Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012

The Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Malay: Akta Kesalahan Keselamatan (Langkah-Langkah Khas) 2012, abbreviated SOSMA) is a controversial law supposedly "to provide for special measures relating to security offences for the purpose of maintaining public order and security and for connected matters". The Act is to replace the 1960 Internal Security Act (Malaysia). The Act was introduced by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, approved in Parliament on 17 April 2012, given the Royal Assent on 18 June 2012 and Gazetted on 22 June 2012. This act may carry the death penalty to the perpetrators.

Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012
Parliament of Malaysia
CitationAct 747
Territorial extentMalaysia
Enacted byDewan Rakyat
Passed17 April 2012
Enacted byDewan Negara
Passed9 May 2012
Royal assent18 June 2012
Commenced22 June 2012
Effective31 July 2012, P.U. (B) 256/2012[1]
Legislative history
Bill introduced in the Dewan RakyatSecurity Offences (Special Measures) Bill 2012
Bill citationD.R. 15/2012
Introduced byNajib Razak, Prime Minister
First reading10 April 2012
Second reading16 April 2012
Third reading17 April 2012
Bill introduced in the Dewan NegaraSecurity Offences (Special Measures) Bill 2012
Bill citationD.R. 15/2012
Introduced byLiew Vui Keong, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department
First reading23 April 2012
Second reading8 May 2012
Third reading9 May 2012
Amended by
Security Offences (Special Measures) (Amendment) Act 2015 [Act A1487]
Related legislation
Internal Security Act 1960 [Act 82]
Public order, special measure, security
Status: In force


The Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, in its current form (4 June 2015), consists of 8 Parts containing 32 sections and 2 schedules (including 1 amendment).

  • Part I: Preliminary
  • Part II: Special Powers for Security Offences
  • Part III: Special Procedures Relating to Electronic Monitoring Device
  • Part IV: Special Procedures Relating to Sensitive Information
  • Part V: Trial
  • Part VI: Special Procedures Relating to Protected Witness
  • Part VII: Evidence
  • Part VIII: Miscellaneous
  • Schedules

Arrests Under the Act

Three people, including former ISA detainees Yazid Sufaat, Halimah Hussein and Mohd Hilmi Hasim, were the first ever detained under SOSMA in 2013. They were arrested for alleged incitement of terrorist acts.[2] Following the 2013 Lahad Datu standoff, 104 Filipinos with suspected links to Jamalul Kiram III, one of the claimants to the throne of the Sultanate of Sulu, were detained under SOSMA. These included several family members of Kiram who had entered the state of Sabah using false identities.[3]


In 2016, SOSMA was used to arrest 15 prominent civil rights activists, including Maria Chin Abdullah, after the Bersih 5 rally, leading to widespread condemnation from various parties, including Lawyers for Liberty director Eric Paulsen,[4] 80 civil society organisations,[5] the Malaysian Human Rights Commission and the US State Department. Several civil rights groups also said the use of Sosma for an organiser of a peaceful rally was abuse of power and that the Malaysian government was trying to suppress dissent by using draconian laws.[6]

In 2016, 80 prominent civil rights group collectively called for the abolition of SOSMA, calling it a "draconian" law.[7]


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