AG should resign or be replaced for selective persecution of PR leaders

By Lim Kit Siang, MP for Gelang Patah

lim kit siang ag resignAlthough the Attorney-General Gani Patail is vested with the  sole discretion under Article 145 of the Malaysian Constitution “to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence” , he owes the Malaysian people a duty of public accountability to explain whether he has been guilty of selective and malicious prosecution in the recent slew of arrests and charges against Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen.

The new-fangled charge against the PKR Vice President Rafizi Ramli yesterday, for example, was just incredulous and most extraordinary.

Rafizi is charged under Section 504 of the Penal Code on “Intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace” which states: “Whoever intentionally insults, and thereby gives provocation to any person, intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause him to break the public peace, or to commit any offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both”.

Rafizi was accused of issuing “defamatory and provocative statements” against Umno members through a statement he made in February, linking Umno with an incident where a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a church.

There have been legion cases of DAP, PKR and PAS members being “defamed” and “provoked” by UMNO/BN leaders and spokespersons, particularly since the 12th General Elections in 2008,  but has anyone been arrested and prosecuted in the past six years under Section 504 of the Penal Code, which could lead to the disqualification of a sitting Member of Parliament or State Assemblyperson, resulting in by-elections?

Absolutely none. Why then has this new-fangled charge been trotted out against Rafizi which could lead to his disqualification as MP for Pandan followed by a parliamentary by-election?

Why  is the Attorney-General sliding down this slippery slope of malicious and selective prosecution which can only undermine public confidence in the fair and impartial administration of justice in Malaysia?

Going by Rafizi’s prosecution, there would have been umpteenth persons in various echelons of the Umno/BN leadership who should be hauled to court under Section 504 of the Penal Code for “intentional insult to provoke a breach of peace”, criminal defamation and even sedition!

One of them would be former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir who  made the highly provocative and defamatory allegation in the last general elections that

(i)  I contested in Gelang Patah parliamentary constituency to cause a confrontation between the Malays and Chinese in Johore as I wanted the Chinese in Johore “to dislike and hate the Malays”; and

(ii)  DAP rejected the concept of Malay/Chinese/Indian power-sharing as the Chinese want to oust the political power of the Malays.

What about the highly provocative and defamatory allegations by UMNO leaders, publications (especially Utusan Malaysia) and cybertroopers spreading lies, falsehoods and character-assassination against DAP and DAP leaders,  including the dastardly lies that the DAP wants to form a Christian state, abolish the system of constitutional Monarchy and that the DAP is anti-Malay and anti-Islam?

The latest example of a clear violation of Section 504 of the Penal Code will be the provocative and defamatory speech by the Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohamad Hassan at the Rembau Umno division meeting on Sunday making the utterly baseless allegation that Pakatan Rakyat intends to invite Singapore to rejoin Malaysia if it wins control of the Federal Government, giving the “guarantee” that “three days after the opposition forms the Federal Government, it will have its first cabinet meeting, where the main agenda will be the reunion of Singapore with Malaysia”.

It does not speak much for the intelligence,  general knowledge or respect for truth of the Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar when he could go on to state, as reported by the news portal Free Malaysia Today on August 26:

“This won’t need any amendment to the Federal Constitution. It needs only the approval of the Federal Cabinet, the way Tunku Abdul Rahman threw Singapore out.”

He said one of the consequences of the reunion would be the addition of 89 seats to the Malaysian Parliament.

“All those 89 seats would be non-Malay seats,” he added.

“So before this happens, let’s work hard and ensure that Umno remains in power so that the dignity of the Malays is protected.”

I just cannot believe that the Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar could talk be so irresponsible as to spout such garbage and indulge in callous race-baiting, lies and falsehoods  betraying his abysmal  ignorance about the nation’s constitution and the laws, for any change to the territory of the country needs a constitutional amendment.

Will the Attorney-General prosecute Mohamad Hassan under Section 504 of the Penal Code for the offence of “Intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace” because of his defamatory and provocative statements likely to cause the ire of Pakatan Rakyat members from DAP, PKR and PAS?

I am not suggesting that the Negeri Sembilan Mentri Besar should be prosecuted but want the Attorney-General Gani Patail to discharge his duty of public accountability to explain whether he has been guilty of selective and malicious prosecution in the recent slew of charges against PR MPs and Assemblymen.

The Home Minister,  Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was being completely evasive when he said that the responsibility for the  recent slew of sedition charges against the opposition lies solely with the Attorney-General’s Chambers and not with  the police and the Home Ministry, which only investigate all cases and passes them to the prosecutors.

How can the Home Minister or any Cabinet  Minister for that matter or any Barisan Nasional component party disclaim responsibility for the New Despotism which has descended under the Najib premiership marked by selective and malicious prosecution of Pakatan Rakyat MPs and State Assemblymen, where the Sedition Act and a whole panoply of laws are being abused to give new-fangled interpretations to stifle dissent and suppress democratic freedoms?

Let Najib, all Cabinet Ministers and Barisan Nasional component parties and leaders stand up and be counted, whether they are prepared to speak out to denounce the New Despotism in the country, which a great setback for democratization in Malaysia, and to demand a full and satisfactory response by the Attorney-General to the charge of selective and malicious prosecution of Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

If Gani Patail cannot discharge his  duty of public accountability to explain  whether he has been guilty of selective and malicious prosecution in the  recent slew of charges against PR MPs and Assemblymen, he should resign or be replaced.

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