By Ida Nadirah Ibrahim
SHAH ALAM, Dec 3 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the police has the power to determine the degree of an offence under any existing law based on evidence collected by the authority.
He said some of the draconian laws, such as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), are incomplete as it does not differentiate between light and heavy offences.
“The ones that enforce a law are the ones given the power, and in this case, it is the police. It is up to them to get clear evidence before taking action under any law, including Sosma.
“These laws are incomplete as they cannot differentiate light and heavy offences. But these are also the laws we use to catch those who are involved in terrorism, suicide bombing or planning an assassination,” Dr Mahathir said when answering to a supplementary question from Segamat MP Datuk Sri R. Santhara Kumar on how to curb Malaysians from being indirectly involved with terrorist groups, such as giving out donations that would be channeled to such groups without the donor’s knowledge.
Dr Mahathir said the Federal government is reviewing the laws to separate the differences between the lighter offences and the heavier ones that impose a threat to national security.
“There are times where the evidence is not strong enough, such as a person who got trapped into taking a picture with a terrorist without knowing it. It isn’t his fault for not knowing who the person is. Or a person gives monetary aid of RM200 or RM300, which cannot topple the government.
“This happens, and it is up to the police to differentiate the weak allegations and whether it is clear that it would bring harm to national security,” he said.
Earlier Dr Mahathir said the Pakatan Harapan government is committed into reviewing, amending, or abolishing five existing draconian or oppressive laws that were identified by the ruling party.
The laws include the Sedition Act 194 (Act 15), the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Act 297), Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (Act 301), National Security Council Act (NSC) 2016 (Act 776), and Sosma.
However, he said an in-depth study has to be carried out before amending or abolishing any of the Acts to ensure that there is a balance between safeguarding the rights, interest and security of the country as well as the rights and justice demanded by the people.