COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
MAY 05, 2014
One year after the Barisan Nasional (BN) won the 13th general election (GE13) with fewer votes and fewer seats, more lawmakers from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) find themselves at the wrong end of the law and risking jail time.
Tomorrow, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok will be charged with sedition, weeks after the late Karpal Singh was convicted of the same charge.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim faces the possibility of jail for a second sodomy conviction while his PKR party colleague Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad is expected to charged again under the Peaceful Assembly Act.
Just two weeks ago, the Court of Appeal had declared Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act – which criminalises the failure to give 10-day notice before a gathering – to be unconstitutional.
And in July 2012, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that the Sedition Act will be repealed and replaced by a National Harmony Act. That has yet to take place and instead, more people have been charged with sedition.
Will Malaysians, or the 51% of the electorate who voted for PR in GE13, stand on the sidelines as disinterested watchers as their elected reps are picked off one by one by an administration that obviously thinks the only way to win is by making the opposition “disappear”?
And this from a PM who was boasting about his reformist credentials during United States President Barack Obama’s visit to Malaysia two weeks ago.
Can the government say that this is an independent decision of the public prosecutor, knowing full that even a standard operational procedure as searching the sea for a lost plane needs Putrajaya’s approval.
Or is the public prosecutor’s push to charge Kok with sedition over her “Onederful Malaysia” Chinese New Year clip and Nik Nazmi for an offence under a law now deemed unconstitutional shows recalcitrance on his part?
The reality is that the buck stops with the prime minister. Even research and development projects appear to need his approval or endorsement.
What more prosecuting politicians in court.
It might be another four years to the next polls but the systemic move to remove popular PR leaders shows an administration that has abandoned its reformist zeal and stripes in favour of the old playbook of intimidation and incarceration.
How else can BN win an election, if not by physically removing its foes from the political arena using archaic laws such as the Sedition Act?
Where does this leave Malaysians who were asked to believe in the 1Malaysia slogan and a prime minister who had proudly declared “the era of government knows best is over” when he took office in 2009?
It leaves them nowhere except to find ways to remind the government that it is the people who keep them in power, and it is the people who will unseat any government that fails to keep its promises. – May 5, 2014.