Press Statement

SOSMA misused against Khairuddin and Matthias

12 October 2015

Lawyers for Liberty is shocked and outraged at the criminal charges against Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer Matthias Chang under section 124L of the Penal Code and for them to be tried under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).

The duo were charged with attempting to commit “sabotage” of the Malaysian economy and the financial and banking system when they lodged multiple reports overseas regarding the 1MDB scandal.

These charges are extremely vague and an exaggeration against the duo as what they have done is certainly not a criminal offence, much less a security offence to be tried under SOSMA which should be reserved for the most serious and genuine security offences involving terrorism or waging war.

SOSMA is an extremely pernicious legislation as unlike the usual criminal procedure with established and basic fair trial safeguards, a trial under SOSMA falls far short. Further, SOSMA does not allow bail for the accused and even after the person is acquitted, bail can still be denied if the Public Prosecutor appeals.

SOSMA has been put in place for the purpose of “maintaining public order” and “security”, pursuant to Article 149 of the Federal Constitution, which allows its derogation from constitutional articles for the greater “safety” of the federation. Article 149 envisaged these measures to be temporary and operative against subversion and dangers to public order.

It is clear that SOSMA is only supposed to apply to genuine security offences for the purpose of “maintaining public order” and “security” and not against the government’s political adversaries as in the cases of Khairuddin and Matthias. We therefore call for these charges to be dropped and for them to be released immediately.

Released by:

Eric Paulsen

Executive Director

Lawyers for Liberty

For further information:

Off: 03-7960 5688

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E-mail: [email protected]