Readings on SOSMA 2012 and the Electronic Monitoring Devices

By: Sonny Zulhuda

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Electronic tagging is a form of surveillance which uses an electronic device (a tag) fitted to the person. It is commonly used as a form of electronically monitored punishment for people who have been sentenced to electronic monitoring by a court, or required to wear a tag upon release from prison. The use of electronic monitoring devices in Malaysia has been first introduced by the  Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) (Act 747). This article sourced few online reading materials relating to the use of electronic monitoring devices vis a vis the SOSMA. Therefore the similar concerns under the new amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) 2012 are beyond the ambit of this survey.

In December 2015, Bernama reported that more than 200 people detained under the Prevention of Crime Act (POCA) have been strapped with an electronic monitoring device (EMD), quoting the Federal CID director, Datuk Seri Mohmad Salleh as saying. Salleh added that this effort was taken to monitor the movements of those people (apparently upon release – added), as well as to test the effectiveness of the device. Based on the similar report by Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, the Home Deputy Minister, those who were detained under POCA include mainly those involved in gangsterism, violent crimes, property crimes as well as drug-related crimes. The report can be read here.

A similar provision on the use of EMD is also found in the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA). In section 7(1), the SOSMA provides for special procedures relating to the electronic monitoring device. It prescribes that, upon application by the Public Prosecutor under section 4 (which provides for the arrest and detention of a person believed to be involved in security offences), the Court shall order the person to be attached with an electronic monitoring device for a period as the Court may determine but which shall not exceed the remainder of the period of detention allowed under subsection 4(5) for purposes of investigation. Section 4(5) of SOSMA grants the maximum of extension to 28 days after the initial 24 hours of detention for the purpose of investigation.

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