Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) warns that, seemingly dominated by Umno hardliners, the Najib government is pushing Malaysia to the brink of political chaos with the expanding Sedition Act dragnet.
It gravely threatens any citizens who speak up and also rapidly depletes the government’s already questionable legitimacy.
PM Najib Razak and Umno hardliners must bear full responsibility on all its consequences.
GBM points out that, by casting the Sedition Act dragnet, Najib has turned his government into the largest destabilising factor for Malaysia’s politics, society and economy, in at least three ways.
First, the Najib government has shown that the Prime Minister’s political promises are incredible and worthless. It even raises the larger question if he still controls the government apparatus especially Home Minister Zahid Hamidi and Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar.
The PM has repeatedly promised to repeal the Sedition Act, enacted by the British colonial government; yet since 2013, at least 14 persons have been charged under the Act. The PM now even reneges on his words after Umno warlords objected to the repeal.
Second, the Najib government has shown incorrigible arrogance of power by prosecuting dissidents for questioning the legitimacy of his office.
As a prime minister supported by only 47 per cent of voters, he should reach out to his detractors for reconciliation. Instead, a former student activist Adam Adli is sentenced to one year’s imprisonment for allegedly calling the public, in the aftermath of the last election, to overthrow Najib’s minority government,.
Third, the Najib Government has shown a pathological intolerance to possibly all “offensive” expressions, whether it is knowledge, swearing or humour. Malaysia simply ceases to be a normal country in the modern civilised world.
On 19 September, a cargo worker Syafiq Abdul Wahid was arrested under the Sedition Act for running a parody Facebook page called “Malay Triad Society” (Persatuan Kongsi Gelap Melayu).
Other Acts were also used to silence dissidents. In September, Wong Hoi Cheng, an Aliran member and director with the Inter-Research and Studies (IRAS), was charged under Section 504 of the Penal Code and Section 233 (1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 with posting comments through his Twitter account that allegedly demeaned the IGP and the police.
Earlier this month, law professor Azmi Sharom was charged for expressing his view on parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy.
Last month, an opposition lawmaker, R S N Rayer was charged under the Sedition Act for saying “Umno celaka” (damn Umno).
GBM calls upon all Malaysians to stand up against such repression by the Najib government and stand in solidarity with all victims of the Sedition Act.
The latest victims range from politicians, activists, an academic, a journalist, Muslim clergy and lawyers. They have been investigated, charged, or even convicted and put in jail for allegedly offending the Rulers, the BN government, its leaders, Islam, and ethnic minorities or for advocating separatism.
In the United Kingdom, the Scottish separatists not only did not get imprisoned for sedition, but a referendum was democratically held for the people to decide on their proposal.
By choosing to stay in the UK, Scotland has shown us the real meaning of freedom and reminded us that decolonisation is really an unfinished business in Malaysia.
GBM laments that, as Malaysians celebrate the 57th and 51st anniversary of independence from the United Kingdom, Najib’s “sedition” witch-hunt – seemingly turning into Operasi Lalang 2.0 – is rendering the meaning of independence hollow and fake.
Issued by Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM):
- Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
- Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)
- Tamil Foundation
- Lim Lian Geok Cultural Development Centre (LLG)
- United Chinese School Alumni Association of Malaysia (UCSAAM)
- Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
- Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
- Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas)
- Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
- Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas)
- National Indian Rights Action Team (Niat)
- Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS)
- All Women’s Action Society (Awam)
- Partners in Community Organising (Pacos Trust)
- Japan Graduates Association, Malayia (Jagam)
- Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)