Friday, 28 November 2014

All ‘Sabah, Sarawak Keluar Malaysia’ NGOs banned

The Registrar of Societies (RoS) has gazetted the NGOs concerned as unlawful.

KUALA LUMPUR: Home Minister Zahid Hamid declared on Thursday that all Sabah Sarawak movements involved in getting the two Borneo states out of the Federation with the peninsula would be declared unlawful with immediate effect.

Zahid said the declaration follows Umno President and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak saying that the Sedition Act would be retained and strengthened with two key aspects including one on taking action against anyone instigating Sabah and Sarawak to leave the Federation. The other point is on Islam.

The Home Ministry, stressed Zahid, has taken steps against the NGOs concerned.

“The Registrar of Societies (RoS) has gazetted the NGOs concerned as unlawful,” said Zahid on the sidelines of the Umno General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

If the Sedition Act is strengthened on the two aspects, continued Zahid, the police would take the necessary action against those flouting the law.

Najib, predictably, played to the gallery at the Umno General Assembly when he pledged that the infamous Sedition Act 1948, introduced by the British but abolished in the United Kingdom, will be retained and indeed strengthened.

He had promised, not once but thrice so far, that the Sedition Act will be abolished, the last time being on cable television in London.

In a contradiction in terms, elsewhere, he pledged that all promises made will be kept so that the people will know that the ruling Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) is a party that keeps its promises.

The meet broke twice into visual images of the reformasi movement and the Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia movement. Activist Hishammudin Rais and Doris Jones of Sabah featured prominently.

However, he did put in a caveat: any action taken must be fair.

The Sedition Act, under its second prong, allows for legitimate criticisms of government mistakes.

The general criticism against the Sedition Act is that it circumvents the Federal Constitution and strips the right to free speech. The Act is being challenged in the Federal Court, sitting as the Constitutional Court.

It’s likely that Putrajaya will wait for the outcome in the Constitutional Court before deciding what to do on the Sedition Act.

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