Klang MP Charles Santiago has questioned the motive behind the re-tabling in Parliament of the motion to extend the effective period of a subsection of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) for another five years.
Subsection 4(5) of Sosma, which expires on July 31, grants the police special powers to hold individuals arrested and detained under the act for up to 28 days.
“Why bring this up for debate when it has already been voted down during the previous parliamentary session, unless it is a veiled threat against dissidents?
“And why use the pre-trial detention under Sosma when the police could use the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and other acts to arrest and investigate?” Charles (above) questioned in a statement today.
A lot of complaining went on under the PH government, not least because people could complain. However, the problems were minor compared to what has followed, during which to complain has carried a very high risk indeed.
The coup-mongers of February 2020 were ‘blessed’ by the arrival of Covid which enabled them to use this excuse to viciously threaten anyone who wished to protest at the blatant power grab, the incompetence, corruption, double-standards and all the rest. The country was locked down for two years, like most authoritarian regimes.
Now that excuse has run out to some degree the UMNO-led usurpers and their crooked and convicted leadership are resorting to the very same measures Najib used to intimidate the outraged population.
A mild and modest demonstration against soaring prices at the weekend, for example, is being treated as a criminal action by the police who have once again made themselves and Malaysia look ridiculous. Citing violations of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 they have sought to detain and investigate everyone who took part with the plain intention of intimidating others who might decide their hungry stomachs need to be heard.
It is no coincidence they are using yet another retrogressive Najib law. So now the UMNO goons are seeking to drive through an extension of the hated SOSMA brought in at the height of the 1MDB scandal to enable the disgraced ex-PM to lock and and silence critics without trial.
MPs have already thrown out that awful idea (note how despite being accorded endless latitude Najib himself walks free) but Sabri’s men are so evidently fearful of dissent they have brought it back for another go in the very self-same parliament.
Bottling up anger and provoking those who seek to let off steam with acts of intimidation and injustice is rarely a good idea. Look where it got Najib. However, UMNO know no better and plainly cannot change. Corrupt governments need thugs to silence protest because they can’t reform themselves.