KUALA LUMPUR: The Security Offences (Special Measures) (Amendment) Bill 2015 was passed by the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.
The SOSMA amendments are to strengthen the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) 2015 and five other related bills, including one on combating terrorism activities conducted by Malaysians on foreign soil. – File Photo
Although passed without any further amendments, it did not get an easy passage and was debated long and hard especially by opposition MPs who even moved a motion to have it reviewed by a select committee.
They also wanted the new sections, 18A on statements by accused and 18B which will permit communication between a husband and wife to be accepted as evidence in court, to be amended.
Among the MPs who debated the bill were Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong), Mohamed Hanipa Maidin (PAS-Sepang), Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan), Khalid Abd Samad (PAS-Shah Alam), Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh (BN-Setiu) and Ramkarpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor).
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar when winding up debate said 18B was specifically for countering terrorism and not targeted at the public as a whole.
He said this matter arose, because in the Lahad Datu intrusion case, the wife of one of the militants was not allowed to testify against her husband as the Evidence Act forbade this.
On 18A, Wan Junaidi said he was of the opinion that the points raised by the MPs was their own interpretation, but in any law, the interpretation by the judge was the most relevant.
The MPs had voiced their fears that an accused might not get a fair trial if this section came into force.
This section states that a statement by an accused whether in a rally or in written form to anyone at any time is admissible as evidence.
The SOSMA amendments are to strengthen the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) 2015 and five other related bills, including one on combating terrorism activities conducted by Malaysians on foreign soil.
Published on: April 9, 2015