The detention of Maria Chin Abdullah under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 was appropriate, said Umno supreme council member Mohd Puad Zarkashi.
Citing item (3) of the introductory portion of the act, he said Maria, as Bersih leader, had engaged in activities "which is prejudicial to public order in, or the security of, the federation or any part thereof".
Puad said Maria had organised Bersih 5 which was illegal under the law and this was a threat to public order.
Moreover, item (4) stressed that Sosma can be applied on any person who was trying "to procure the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of anything by law established", said Puad.
Read together, he added, would qualify Maria's detention under Sosma.
On criticisms that Sosma should not be applied for "political purposes", Puad argued that Section 4(3) of the law, which states "no person shall be arrested and detained under this section solely for his political belief or political activity", was not applicable to Maria (photo).
He said critics had ignored Section 4(12)(a) of the same law which defined "political belief and activity" as the "expression of an opinion or the pursuit of a course of action made according to the tenets of a political party that is at the relevant time registered under the Societies Act 1966 [Act 355]".
Bersih not a registered political body
Puad argued that Bersih was not a political party nor was Maria a member of a political party.
"Is Bersih a registered political organisation? Is Bersih 5 a political activity by a political organisation under Act 355? Is Bersih 5 a legitimate political activity under the law?" asked Puad.
In view of this, and the fact that Bersih had links with foreign funds, he said Bersih and Bersih 5 does not qualify as legitimate political activities that would be outside the ambit of Sosma.
However, Puad did not make any reference on Section 12(b) which defines "political belief or political activity" as "the expression of an opinion directed towards any government in the federation", and Section 12(c) that provides the definition as "the pursuit of a course of action directed towards any government in the federation".
Maria was detained last Friday during the raid on Bersih's headquarters in Petaling Jaya.
She is being investigated under Section 124c of the Penal for engaging in activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy and was detained under Sosma, which allows for detention without trial of up to 28 days.
According to her lawyers, Sosma should only be applied on suspected terrorists and that Maria was currently being placed in solitary confinement.- Mkini