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Show us the stats on Sosma’s effectiveness, says rights group

The Security Offences (Special Measures) Act has been a source of controversy since it was proposed and enforced in 2012.

KUALA LUMPUR: Rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) has called on the government to provide statistics on the effectiveness of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

Speaking at the launch of a Suaram report on the socio-economic impact of the controversial law, Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy claimed that whenever the issue of Sosma and its misuse was brought up, “the police say it’s very effective”.

“Yet, until now, there has been no solid statistics shared on how Sosma has reduced crime,” Sevan said.

He was responding to a Bernama report in which deputy Inspector-General of Police Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said Sosma should be widely applied to crack down on syndicate-related criminal activities.

At the National Border Security Seminar 2023 yesterday, Ayob said an example of Sosma’s effectiveness could be seen in the successful efforts against human trafficking syndicates while he was the Johor police chief.

Sevan also called for lawmakers and the police to meet with stakeholders such as human rights groups, former detainees, and the families of Sosma detainees to learn why they do not support Sosma and how it affects the families.

The report is based on interviews with former Sosma detainees and family members of current detainees, as well as a town hall session attended by 120 individuals and affected families.

Sosma was enacted under a constitutional provision that provides broad powers against subversion, threats to public order, acts of terrorism, sabotage and espionage.

Under Sosma, a police officer may arrest and detain an individual whom they believe to be involved in security offences without a warrant.

Sosma also allows the police to detain a person suspected of being involved in terrorist activities for a period not exceeding 28 days for investigations, without a court order.