It is no wonder that the Malaysian education system and standards are so atrocious when Puad Zarkashi, who was the Deputy Education Minister when the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act was passed in Parliament in April 2012, can now talk such rubbish that Bersih chairperson Maria Chin’s “misdeeds” fit Sosma perfectly.
Puad, who is UMNO supreme council member, cannot be so dumb as not to know that the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who piloted the Sosma legislation through Parliament in April 2012, made a categorical assurance in Parliament which binds all Cabinet Ministers and Barisan Nasional leaders that Sosma legislation was meant to deal exclusively with the threat of terrorism and not meant for legitimate democratic activities like Bersih rallies, the first of which was held on 10th November 2007, Bersih 2 rally held on 9th July 2011, and the Bersih 3 rally held some ten days after Sosma was passed by Parliament on 28th April 2012.
I believe that if Nazri as the Minister responsible for the Sosma legislation had been asked pointedly in Parliament at the time in 2012 whether Bersih leaders, at that time led by Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasam, were likely to be targets and victims of Sosma detention, the answer will be a clear and categorical “No”, as even Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs would know that the Bersih coalition of NGOs was neither a violent nor terrorist organization but committed to a peaceful, non-violent and democratic campaign to raise national consciousness for clean, free and fair elections.
No one broached the idea of Sosma detention when Bersih 4 rally was held in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching on August 29 and 30 last year – and rightly so.
Why and when did the Police deviated from its past practice in the case of Bersih 5 to detain the Bersih Chairperson Maria Chin under Sosma legislation, when Maria Chin had never deviated from the established Bersih campaign to use peaceful, non-violent and democratic methods to canvas for popular national support?
Tomorrow in Parliament, there is a motion in the name of the Home Minister to extend for another five years from 31st July 2017 the powers in Section 4(5) of the Sosma legislation allowing a police officer of or above the rank of superintendent to extend the period of detention to not more than 28 days to facilitate the investigation, after an initial 24-hour detention period.
As the Sosma powers have been grossly abused in the case of the detention of Maria Chin, which is vengeful, vicious and vindictive, all MPs, including those from Barisan Nasional, should reject such a five-year extension for such pernicious police powers.