The Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill 2012, better known as SOSMA, provides for special measures relating to security offences, for the purpose of maintaining public order and security, and all related matters.
SOSMA was created under Article 149 of the Federal Constitution to thwart internal security issues including public order, acts of terrorism, sabotage and espionage.
What is considered an offence under SOSMA?
When action has been taken and further action is threatened by a substantial body of persons, both inside and outside Malaysia:
- to cause, or to cause a substantial number of citizens to fear, organized violence against persons or property;
- to excite disaffection against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong;
- which is prejudicial to public order in, or the security of, the Federation or any part thereof; or
- to procure the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of anything by law established;
- AND where Parliament considers it necessary to stop such action
10 things you need to know about SOSMA
1. A police officer may, without warrant, arrest and detain any person whom he has reason to believe to be involved in security offences.
2. A person arrested shall be informed as soon as may be, of the grounds of his arrest.
3. No person shall be arrested and detained under this section solely for his political belief or political activity.
4. The person arrested and detained may be detained for a period of 24 hours for the purpose of investigation.
5. The police may extend the period of detention for a period of not more than 28 days.
6. An electronic monitoring device may be attached to the person released, for the purpose of investigation.
7. Bail shall not be granted to a person who has been charged with a security offence.
8. All security offences shall be tried by the High Court.
9. During trial, the court cannot direct the Public Prosecutor to produce any statement or summary of information deemed sensitive, and prejudicial to national security or national interest.
10. An accused committed to prison under this section shall be held until all appeals are disposed of.
SOSMA amendments passed on April 9, 2015 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.