Think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU) welcomes the assurance given by the police that Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) will not be abused during the the run up to the 13th General Election. The assurance is a proactive measure to quell any distrust by the public towards the police on the possibility of SOSMA being arbitrarily used. However, as well as providing assurance that SOSMA will not be abused, the police is highly recommended to take immediate and appropriate actions against perpetrators of political violence seen during and post election season.
This comes considering that SOSMA is intended to be used against matters that are a threat to parliamentary democracy. Considering that the definition to what constitutes to threat against parliamentary democracy is neither clear nor succinct, it opens the possibility of abuse. Malaysians are reminded of the arrests made in relation to the Lahad Datu intrusion which individuals were arrested under SOSMA for suspicions of having connections with the intrusion. What assurance does the police have for Malaysians and the opposition or its supporters will not be arrested under SOSMA on grounds of “suspicions for being a threat to parliamentary democracy” during this GE13?
A fair and just police is a police that protects the public at all cost. However, that role of the police in Malaysia is a perverted role. Instead of protecting the public, the police have issued a threat to all Malaysians that they will use the newly minted and widely controversial law of Sosma on Malaysians during the 13th General Election (GE 13) “to ensure the general election is not affected by incidents or security threats and be accused of being terrorist”?
The irony of this situation by the police comes when it warns individuals and non governmental bodies to not overstep the law but the police itself are overstepping the toes of Malaysians by indirectly accusing Malaysians of having intentions to disrupt the peace of this country.
The recent selective screening of the controversial movie Tanda Putera also raises the question on its weightage as influence during the GE13. Malaysians familiar with the tragedy of 13th May are also familiar of the conspiracies surrounding the cause of the tragedy. How will the police ensure that the selective screening of Tanda Putera will not fall into one of the conspiracy theories behind any unwarranted incidents during and post GE13?
There is a problem with wearing the badge with too much pride when the police asserts that SOSMA will not be abused during GE 13 when past records indicate the police have no experience or the know how to handle situations when faced with large crowds. On the other hand, the problem with threatening to enforce SOSMA during GE13 is that it gives a considerable amount of power and justification for the police to exercise their brute enforcement on Malaysians if, to say things went awry.
This is not to say that Malaysian does not appreciate or need the police. The police are responsible for ensuring peace and security within the boundaries of Malaysia. Malaysia will be a darker place without the police. The police have given their assurance that Sosma will not be abused but the question remains on what the police have done to quell the political violence that have been simmering in the days running up to GE13, particularly what have been alleged by Lembah Pantai Parliamentary seat candidate, Nurul Izzah and seen in Terengganu.
The recent political violence witnessed in Lembah Pantai is not an isolated event. It has spread to other states, in which a boy in Terengganu fell victim to political violence that almost cost him his life as reported in Sin Chew Daily today (i.e. 14 April 2013).
Malaysians not only needs assurances that SOSMA will not be abused as provided by the police but also an assurance and proof that the police is doing all that it can to combat political violence in these weeks running up to the Election day, particularly during the one month transition post Election Day.
Thus, KPRU opines that the police should rethink on the use of Sosma as it does not reflect the principles of democracy nor should it be used during a democratic process in times of peace.