Keep your promise and abolish repressive laws, says Bar

06 Jan 2019 / 11:12 H.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar has urged Pakatan Harapan (PH) to abolish all oppressive and draconian laws, including the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) and Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca).

It said this was part of PH’s election manifesto. In a statement yesterday, the Bar said it was astounded by Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s recent remark defending Sosma, Poca and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota).

“We are also dismayed at his statements that without Sosma, terrorists and criminals would be free to threaten our national security, and that ‘things are also still under control with two other security acts, Poca and Pota’,” its president George Varughese (pix) said.

“Sosma and Poca are among the laws that the Pakatan Harapan Government had described as ‘oppressive’ and ‘tyrannical’ in its election manifesto for the 14th General Election that took place eight months ago. In that manifesto, it had pledged to revoke Poca and abolish the draconian provisions in Sosma.”

Varughese said the Malaysian Bar has, over the years, persistently and unequivocally called for the repeal of Sosma and Poca.

“These laws are notorious for having been abused in the past and, while they remain on the statute book, the potential for misuse – by any government, however well-intentioned – remains ever-present,” he said.

“In our resolve to defend and preserve the harmony, peace and security that Malaysia enjoys, it is essential that the government does not enjoy carte blanche to deprive persons of their constitutional rights and civil liberties with impunity.”

There are sufficient laws to address the threats of crime and terrorism without the government resorting to Sosma and Poca or any other authoritarian laws, he added.

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