By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 — Two of the three people arrested yesterday for suspected terror links were charged in the Ampang magistrate’s court here today with “inciting, promoting or soliciting property for the commission of a terrorist act”.
Ex-Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Yazid Sufaat and Halimah Hussein are said to have committed the offence under section 130G(a) of the Penal Code somewhere between August and October last year.
Halimah, however, has been accused of committing the said offence in relation to the ongoing conflict in Syria.
No charges were made against the third suspect, Mohd Hilmi Hasim, who lawyers said may be held for investigation for up to 28 days as provided for under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA).
Lawyers representing Yazid and Halimah said section 130G(a), which must be read together with SOSMA, would allow the court to deny bail and provide detention for an indefinite period of time “similar” to provisions under the controversial ISA which was recently scrapped following years of protest.
Both cases have been transferred to the Shah Alam High Court for trial at a date to be determined later.
Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, one of the lawyers representing the duo, said their trial will be the first under the newly-enacted SOSMA and will provide the perfect avenue to expose flaws within the new security law introduced as part of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s political reforms.
The loopholes include the loose definition of what constitutes “a threat to parliamentary democracy” which ultimately gives the government broad powers to deem any form of opposition a threat and prosecute them, said the human rights lawyer.
“Najib said he would replace the ISA with this new law that is more in line with human rights but that is inaccurate. This new law, although it provides trial unlike the ISA, departs from the fundamental principle of evidence and due process.
“This trial is important as it allows us to demonstrate the flaws of the new law. Although there is a trial, it is a sham trial,” she told reporters outside the court.
Yesterday, rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) condemned the authorities for scrapping the 1960 ISA last year but replacing it with another law that it claims still infringes on an individual’s right to a fair trial and immediate legal representation.
It reminded the government that despite its decision to repeal the British-enacted ISA, which allowed for detention without trial, it had not led to the release of the 23 detainees held previously under the law.
“And today, the government has allowed this Security Offences (Special Measures) Act to continue victimising the people.
“This shows that even after the repeal of the ISA, Malaysians are still living under the threat of draconian laws,” it said.
SUARAM urged the police to stop all future and current detentions and investigation under the new law, which it said should be immediately repealed.
The Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill was tabled in Parliament on April 10 last year and passed in June, officially replacing the ISA and removing the government’s option to detain without trial.
Under the ISA, an individual believed to have committed a security offence can be detained for up to two years without trial, on orders from the home minister.
But the new Act states in section 12 that “all security offences shall be tried by the High Court”.