Karpal Singh – a victim of political persecution

Karpal Singh - Photograph: Wikipedia

Aliran is outraged by the shocking verdict that convicted Karpal Singh of sedition.

Photograph: Wikipedia
Photograph: Wikipedia

If what he had said during the 2009 constitutional crisis after the overthrow of the legitimately elected Perak state government was deemed as seditious, why then has the Sedition Act not been applied to the many recent cases when so many extremists uttered statements that were inciting and provoking?

It is clearly an act of selective persecution and prosecution.

Malaysians are wondering if this is the forerunner to more court convictions of other opposition leaders and critical social activists whose cases are still pending?

Karpal had consistently maintained that it was not his intention to criticise His Highness, the Sultan of Perak. His stand was that he had expressed an opinion based on the Constitution, which provides for special courts for the Rulers to be charged. His opinion was based on the fact that there was room for this expression as provided for in the Constitution.

Karpal Singh had not shown any deliberate disrespect to the Sultan of Perak. But police reports were lodged against Karpal in defence of the royalty – which set in motion the process for Karpal to be formally charged.

It is an irony that no one felt offended when, way back in the 1980s, mammoth Semarak rallies were held to vilify the royalty by the then prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad. No one was outraged. They followed their leader and cheered him on in his onslaught on the royalty. Mahathir condemned their lifestyle, ridiculed their court language and clipped their wings.

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Those who can remember may recall the incident when the Johor hockey coach, Douglas Gomez, was summoned and slapped by His Highness, the Sultan of Johor. It was this incident that led to the constitutional amendment that removed the legal immunity of the royalty and provided for the setting up of special courts.

Karpal was obviously referring to this provision in the constitution.

The Bill that Parliament subsequently passed allowed for rulers who violated the laws to be prosecuted, while the Sedition Act of 1948 was also amended to allow public criticism of the rulers. A special court was created – presided by the Lord President of the Federal Court – to empower and prosecute members of the rulers’ coterie and immediate members of the royal household.

Under the circumstance, Aliran is really upset by this turn of events.

P Ramakrishnan
Aliran executive committee member
22 February 2014

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P Ramakrishnan
P Ramakrishan, the long-serving former president of Aliran who served three and a half decades on our executive committee, has been with Aliran since its inception in 1977. Now an ordinary Aliran member, he continues to highlight issues of public interest to a larger audience.


  1. This is further proof that there are two interpretations in every rule in Malaysia under the present regime. One for the themselves and another one for the opposition, period. They are able to do this just because they have put in place their (people) in every branch of the government to enforce their wishes and desires. They are able to do so especially with endorsement from the lackeys in the coalition partners.
    That is why all these whiles people like the egregious Mahathir and all the … Umno warlords are always asking for them to be included in BN. Since when do they need the approvals or acceptances from the coalition ‘partners’ for any policies they wish to implement ? These people just want to be seen that any and every policies they are implementing are with the endorsements of the partners. Most of all they can shift the blame to these lackeys whenever their policies are not heading in the directions they want. These systems have gone on for so long now and as a consequence the people can see through the purposes of all these and are showing their disguises in the recent GE and rejecting these lackeys. Hence the rejection of these lackeys in the recent GE and also their position as the minority elected government. Yet they blame all these on the Chinese Tsunami, otherwise what and who can they blame the diminishing support on ? The real truth is their rejection by an increasing number of Malay support and this is counting.


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