Unite in the face of racism and sedition persecutions

lim kit siang uniteThe DAP has called on Malaysians to unite at a time when sedition charges have become weapon of choice by the Barisan Nasional government, aside from racist and religious extremism by friends of UMNO.

In his statement today, Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang asked Malaysians of all race to be strong in the face of what he considers to be the New Despotism of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s premiership.

The 57 Merdeka anniversary this year, he said, has been marred by an “assault on Malaysian nation building, democracy, the rule of law, press freedom, and academic freedom.

He highlighted, amongst others, the racist rhetoric of UMNO Ministers, leaders and cybertroopers who enjoy immunity despite incendiary utterances. It was reported this week that Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said that Malays were paying the price for being kind to non-Malays.  He later clarified that it was only DAP and its supporters that he was referring to, and not all non Malays. However, he failed to mention whether the Malays in DAP or its growing number of Malay supporters were also suspect.

Another incident where an UMNO Minister blatantly lied to the public is when Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohamad Hassan said at an UMNO division meeting that  three days after the opposition (Pakatan Rakyat) forms the Federal Government, it will have its first cabinet meeting, where the main agenda will be the reunion of Singapore with Malaysia” coupled with the allegation that this could be done (allegedly involving an increase of 89 non-Malay parliamentary seats)  without having to amend the Federal Constitution in Parliament.

Yet another incident, amongst many other insinuations from the Barisan Nasional alliance came in the form of fear mongering, where Minister for Agriculture and Agrro based Industry Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that Malays were “under attack” in Malaysia.

Lim Kit Siang had previously called Ismail, who has been in Najib’s Cabinet for more than 5 years, “a total failure as far as passing the 1 Malaysia test is concerned”.

Smothering dissenting voices

susan looneWhile racist propaganda has become a recurring theme in UMNO division meeting speeches, the government has embarked on a double down against dissenting voices. Activists, academicians and journalists have not been spared.

The most recent in the slew of sedition probes, and prosecutions, is journalist Susan Loone (pic), who had wrote about arrested Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) chairperson and Penang state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh saying that he was treated like a criminal when in police custody.

The sedition probe was triggered by police reports lodged by ‘the Coalition of Penang Malay Representatives’ headed by Perkasa Penang Youth Chief  Mohd Rizuad Mohd Azudin. They took offence with an article the journalist had written in online news portal Malaysiakini titled ‘Disoal siasat selama 4 jam, dakwa dilayan seperti penjenayah’ translated from the English language article ‘Exco man grilled for four hours, treated like a criminal’.

Loone had reported in her article Phee saying that  “They [police] asked me all sorts of questions, snapped my photographs and took my fingerprints, just as they would do to a criminal”. He had also said, “I do not blame the police, they were very nice to me. They are victims of circumstances”.

The Penang Perkasa Youth Chief had reported that this article was intended to “tarnish the image and credibility of the police” therefore urged the Penang police to act on the “seditious article”. The Penang police chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi police had then acted on the report by announcing that a sedition probe would be carried out on the reporter and the news portal

Lim Kit Siang questioned the need to investigate the reporter for carrying out her journalistic duties, adding that the nation was experiencing the most number of selective and malicious prosecutions on sedition and other criminal charges aimed stifling dissent in the country.

azmi sharom gobind 2He also singled out Professor Azmi Sharom, as being the first academician ever to be charged under sedition. He said that it was the most serious attack on academic freedom in recent times.

Azmi Sharom was charged for drawing parallels between the Selangor MB crisis and the 2009 Perak constitutional crisis, where he had expressed his professional opinion that what happened in Perak was legally wrong.

Also slamming the charge was Bar Council President Christopher Leong who said that Azmi’s comments “cannot by any stretch of the imagination, constitute sedition”. -The Rocket

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