Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 5th September 2009:
Arrest and prosecute Hishammuddin for his provocative press conference statement defending the cowhead sacrilege as MCMC has asked Malaysiakini to remove the video footage of Hishammuddin’s statement and liable to an offence which could be fined up to RM50,000 or a jail sentence
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday reminded Muslims to avoid condemning or insulting other religions and the followers in their actions, but instead follow true Islamic teachings by respecting other religions.
Najib should first direct this advice and reminder to Umno Ministers and leaders at all levels as they have proved to be the greatest threats to inter-religious goodwill, harmony and understanding particularly in the five months of Najib’s premiership.
To set a good example that the Najib administration does not condone or countenance Umno Ministers or leaders setting the bad example of offending other religions and their followers, the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein should be arrested and prosecuted for his provocative press conference defending the cowhead sacrilege on 28th August which marred the 52nd National Day celebrations three days later.
The Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has directed independent news portal Malaysiakini to remove the video footages of Hishammuddin’s media conference defending and justifying the cow-head sacrilege for being “provocative” which contain “offensive contents with the intent to annoy any person especially Indians” and liable to offences under Section 211/233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 with a penalty on conviction to a fine up to RM50,000 or a jail sentence.
The other video footage MCMC wanted Malaysiakini to remove was on the cow-head demonstration and sacrilege in Section 23 of Shah Alam.
If a video footage carrying Hishammuddin’s media conference defending and justifying the cow-head sacrilege is liable to a criminal offence for being provocative and offensive to other religions, isn’t Hishammuddin even more guilty of such an offence and before any action is contemplated against Malaysiakini, action should have been taken against Hishammuddin first?
Would Hishammuddin be arrested and prosecuted for his utter insensitivity in defending and justifying the cow-head demonstration and sacrilege before any other action is contemplated against the media for reporting Hishammuddin’s press conference?
The Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail has ordered the police to investigate further into the cow-head sacrilege. Will the police extend such an investigation to include Hishammuddin’s offensive and insensitive press conference?
Although Hishammuddin later backtracked from his press conference stance defending the Shah Alam protestors, his subsequent statement that the police should proceed with investigations and to bring to court those who brought the severed cow-head in the protest, Hishammuddin’s change of stance is only relevant as a plea for mitigation and cannot be a defence to the offence for which MCMC is acting against Malaysiakini.
If Hishammuddin has committed an offence, would the Attorney-General decide whether the Home Minister should be prosecuted and would the police arrest the Home Minister, especially as the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan has just got another renewal as IGP for another year on Hishammuddin’s recommendation despite strong and the most legitimate grounds of opposition?
Malaysians and the world are shaking their heads in disbelief at the depth that institutional good governance has sunk to with the country reaching the lowest level of public confidence in the independence, professionalism and integrity of the key national institutions in the country.
The MCMC warning to Malaysiakini to remove the two provocative videos, one on the offensive and insensitive cow-head protest and sacrilege and the other on Hishammuddin’s press conference defending and justifying the cow-head sacrilege, remind Malaysians of the previous outrage when Sin Chew reporter Tan Hoon Cheng was detained under the Internal Security Act in September 2008 for reporting the offensive and provocative speech of Umno Bukit Bendera division chairman Ahmad Ismail on the Chinese in Malaysia as “penumpang” while Ahmad Ismail got away completely scot-free for his offensive and provocative remarks!
Is Malaysia changing for the better or getting worse?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor