ATTORNEY GENERAL MEDIA STATEMENT
Charges Against Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang
On Monday, 12 October 2015, Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer, Matthias Chang were charged under section 124L of the Penal Code, read with Section 34 of the Penal Code for attempting to sabotage Malaysia’s banking and financial systems.
The action has been questioned by certain parties, including in the article published in the Star on 12 October 2015, titled ‘Dr M, Ku Li team up to slam Sosma detention of 1MDB critics,’ as being an abuse of the government powers.
The Attorney General’s Chambers clarifies that both Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer, Matthias Chang are charged under section 124L of the Penal Code and not the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).
The Attorney General’s Chambers further clarifies that the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) is a procedural law that provides special measures to facilitate the investigation and prosecution ‘security offences”. The definition of ‘security offences’ makes it clear that the SOSMA is not limited to terrorism or terrorists.
The ‘security offences’ to which the Act applies are those listed in the First Schedule to the SOSMA. When SOSMA was enacted, the listed ‘security offences’ were offences under Chapter VII of the Penal Code (Offences against the State) and Chapter VIA of the Penal Code (Offences related to terrorism).
In 2014, the list was extended to include Chapter VIB of the Penal Code (Organised Crime) as well as offences under Part IIIA of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007. The list was further extended in June 2015 to include the Special Measures Against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Act 2015.
Section 124L, of the Penal Code is an offence under Chapter VI of the Penal Code. It was one of seven new offences introduced into Chapter VI of the Penal Code in 2012 through Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2012. It is therefore a ‘security offence’ to which SOSMA applies.
The seven new offences are namely:
- Activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy (section 124B)
- Attempt to commit activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy (section 124C)
- Dissemination of information (section 124H)
- Sabotage (section 124K)
- Attempt to commit sabotage (section 124L)
- Espionage (section 124M)
- Attempt to commit espionage (section 124N)
These offences were in addition to the reenactment with modifications of certain offences which used to be in the Internal Security Act 1960, namely the new sections 124D, 124E, 124F, 124G, 124L and 124J. The above explanation can be seen in the Explanatory Statement to the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2012.
Section 124L, of the Penal Code provides that ‘Whoever attempts t commit sabotage or does any act preparatory thereto shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which extend to fifteen years.’
In this regard, section 130A of the Penal Code defines the term ‘sabotage’ to mean an act or omission intending to cause harm, among others, to the maintenance of ‘essential services’ while the term ‘essential services’ is defined to include banking and financial services.
The Attorney General’s Chambers provides this clarification on the provisions of law that have been applied in the case of Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang to prevent any further misleading statements, regarding the relevant provisions of law.
However, the Attorney General’s Chambers is not at liberty to divulge any facts pertaining to their cases as the matters are pending before the court.