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Parliament expects a report during the debate on Internal Security Ministry estimates on Dec. 7 on what action has been taken by police and Attorney-General to arrest and prosecute Umno leaders for raising the spectre of May 13 and making seditious speeches at Umno general assemblies
(Parliament, Thursday) : Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday that several Umno delegates who touched on extreme racial sensitivities during their speeches at last week’s general assembly may face action.
Najib said the party had identified several speeches which were deemed “extreme”, and would leave it to the “relevant authorities” to take action – implying the police.
There are two matters for regret. Firstly, it is regrettable that it has to take almost one full week before the two highest officers of the land – the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister –to realize that insensitive, extremist, racist and inflammatory speeches spewing hatred and sedition at the Umno general assemblies were wrong, unacceptable and criminal – undermining not only national unity and nation-building efforts but also scaring away foreign investors.
Secondly, in publicly stating that the party was leaving to the authorities to take action, it reinforces perception that the police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers had to get the “green light” from the No. 1 or No. 2 before they could discharge their duties, which is to uphold and enforce the law in arresting and prosecuting Umno leaders who had committed the offences against the Sedition Act in making extremist, incendiary and seditious utterances such as:
Will the hands of the Police and the Attorney-General be tied if such “green light” is not given by Najib that the matter would be left to the authorities?
The first police report against the seditious speeches at the Umno general assemblies last week was made six days ago by by Lau Weng San, DAP Selangor Publicity Secretary, on 18th November 2006 at IPD Petaling Jaya, followed by a second report by Nga Kor Ming, DAP Perak State Assebmlyman and Perak State Secretary on 19th November 2006 at IPD Ipoh and a third report by Kuan Perk Siong, DAPSY Federal Territory Deputy Chief on 21st November 2006 at IPD Dang Wangi.
Two days ago, I had called on the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Ghani Patail to prosecute under the sedition law without fear or favour political leaders particularly from Umno who had been raising the spectre of May 13 to threaten riots and bloodshed against Malaysians for defending their legitimate citizenship and constitutional rights.
Why didn’t the Police and the Attoreny-General act earlier and are they inhibited from carrying out their lawful duties until they get the “green light” from “above” like the Anti-Corruption Agency on cases of corruption affecting political leaders in the Barisan Nasional?
What Malaysians are seeing is a critical test of one of the “12 pillars” of the administration of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi – the burden of his Umno Presidential address.
Abdullah had described as his “Ninth Pillar” of his premiership to achieve excellence, glory and distinction for the county and people “Enforcing the rule of law in a firm and transparent manner, particularly in the fight against crime”.
Abdullah has rightly pinpointed the root problem as one of “enforcement” – where the rule of law is not adhered to and the laws meant to protect our society are no longer respected.
Abdullah said: “The language of the law is the same for all citizens. No one is exempt from prosecution; no one is above the law. It will be a travesty and a subject of ridicule if the laws only apply to the weak and those without position. Umno leaders themselves should be the first to display exemplary behaviour by adopting and practicing a culture of respect for and abiding by the law.”
We have immediately a test case whether there is one law for Umno leaders and another law for others. There is no doubt that if Opposition politicians had said the same racist, inflammatory and seditious statements as heard in the Umno general assemblies, threateningt bloodshed and riots, they would have been arrested already and charged in court. The police and the Attorney-General should demonstrate that they are not practicing double standards.
Parliament and Members of Parliament have a right to expect a report during the budget committee stage debate on Internal Security Ministry estimates on Dec. 7 on the actions taken by the police and the Attorney-General to arrest and prosecute Umno leaders for raising the spectre of May 13 and making seditious speeches at Umno general assemblies, as some three weeks would have elapsed since the lodging of the first police report by Lau Weng San.
All the cases involved are very straightforward cases which do not require long hours of investigation. All the evidence are easily available as they had been beamed to the whole country and the world through live telecast.
A police report will be lodged tomorrow against the UMNO Deputy Speaker and MP for Jerai Badruddin Amiruldin for his May 13 threat at the 2004 Umno general assembly in September 2004, as there is no time-bar for the criminal offence of sedition. I also expect a report on the police action taken to be given in Parliament on Dec. 7.
The attempt by the Umno MP for Ketereh, Datuk Mohd Alwi Che Ahmad in Parliament yesterday to justify the keris wielding by the Umno Youth leader Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein for the second consecutive year in compounding his insensitivities last year is most pathetic.
Nobody disputes Alwi’s claim that the keris is a symbol of power and justice in Malay culture, but no one can also deny that when the keris is used in the context of extremist, incendiary and seditious speeches and threats, with all the “fire and brimstone” language of bloodshed and amok, the keris ceases to be a symbol of power and justice but represents a grave threat to the peace, harmony and harmony which all Malaysians, regardless of race, want to see established in the country.
This is also why the Perlis delegate Hashim Suboh had responded to the keris-wielding with the incendiary question to Hishammuddin: "Datuk Hisham has unsheathed his keris, waved his keris, kissed his keris. We want to ask Datuk Hisham when is he going to use it."
Can Alwi explain Hashim’s reaction? With his weak and pathetic attempt to justify Hishamuddinj’s keris-wielding for the second consecutive year, Alwi has only made things worse.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman