The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should speak up, tell the police to “hands-off” dancer/performer Bilqis Hijjas and show Malaysia and the world that his government is not obsessed or afraid of yellow colour, T-shirts and balloons.
Najib is still talking about accomplishing Vision 2020 objective of Malaysia becoming a fully developed nation although the father of Vision 2020, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir has already passed judgment that Vision 2020 is not achievable.
Najib should therefore be reminded of the nine “strategic challenges” for Malaysia to accomplish the Vision 2020 objective of a fully developed nation, and the second “strategic challenge” is creating “a psychologically liberated, secure, and developed Malaysian Society with faith and confidence in itself, justifiably proud of what it is, of what it has accomplished, robust enough to face all manner of adversity. This Malaysian Society must be distinguished by the pursuit of excellence, fully aware of all its potentials, psychologically subservient to none, and respected by the peoples of other nations.”
Malaysia has failed miserably to achieve this second “strategic challenge” when the Malaysian government sees an enemy behind every bush and tree, and even worse as demonstrated by recent days, obsessed and even afraid of the yellow colour, T-shirts and now balloons!
Surely, Najib and his sycophants are not thinking of enacting a form of lese-majeste legislation to create a crime of offending the dignity of the Prime Minister and his wife?
The arrest and interrogation of Bilqis for releasing seven yellow balloons, decorated with the words like “Free Media”, “Democracy”, “Justice” at the Pavilion Mall when Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor were there to officiate the Diversecity Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival belongs to the “theatre of the absurd”.
I shudder to think that the three deepest impressions of the 2,000 participants from all over the world to the 16th International Anti-Corruption Convention on “Ending Impunity: People, Integrity, Action” in Putrajaya from Sept. 2- 4, 2015 taking back to their countries are:
1. Terminal “denial syndrome” of the Malaysian government under Prime Minister Najib in refusing to acknowledge the patriotism and idealism of 500,000 Malaysians who streamed into Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu on August 29/30 to call for good governance and clean and fair elections.
2. The cowardice of the PM Najib in last-minute pull-out from opening the 16th IACC because he is possibly the worst example of the IACC theme: “Ending Impunity: People, Integrity, Action”.
3. The arrest and harassment of performance artist, Bilqis Hijjas, for her “spark of creativity” in releasing seven yellow Balloons with words like “Free Media”, “Democracy” and “Justice” as if these words personify all that is most evil, reprehensible and unacceptable in Malaysia!
Leaving aside for the moment the atrocious international image Malaysia will garner from the Bilqis episode, what is the basis for the police action against Bilqis under Section 504 of the Penal Code?
Section 504 of the Penal Code reads:
“Intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace.
“504. Whoever intentionally insults, and thereby gives provocation to any person, intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause him to break the public peace, or to commit any other offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.”
Bilqis was guilty of artistic licence, but her act did not fall under Section 504 of Penal Code as she did not intend to “provoke” Najib, “intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation” will cause Najib “to break the public peace or to commit any other offence”.
I urge Najib accept in good grace Bilqis’ intention, take note of what she intended to communicate, and tell the Police to “hands-off” Bilqis as any harassment or persecution of Bilqis for her artistic licence will do neither Najib nor Malaysia any good at all, whether to Malaysians or to the international society.
More important, Najib should let it be known that he would not have been “provoked” to break the public peace or to commit any offence by Bilqis’s artistic licence!