groups doubting the country’s stance on human rights protections.
His stance has put him in conflict with some allies in Pakatan Harapan as well as civil society groups that have pointed out the apparent hypocrisy in defending the preventive detention law that the coalition previously rejected it was still the Opposition.
The Najib administration introduced the Sosma when it repealed the Internal Security Act that had allowed indefinite detention without trial.
In March this year, PH lawmakers had defeated a Bill to extend the Sosma in Parliament that was tabled by the Ismail Sabri government.