Mahathir to axe arrest powers

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says his government will repeal the 2012 Security Offences Special Measures Act (Sosma), which allowed the authorities to make arrests without going to court.

Of the law introduced under former prime minister Najib Razak, Mahathir said: “Najib’s law allows a person to be arrested and not to be taken to court, and if that person died, there will be neither inquiry nor action taken against those who killed him. That is the law passed by Najib and we will repeal that law.”

The 93-year-old said he would adhere to the rule of law and protect people’s rights. 

“The people will be protected by fair laws so that if they committed any offence, they will be judged by the court … the court will determine whether or not the person is guilty,” the veteran prime minister said.

Mahathir said his disparate coalition would successfully resolve the trouble left by Najib.

“What’s important is our spirit, our willingness to sacrifice because we love this country.

“This is our country, this is our home, we were born here and we grew up here and for that reasons, we love Malaysia,” he said.

Mahathir was speaking at a fundraising event for the Tabung Harapan Malaysia (Hope Fund), set up by his administration since winning power in early May to channel public donations towards paying off the national debt.

Mohamad says he has been disappointed by the parliamentary attendance record of his new cabinet members and their deputies. 

“I am never satisfied with anything but ministers and deputy ministers should improve on their attendance records in the Dewan Rakyat and have proper excuses for not coming for sittings,” he told parliamentary reporters 

“I am already stretching my time as much as possible, I am working 24 hours a day.”

Young voters

There is a “very serious” chance of reducing the voting age to 18 before the next general election, which is due by 2023, according to 25-year-old Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman. 

Lowering the voting age to 18 from 21 would add 3.7 million voters to the electoral roll, Saddiq said, increasing the number of registered voters by about 25 per cent from the surprise election in May. Voters aged 21 to 39 make up around 40 per cent of the electorate, twice the number of voters over 60, according to the Election Commission. 

“That means the youth voter block becomes bigger and stronger, and therefore, they cannot be sidelined in the Malaysian political scene anymore,” said the youngest-ever Malaysian cabinet minister.

 

Mohamad Mahathir is one of the world’s more energetic 93-year-olds. Picture credit: Wikimedia