|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 informed1. if the Act is going to be (a) amended (b) repealed2. if (a) what are the proposed amendments3. if (b) what is the substitute Act4. 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 abolished2. The amendments are minimal, affecting "one or two matters only", according to someone who is close to the A-G Chamber3. 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 duo4. The proposed amendmends will provide room for criticisms against the government and the court of law and even its sometimes learned judges5. 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.
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.