Month-long jail sentence on “Occupy Dataran” student Umar Mohd Azmi outrageous and devastating reminder before 13GE that even under Najib as PM, the criminal justice system still sucks


The month-long jail sentence together with the maximum fine of RM1,000 on “Occupy Dataran” student Umar Mohd Azmi has become a national and international cause celebre because it is utterly outrageous as well as a devastating reminder just before the 13th General Elections that despite all the sloganeering about government, economic, educational, social and political transformation programmes, the criminal justice system in Malaysia still sucks even under the four-year premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

I am now in Sydney or I would have visited the protest camp set up by student activists outside the Kajang prison to demonstrate my support, sympathy and solidarity with Umar at the gross injustice of the harsh sentence imposed on him for obstructing a public official from performing his duty.

Why was Umar imposed the harsh penalty of a maximum fine of RM1,000 together with a one-month jail sentence, when the maximum sentence for an offence under Section 186 of the Penal Code for obstructing any public servant in the discharge of his public functions was a maximum jail sentence of three months or with maximum fine of RM1,000 or both?

One powerful reason why there must be change of Federal government in Putrajaya in the forthcoming 13th general elections is that the country is teeming with cases where the criminal justice really sucks like the case of Umar.

The protest camp set up by student activists outside Kajang Prison over Umar’s one-month jail sentence after being meted with the maximum fine of RM1,000 reminds me of the protest action against the 18-month jailing of Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng in August 1998 when he defended the dignity and honour of an under-aged Malay girl, resulting in his disqualification as Member of Parliament and being barred from standing for elective office five years after release from Kajang Prison.

In protest, DAP leaders, supporters and sympathisers staged an 18-day Free Guan Eng Marathon Fast in September 1998 as an expression of the nation-wide dismay, shock, grief and outrage at the great injustice where a conscientious, diligent and courageous MP could be jailed for 18 months for defending the honour, human rights and women’s rights of an underaged girl who was herself detained at one time when seeking justice.

At the time, the 18-day Free Guan Eng Marathon Fast received the support, sympathy and solidarity of justice-loving Malaysians, including Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

The stark failure whether under Najib or his predecessor Tun Abdullah to reform, let alone transform, the criminal justice system after the ravages to the justice system caused by the 22-year Mahathir premiership, has been vividly highlighted by the Umar case, when compared to the many unresolved mega-scandals of injustices in the country, whether it be the murder of the Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, the murder of Teoh Beng Hock at MACC premises or the host of mysterious deaths and killings while under official custody, like V. Kugan.

I support the protest camp outside Kajang Prison set up by student activists and it should be visited by all justice-loving Malaysians like during the 18-day Free Guan Eng Marathon Fast 14 years ago in Kajang – and there is a strong case that the protest camp should last as long as Umar is unjustly jailed in Kajang Prison.

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  1. #1 by yhsiew on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 4:54 pm

    Those who stole millions from the nation’s coffers do not have to go to jail and yet Umar Mohd Azmi has to face such harsh punishment for the “little crime” that he committed. What kind of legal justice is this? Shouldn’t we change government?

  2. #2 by monsterball on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 6:54 pm

    It is so clear.
    Malaysia is a dictatorship country.
    Every country in South East Asia have moved forward….except Malaysia.
    We are second to China in money laundering.
    China have 600 billion stolen and moved out of the country.
    With a population of 1.4 billion…you can say..each thief may have stolen few millions.
    Malaysia is reported to have 200billion moved out of the country by thieves.
    With a population of 28 million…every crook is a billionaire.
    Since the Govt. is not taking serious actions…we can conclude all the 200 billion are stolen by Umno b crooks.

  3. #3 by Winston on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 8:23 pm

    Now, they have alienated every sector of Malaysian society!
    In fact, the ratio of PR winning the next GE has now swung to 80:20, with 80% in favour!

  4. #4 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 9:13 pm

    “sucks”? What happened to Sdr. Lim’s trademark high formal language? Getting down with the young are we?

    But perhaps there is no other way to express it appropriate then to use the language of the young, to show allegiance to their sentiment and cause – that UMNO/BN and Najib certaintly have no clue whatsoever.

    Its nothing sort of political disaster for Najib – what point do they make? That they are petty, stubborn and closed-minded and they can?

  5. #5 by Sallang on Monday, 24 December 2012 - 8:48 am

    Lim Guan Eng in August 1998 defended the dignity and honour of an under-aged Malay girl.

    Not many people, esp. the younger generations, know the above story, unless they read Blogs, or watch Media Rakyat on You tube.
    That young maiden would have been an adult today. She should join DAP and be an icon to spearhead the recruitment of Malay Wanita DAP.
    100 days for last minute actions.

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