Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Don't we still need the Sedition Act 1948?

No turning back for Najib's plan for Sedition and IS Acts?

Killed a good few hours yesterday with DR, a young, up-and-coming Umno politician at Fast Bikes in PJ, where the knowledgeable motorcycling crowd congregates to talk cock and politics. DR is not a medical doctor, it's his initial; but like The Doctor this young man whose dad was a Minister in Dr M, Pak Lah and Najib's Cabinets has been known to ride fast and furious. He was most keen to know about the proposed amendments to the Sedition Act which I said I would share in the sequel to my posting  Do we still need the Sedition Act?. 
Why so interested? Ah, he said the Umno meetings in the run-up to the party's annual general assembly have made ISA and Sedition Act their main issues. "That's all the sayaps (wings) have been talking about." Which means that without doubt, the Prime Minsiter and Umno President's plan to amend (repeal?) the Sedition Act 1948 will take centrestage during the assembly next month. The plan might even face stiff challenge there. 
The ground swell against the said proposal to amend the Sedition Act has grown tremendously over the last few weeks to counter the movement that wants Najib Razak not to amend the Act but abolish it altogether. I say, "Cool". But I also bet most of these guys don't even know what the proposed amendments are. It's a combination of them not caring to know and the government apparatus that's supposed to inform the public about such things NOT doing their job properly. 
People need to be informed 
1. if the Act is going to be (a) amended (b) repealed 
2. if (a) what are the proposed amendments 
3. if (b) what is the substitute Act 
4. what (a) or (b) will do for us as a nation 
The little that the knowledgeable crowd at Fast Bikes know or think they know is:
1. The Sedition Act will be amended not abolished
2. The amendments are minimal, affecting "one or two matters only", according to someone who is close to the A-G Chamber
3. The A-G himself believes in the Sedition Act, which is why he has been charging people under that Act, although like I said in my previous posting his office should have been more circumspect with the Azmi-Loone duo
4. The proposed amendmends will provide room for criticisms against the government and the court of law and even its sometimes learned judges
5. Some politicians have been clamouring for the position of Islam as as the religion of the Federation, as stated in the Constitution, to be amended. Can't touch this. The AG, I hear, has proposed to amend the Akta Hasutan to give protection to the Constitutional provision of Islam as religion of the Federation. 
There you have it! But that's me saying it. The relevant authorities should be saying it. The Prime Minister should tell us about what he and the AG have up their sleeves. 
Even Sabahans think Sedition Act is still relevant
Personally, I'm sorry to say that I believe Malaysians are NOT ready to do away with the Sedition Act, just as they are not ready to deal with freedom of expression, the Press, etc. 
Those who say they are ready are usually the ones less so; when they find themselves at the receiving end of a liberal and free debate, they resort to suing you of a hundred million ringgit! 
Those among us who are most tolerant are also the most ciscumspect about the matter. A Sabahan Minister I met said while he believes that Sabahans are generally more tolerant and 1Malayaian than their fellow Malaysians from the other States, "I don't think even we Sabahans are ready for a no-holds-barred socio-political environment that will be created once there is no Sedition Act".  
"It will lead us to chaos," the Minister told us. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Do we still need the Sedition Act 1948?

"Criticism is based on the truth; in a Sedition, the truth is not at all critical. " - Anonymous

