5 August 2023
KUALA LUMPUR (4 AUGUST 2023) – The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) reiterates its stance against the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) and any draconian security laws that allow for detention without trial, as they contradict fundamental principles of human rights. Particularly, Section 4 of SOSMA permits arrest, detention, and extension of detention without requiring judicial oversight.
On 27th July 2023, SUHAKAM received a complaint memorandum concerning a planned hunger strike by SOSMA detainees in Sungai Buloh Prison and Alor Setar Prison, commencing on 30th July 2023. In response, SUHAKAM conducted a joint visit to both prisons on 1st August 2023, where we interviewed the SOSMA detainees and gathered more information about the hunger strike. Additionally, SUHAKAM assessed the health conditions of all detainees involved in the hunger strike, which included 35 detainees in Sungai Buloh Prison and 32 detainees in Alor Setar Prison.
The hunger strike was initiated due to the detainees’ dissatisfaction with the prolonged and frequently postponed trial process, as well as their objections to the charges under Section 130 V (1) of the Penal Code, which relates to organized criminal groups. The detainees are demanding that the charges be changed to Section 43 of the Societies Act 1966.
Based on the visit’s finding, the Prison authorities managed the hunger strike incident in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) set by the Headquarters of the Malaysian Prison Department. The detainees’ health conditions were also properly attended to by the Rehabilitation Officer at the Prison. Additionally, the visit did not reveal any incidents beyond the control of the involved SOSMA detainees.
SUHAKAM has been informed that the hunger strike at Alor Setar Prison was ended by the detainees on 1st August 2023 at 5:00 pm, and at Sungai Buloh Prison on 2nd August 2023 at 1:45 pm. SUHAKAM will continue its investigation into the complaints and will collaborate with the detainees’ families and relevant Government agencies to pursue further follow-up actions. #