KUALA LUMPUR: Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak today rapped certain quarters for accusing the government of being undemocratic for implementing preventive laws in the country.
He said using the enforcement of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) 2012, Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) 2015 and the National Security Council to prove that the country was undemocratic was indeed a manipulation of facts.
“This is because these Acts are preventive laws which complement Article 149 of the Federal Constitution aimed at ensuring security of the people and the country.
“These Acts are the ‘hard power’ used by all countries in the world, be it a democratic or a communist country,” he said in his blog today.
Salleh said the previous administration of the country had also used preventive law, namely the Internal Security Act (ISA).
“ISA was used in the Memali tragedy in 1985, also to detain opposition leaders and non-governmental organisation activists in the Lalang Operation in 1987, and to stop Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s challenge to the government in 1998,” he said.
Salleh, however, explained that preventive law was used by the previous administration with the aim to retain power, but now, it is used to retain national security.
He said SOSMA still follows the legal assumption that “one is innocent until proven guilty”, but under the ISA, one could be imprisoned without trial.
“SOSMA cannot be used arbitrarily like the ISA. On May 20, 2013, the High Court ruled that in the case of Yazid Sufaat, Halimah Hussein and Muhammad Hilmi Hasim, the Article 149 of the Federal Constitution was not applicable on the trio as it was limited to domestic threats.
“Clearly, SOSMA is not ISA. The question now, was the previous leader who detained his political nemesis under the ISA democratic, and is the current government which had abolished the ISA undemocratic?
“We have to be fair in assessing this issue. This is because today’s government is more democratic in discharging its duties for the country,” he added. – Bernama