The early history of Malaysian journalism is punctuated with the detention of journalists - real journalists - under the Internal Security Act. Arwah Pak Samad Ismail, for example, was accused of being a Communist by the same government that had sought his wisdom when Tun Abdul Razak was Prime Minister. As soon as Razak was gone, they took Pak Samad from his home in front of his wife and children and incarcerated him for 5 years. Pak Samad was released only after Dr Mahathir Mohamad replaced Hussein Onn as PM. No journalist was detained under the ISA during Dr M's tenure as Prime Minister, proof that you can have the ISA and use it judiciously. 
Under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, however, the Home Minister from Johor committed the dumbest act by any Home Minister with the detention of a junior reporter for 24 hours under the ISA "for her own safety". Proof that the ISA, in the hands of some people, can be dangerous instead of beneficial to public health and peace, which was what the ISA was meant for. 
In the same vein, the perception of the Sedition Act today. The arrests of Malaysiakini journalist Susan Loone and pony-tailed Azmi Sharom, the lecturer with a column in the Star, must be viewed as acts aimed at deliberately undermining the position of the Sedition Act, which has helepd kept at bay the racists and the anarchists in some of us and maintained the peace that we enjoy. What could Ms Loone and Encik Azmi possibly have done to shake our foundations as a society? Apart from minor intellectural irritation, very little, I'd say. 
Dr Azmi Sharom
Susan Loone's blog
But what have their arrests achieved? Renewed hatred and greater suspicion towards the Sedition Act. And rightly so! Their arrests have convinced many people that the Act is draconian and serves the purpose of those in power. 
To propose DNA for Azmi & Loone?
So I am happy to hear (and read, h e r e) that the Attorney-General is reviewing those two cases with a view of amending the charges against the lecturer with a column and the journalist whom we bloggers used to call "loony". 
Tan Sri Gani Patail had gone this way before: he'd DNA-ed (discharged not amounting to acquittal) Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Syed Akbar Ali  after charging them with sedition during the Pak Lah era. Now those two, you'd agree with me, were rocking a lot of boats when they were fab - and they still are at the top of their games, if you want to compare them with Azmi-Loone.  
Syed Akbar Ali: DNA-ed
But the AG, as the guardian of the Sedition Act, must act fast. The longer he waits, the more maligned the Act.
Most of us believe that criticisms against the Government must not be stopped; in fact, they should be encouraged. But people must also know the limits of freedom and the responsibility that comes with it. They cannot say or write whatever they bloody like.  
Like the ex-IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan says in The Mole's Mala fide against the Sedition Act?, "If the Act is no longer here, people can do or say whatever they want under the sun".   
Will the Sedition Act be repealed? Are we ready for it? I am of the view that rules and regulations, laws and legislation ought to be amended now and then. It is about moving with the times ...
To be cont'd: Proposed amendments to the Sedition Act that you would agree to but have not been told about ...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Set up base in Putrajaya, Dr M tells non-Bumi firms

Shapadu boss Shafiz Sharani listens as Dr M launches
what will be the first corporate HQ in Putrajaya

Launching the first corporate headquarters on the Putrajaya boulevard that houses most of the government ministries this morning, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad this morning invited other Malaysian companies, including non-Bumi firms, to set up base there and help make Putrajaya a "truly Malaysian city".  
Shapadu Group became the first corporation to announce shifting its headquarters (currently in Shah Alam) to Putrajaya. It will build a RM700 million commercial haven just next to where the Ministry of Finance is.  
The former Prime Minister, who had conceived the idea of a Malaysian administrative capital in Putrajaya, said in his speech he had never thought he'd live to see Putrajaya reach where it is today. "I thought I would have been long dead. Allah has been kind to me."

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sabahans don't want secession; we just don't get it!

Updated: The blogger Zakhir Mohd says the conspirators for the so-called Sabah secession are from outside the State. He named some of them in his latest posting Semenanjung luficers instigating Sabah secession. 
"This is the perfect time for the Sedition Act to be used against (them) …" he writes. 
I am not a fan of the Sedition Act but I can imagine that the majority of Malaysians will appreciate the wisdom of the government if it uses the Act judiciously and on anarchists, not on the likes of Azmi Sharom, whose appeal had always been niche (until he was charged with sedition, that is).

Original Article:

"We are NOT trying to scare the people ...." 

Yeah, right. This is exactly what Hishammuddin shouldn't be saying. But he did, anyway.   What such talk does is to make people - Sabahans, especially - think that Hisham is trying to scare them. Read the report:

Without Putrajaya’s help, Sabah open to Islamic State terror plot, minister warns secessionists

KOTA KINABALU, Sept 21 ― Sabah will be vulnerable to possible terrorist attacks from Southern Philippine’s Islamic rebels without the protection of security forces from the federal government, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein warned today, warding off calls for the state to leave Malaysia.
The Defence Minister warned pro-secessionist groups that the threat of a terrorist takeover was very real in light of a recent statement from Southern Philippines’s Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Abu Sayyaf, who have pledged support for the Islamic State (IS) militant movement.
“We are not trying to scare the people but we want to remind them (pro-secessionist groups) not to gamble with Sabah’s future.
“The terrorists have made it clear of their intentions of creating an Islamic State in the region,” he said, reminding Sabahans that security personnel in the Sabah now comes from the federal government’s Defence and Home Ministry.
Read the full article H E R E 
Listen to the Sabahans: Foreign Minister Anifah Aman speaks while Hisham listens.  

