Laws Must Synchronise With Human Dignity




ADUN SPEAKS | When it comes to the detention of individuals for national security reasons, the "either-or" principle - meaning either the freedom of individuals or national security - must be abandoned
Such thinking goes against our beliefs in justice, freedom and democracy
No person is guilty unless proven in a court of law
The recent arrests of 12 persons - four DAP members including two elected representatives and eight others - for alleged links with the now-defunct LTTE under the Security Offices (Security Measures) Act of 2012 (Sosma) brings to mind whether Malaysia is really making any progress in the realm of human rights or human dignity

The pre-trial detention period of 28 days is long and emotionally painful and traumatic for the detained individuals and their families
If the evidence does not tie up with the charges, they can be released within 28 days. There no necessity to wait for nearly a month
However, if the police decide to charge them for an offence, then the real nightmare will begin
Throughout the period of the trial, the accused will be detained under the rules and procedures as provided by Sosma
If the accused are freed by the court but their acquittal is appealed by the prosecution, then the accused will be detained again under Sosma until the matter is completely disposed of
While the accused will be given periodic access to their legal counsel and immediate family members, the rules and procedures provided under Sosma are that information elicited from the accused under duress are admissible in court. This is something different from normal court procedures
Yes, I agree that it is not the Penal Code that they will be charged under but rather the rules, procedures and mechanisms under Sosma that confine them against their will for a prolonged period of time
It is not necessary to dispute whether the police have evidence or not. All I am saying is that the those detained be charged and be given the bail. If the police have evidence, then this could be submitted in the court of law
There is no running away from the law if the accused have engaged in national security-related crimes
Whatever may be said in defence of Sosma or Pota or Poca, the laws are anathema to Malaysia as a democratic country where the protection of human rights is paramount
Sosma and other obnoxious laws are merely antecedents of the old oppressive colonial laws
Human rights are as important as national security, the two should not be viewed as zero-sum game as gain in one does not entail deprivation in the other
Finally, I am not sure whether the recent arrests have anything to do with political developments that surged on matters of race, religion and dignity
I am not sure whether by the attempt by some politicians to call for a new political formation necessitated in the creation of a new bogeyman with the attendant arrests
Whatever said and done, I call for the immediate release of detainees or charge them in court with the provision of bail
P RAMASAMY is the state assemblyperson for Perai. He is also deputy chief minister II of Penang. - Mkini

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