So our new Home Minister, Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, thinks that the obnoxious Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) does not need a review, let alone a repeal!
Let me say this at the onset: you, Saifuddin Nasution, are missing the forest for the trees in saying that the law allows for the court process to take place and that the root of Sosma is to ensure public safety.
As a layperson, I wish to ask you how public safety will be compromised if Sosma is repealed. Aren’t there adequate alternative laws in the country to address public safety concerns?
Was Maria Chin Abdullah a grave threat to public safety for her to be detained under Sosma? Wasn’t that a glaring abuse of ‘the process of the law’? And what have you to say to the families who gathered at Kajang prison on 7 December just to find out the reasons for the detention of their loved ones for the past six months?
What justification do you have when it is said those detained under Sosma will need to languish in detention until all their court trials and appeals are concluded? What have you to say to the detainees and their families when the so-called ‘court process’ drags on for years?
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And where is your moral conviction to uphold the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise – when people are kept behind bars without the right to their freedom during the entire process until their cases are disposed?
A responsible person would have reacted by saying that “the matter would have to be discussed with the cabinet” or something similar. But no, you had to put on display your newfound position as home minister – a position that should not take precedence to the aspirations of the people to consign laws that infringe on their fundamental liberties to the waste bin!
Even before the ink had dried on your appointment as home minister, you earned the ire of civil society by downplaying the dismal food and health complaints of detainees at the Kimanis immigration detention centre in Sabah.
You said the frail individual who complained of the food and health conditions at the centre was already in poor health before his detention.
Regardless of the pre-detention health condition of the aggrieved individual, isn’t it your responsibility to carrying out a proper investigation into the complaints before jumping to conclusions?
Just weeks into your job, you have shown your disconnect with fundamental issues of personal liberty and the right to humane conditions at immigration detention centres.
You, I am inclined to believe, are a misfit helming the Ministry of Home Affairs!