Muhyiddin says supports Special Measures Act for security, not abuse

PHOTO: The Star

PETALING JAYA - Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has hit back at certain quarters who have accused him of flip-flopping in his stand on the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), saying that he has always been in support of the legislation.

"My stand has never changed. I support Sosma in dealing with security offences which threaten public order.

"What I disagree with the misuse of Sosma which contradicts the original purpose of the law, like what has happened in the arrests of Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

The former deputy prime minister, who was dropped from the Cabinet in a reshuffle in July, was clarifying a joint statement he made on Oct 12 with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and other Barisan Nasional veterans in criticism of Khairuddin and Chang's arrests.

Muhyiddin said he firmly stood by his decision to support Sosma during his time in office, as there was a guarantee that the law would not be misused for any other reason, especially not to silence political critics and freedom of speech.

"The act of filing a report on allegations of misconduct by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to local and foreign authorities should not be considered an act of sabotage which necessitates the use of Sosma.

"Aren't these individuals merely performing their duties as concerned citizens?" he said, referring to Khairuddin, who is former Batu Kawan Umno vice-chief, and his lawyer, Chang.

Muhyiddin, who is Umno deputy president, also questioned why 1MDB had so much "immunity" that those who criticised it were immediately hauled to court.

"Who has really sabotaged the country's banking system and financial institution? Someone who lodges a report to investigate 1MDB's misconduct or someone who causes billions of ringgit in public funds to disappear?

"Should Umno leaders just keep silent in this issue and encourage this wrongdoing?" he said.

He added that Umno would only be respected by the rakyat if its leaders were brave enough to oppose the misappropriation and theft of state property by certain quarters.

On Tuesday, Penampang Umno division chief Datuk John Ambrose had accused Muhyiddin and Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal of changing their stands on Sosma.

He said both Umno leaders had voted in favour of Sosma in Parliament, back when they were still members of Cabinet.

Shafie, who is Umno vice-president, was axed as Rural and Regional Development Minister in the July reshuffle.