Hakam applauds the attorney general’s statement dated 13 December 2019.
He rightfully observed that Section 13 of Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), which denies bail to an accused, is:
(a) unconstitutional as it takes away the judicial power of the courts which forms the basic structure of our Federal Constitution, as held by our Federal Court in Semenyih Jaya and Indira Gandhi, and
(b) unacceptable because it offends the fundamental concept that an accused is innocent until proven guilty.
Hakam is particularly encouraged by the attorney general’s decision not to appeal Justice Nazlan’s decision, which rightfully held that Section 13 of Sosma is unconstitutional.
Hakam also supports the attorney general’s observation that the striking down of Section 13 of Sosma does not mean that there will be jeopardy to public safety. This is because bail can still be denied by a judge if there is sufficient evidence that the accused poses a risk to the public, as in all other criminal cases.
Hakam is confident the courts in our country will take note of this development and proceed to exercise their discretion to allow bail to accused persons detained under Sosma, should the circumstances call for it.
Hakam trusts the wisdom of the courts to exercise such discretion on bail judiciously to strike an appropriate balance between the rights of an accused and public safety.
Finally, Hakam reiterates its call to the government to fulfil its manifesto promise of abolishing Sosma in its entirety.
Lim Wei Jiet is secretary-general of the National Human Rights Society (Hakam)