What Hisham should do is leave it to the Sabahans to speak on behalf of Sabah regarding the secession talk. Because if you understand the sentiments on the ground, you'd understand that Sabahans DO NOT wish for secession. They want a better deal from the Federal Government and they have not been getting it (and they and we know that) despite Najib Razak's gesture of putting more Sabahans in his Cabinet after the last general election. 

But secession? Sabahans are more Malaysian than a lot of Malaysians from the Peninsular who call themselves Malaysian-first. Surely Hisham knows that ...  
Read also: Scottish nationalists in tears after countrymen and women voted against "independence"

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Why Najib can't amend/abolish the Sedition Act, unilaterally

Will the Rulers agree?
Consent of the Malay Rulers needed. The prolific blogger SatD hasn't been less so even though his postings have been few and far between. Just read his first posting since June Sedition R Us: A word of caution to Ghar: 
"The thing is our Sedition Act is enacted from clause 10 (4), and any changes to it will require the "Consent of the Conference of Rulers" 
Article 159 (5)
(5) A law making an amendment to Clause (4) of Article 10, any law passed thereunder, the provisions of part iii, Article 38, Clause (4) of Article 63, Article 70, Clause (1) of Article 71, Clause (4) of Article 72, Article 152, or 153 or to this Clause shall not be passed without the consent of the Conference of Rulers."
As I understand it, it's SatD's word of caution not just meant for the 112 NGOs (mostly unregistered but of course) that are clamouring for the Sedition Act to be removed sans replacement BUT, more importantly, ALSO a reminder to the Prime Minister and his Attorney-General Gani Patail to observe the proper democratic process involved ...

Leave your comments at Pure Shiite 


I wish I could attend this launch of Anas Zubedy's latest book by former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the author of The Malay Dilemma.
But I will be in Sabah (see pic, left). I've been planning to celebrate Malaysia Day in Sabah with the beautiful people of Sabah for years and at last this year, inshallah, I will be able to realise that dream. 
All the best to #WahaiMelayu. I am glad it is Anas Zubedy, one of The Star's "moderate voices" (and up there at the top of my list of Malaysia's most sober and sane, definitely), who's publishing this book; otherwise, those racist dogs will rip it apart ... 
I also like Anas Zubedy's #SaySomethingNice 2014 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Hai Melayu

"Apalah identiti kamu sbg orang Melayu kalau kamu tak tahu adat istiadat dan asal usulnya kamu sebagai orang Melayu?
Kamu boleh kata "saya Melayu progresif" ... kamu boleh kata "saya ulama" ... kamu kata kamu Melayu socialis ... kamu boleh kata kamu Melayu kominis ... Tapi jangan lupa sejarah kamu. Kamu hilang adat istiadat, kamu hilang asal usual, maka harus kamu lucutkan gelaran kamu orang Melayu, lucutkan keistimewaan Melayu."
It's that time of the year when racial awareness in this multiracial country of ours climbs to its zenith. Just read Just Read's last posting on Umno strongman Zahid Hamidi's statement and the general Melayu Umno sentiment in Increasingly Arrogant.   
But the quotes on Melayu at the start of this posting belong not to a Melayu but to Felicia Ling, a PKR member. The lawyer left MCA in 2008 to join PKR probably because of Anwar Ibrahim's promised "New Dawn". But judging by this furious clipping below captured by Jinggo the other day. the lawyer may have finally seen the light. 
Proof that when it comes to their Sultan, Malaysians regardless of race could still unite. 
As long as the Sultans behave themselves and are good to the Rakyat, that is.

More at Mahaguru58 .