Thursday, 4 December 2014

What’s East Malaysia’s stand on Sedition Act?

The proposed amendment violates a principle of the Malaysia Agreement, says Kit Siang.

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP has warned that one of the proposed amendments to the Sedition Act violates a fundamental principle of the Malaysia Agreement if Sarawak and Sabah are not consulted beforehand.

In a press statement referring to the proposal to make it seditious to urge for the secession of Sabah and Sarawak from Malaysia, DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang said today that there are other ways of dealing with such calls.

“One way is for the establishment of a royal commission of inquiry to examine the unhappiness of the peoples of Sarawak and Sabah over the failures in the past five decades to honour Sarawak’s 18 Points and Sabah’s 20 Points, which were the basis for their agreement to form Malaysia in 1963,” he said, adding that he had proposed this many times in Parliament, “but with no support or even interest from the Barisan Nasional MPs, whether from Sarawak or Sabah.”

He also urged the Sabah and Sarawak state assemblies to convene to take a stand on the proposed amendment before a bill is tabled in Parliament.

“Do the people, governments and legislatures of Sarawak and Sabah agree that the Sedition Act should be strengthened by the amendment to make calls for secession of Sarawak and Sabah from Malaysia as sedition offences?”

He said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had committed a “gross injustice” in announcing the plan to amend the act without consulting the two states.

“As only a small group of people are calling for secession,” he said, “the proper and prudent response is to find out the root causes of their unhappiness and to take all remedial action if their grouses are legitimate and deserves prompt government action, and not to criminalise their views.”

As in his press statements of recent days, Lim taunted the Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for failure to take prompt action against Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said of Penang Umno and Mashitah Ibrahim of Kedah Umno for their allegedly inflammatory speeches.at the recent Umno general assembly.

Turning on Najib, he said the Umno President had broken his pledge to be fair in the enforcement of laws against hate speeches. He referred to the recent sedition dragnet targeting opposition figures and other dissenters and noted that Zaidi and Mashitah delivered their speeches less than 24 hours after Najib made the pledge.

He also noted that numerous police reports were promptly lodged against Zaidi and Mashitah.

“There has been no police action in the past six days despite Najib’s promise to be fair in enforcement of the laws,” he said.

As for Zahid, Lim said his “continued silence is deafening, especially coming from a very trigger happy Home Minister”.

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